Awe Man, I Gotta Go In Here, Again!
Shopping in Grocery Stores
I consider myself an expert food shopper. Seriously, I am. I think I am because, well, I study a lot. In my opinion smart people read lots, are able to absorb what they read, and then spit out what they've read the second someone needs the information. To me, it's the spitting out part that's the most important. People will lable you smart if you spit out a lot of information. So, I’m a well-read planner full of useful information with a rather smooth technical system of spitting it out.
Somewhere between the last word of a sentence and a period, I sometimes make errors in my planning process. I call this my occasional “brain hiccups.” For example when I’m planning a party for a client who’s requested catering I create a system to monitor and complete all the tasks to make the event a success. But then I discover somewhere along the way I have a “brain hiccup” and I miss an important detail. As a result, I find myself parking my commercial van in the lot of one of the worst places I can imagine. Where’s that you say? I’m griping about grocery stores. You know, the place where you get your groceries. Even worst is the grocery delivery. You're spending more unnecessary money! Use Peapod only if you must......
Remember that commercial where the guy said, “you can call me Ray, you can call me Jay?” Ok, so you can call them Trader Joes, you can call them Giant Grocery Store; you can call them Wholefoods…. You can call them anything you like because they all are just grocery stores with overpriced food items. And when I have a brain hiccup I’m forced to go inside one of these overpriced establishments to obtain a small measure of something I should have remembered I needed more of or missed.
I know you foodies watched “Top Chef”, the fabulous show following real chefs through a food competition. Did you pay close attention whenever the chefs approached the seafood departments? I recall them shopping at some of the so called “best” grocery stores. The chefs, let me remind you, always complained about the awful seafood selections. I didn’t have to be there to agree with them because I know the truth.
As a catering chef, I stay abreast of the latest news in the food business. A couple of the publications on my shelf include “Gourmet News” (information about gourmet specialty shops and grocery stores), “Food Management” (focuses on medical, educational and other institutions food industry issues), “Flavor & The Menu” (study of trends, forecasts, strategies and techniques of food – what tastes good and why basically), etc. etc. Not to mention I attend the “Fancy Food Show” in New York City where ALL the major retailers, wholesalers and suppliers of food gather. You can bet some of those grocery store representatives are there! So, yep, I know what they are selling and I know how much they jack up the prices too!
Here’s my point fellow Hubbers. We all know we should find more ways of stretching money, making money, etc. In my humble opinion EVERYBODY should be in the food business! Make up a company name, make yourself a sole proprietor, get yourself a sales tax ID number, and then get yourself into some of these wholesale places to purchase food. Forget Sam’s and BJ’s and all those other “pretending to be cheap” places. Be like Trader Joe’s and contact the manufacturers of food products directly. Gather up a group of friends and neighbors to seriously buy in bulk.
Shux, I have a membership at my local Restaurant Depot that I share with relatives. When I signed up I had to submit my sales tax ID number BUT I let that ID expire. Friends and family shop with the local restaurateurs but they pay sales tax at the check out counter. Of course, I have since changed my company name with a new account but the family can still use the old account just fine.
Some manufacturers sell their products DIRECTLY online. Companies are getting very wise to the fact that shopping on line is the FUTURE. Consorzio, makers of some fabulous sauces will sell you cases of products. Just ask them how long the product will stay fresh on the shelf in the coolest place in your house. Many will tell you at least 2 years. You should create a grocery list of the food items you use the most. Those are the ones you buy in bulk.
As for meats, seafood, fresh products… find a farmer – GO TO THE FARM! Sometimes I don’t like farmers’ markets either. They might mark up the price if they have to sell products at a location charging fees to be there.
There are several locations here in central Maryland where fresh food wholesalers gather their warehouses. There’s the “real” fish market, the “real” produce market (I get a case of 50 ears of white corn for about 15.00), and Sysco Foods – a major restaurant food supplier – has a retail store. Now, the retail store is a bit pricey considering the wholesale is cheaper BUT Sysco will allow you to order from the BIG warehouse and will deliver these products to the retail store. This ultimately means you can get everything your local restaurant is serving. If you have your sales tax ID, you can attend the Sysco food show to taste and sample products too! When you attend the show, ask for the all important – Sysco product numbers! These puppies are little gold mines! Oh yeah man! Sysco carries EVERYTHING… meat, seafood, etc. etc.
Ok, now you know why I hate grocery stores. When I have a brain hiccup I have to bust my party budget to buy an overpriced ingredient. Hey, stick with me and I’ll make you are real food snob! You’ll only go to the grocery store because of your brain hiccups too!
Cut coupons??!!! I ain’t cutting no coupons! What for? Just to knock 50 cents off something that was overpriced 50 cents anyway? Please.. don’t these people have us brainwashed!?
Your comments are welcomed! So are your questions….. Next time I’ll tell you about these bogus specialty food stores.