Inflation, Part 2

June 11, 2008

Regular Avocados, HEB-Plus: 50 cents each. Overripe and a little squishy.

Regular Avocados, Wal-Mart: 33 cents each. Perfect condition.

Score one for Wal-Mart.

However, Wal-Mart did not provide an entirely happy shopping experience today. There were no Kaiser Rolls, and in fact, the Fresh Bakery shelves for breads and rolls were practically empty. Maybe something went wrong with the oven. Or maybe these better-quality breads come from a central plant and simply hadn’t arrived. Who knows.

No regular Creme Savers, only sugar-free. Freddie uses these hard candies when he has a diabetic reaction in bed at night or when away from home. They’re a must have, and they can’t be sugar-free since that defeats the purpose. I suppose I could have bought him some Jolly Ranchers (he doesn’t like those) or maybe some Starlight Mints, but I want him to have the ones that he wants. They’re cheap. It’s not too much to ask.

Wal-Mart also has some odd holes in its store-band inventory. Typically I buy store-brand products instead of name brand unless I perceive a noticeable difference in quality. There seldom is, maybe the strange can of green beans that has a few stems or dish-washing detergent that needs two or three times as much to wash the same amount of dishes. Most of the stores also have two or more levels of store brands: “Great Value” and “Sam’s Club”. “Safeway” and “Safeway Select.” HEB even has three, “Hill Country Fare,” “HEB,” and “Central Market,” a top-level gourmet version.

But somehow Wal-Mart does not sell “Great Value” or “Sam’s Club” versions of Ritz Crackers. I can’t ever find store-brand regular tortilla chips, although I think Sam may be enjoying some strange version with blue corn or extra flavorings. I suppose Wal-Mart has such great deals with certain suppliers that they’ve chosen to forego their own brands for certain product lines. And for some others — diet cola, which we don’t drink much any more — it’s really hit or miss whether Sam has decided to bring it to the store that week or not.

Between one thing and another, I was either so flustered or annoyed at the things I couldn’t buy that I forgot to buy some things that actually were on my list: Tomatoes, if they haven’t succumbed to the salmonella scare. And that Parmigiano, I was supposed to check the price.

Anyhow, it looks like I’ll have to go back to HEB-Plus to get things I didn’t or couldn’t buy at Wal-Mart. I get out of the house every day to stop at the post office or the bank, so it’s not really more than a side trip, not an extra trip. Still, making extra trips to get better prices — or things that you couldn’t buy at all — doesn’t seem like the best way to save money.

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