Monday, August 3, 2009

How Do They Do It?

Every time I go to the kosher supermarket (and ours is a real, bona fide super-market) I am amazed by the amount of food in people's cart- or carts! When the budget is tight- as it has been lately- I try to buy as much as possible in Pathmark, Shoprite and Walmart, but I inevitably end up at the kosher stores for meat and fish and dairy products. The fresh produce also happens to be much better in the big kosher supermarket, and often cheaper than Pathmark, surprisingly. I've tried the so-called farmer's stores around here for big pre-yom tov shopping sprees and the fruit there tends to be overripe and unusable unless you're into making your own compote or jam. Still, fresh produce is not cheap and add the meat, that bar of chocolate you must have, shabbos candles, the healthy small-packaged apple chips for your kid that you can't find in regular supermarkets, the whole wheat mezonos bread rolls, the... you get the picture.

Supermarkets are designed to lure the costumer into buying things they hadn't planned on getting and they do a pretty good job at it.
In the book "Stuffed: An insider's look at who really is making America fat" the author, a food industry insider, explains that the supermarket's favorite shopper is, surprisingly, the woman with the shopping list, because chances are she will visit every single aisle in order to fulfill that list, so the odds are that she will see and grab more items that were not originally on her list, as opposed to someone who randomly runs in for some paper towel, maybe grabs some napkins from that same aisle and then heads to the express checkout lane before he can be tempted to spend more.

What was my point? Oh yes, sorry. I do shop with a list most of the time but I am very purpose driven even when times and wallets are better and extremely aware of the limitations of our fridge and cabinets. I guess you'd call me a practical minded shopper. So my point is that I usually end up with very little in my cart, and yet that little still adds up to $65, $85.
As I stand in line I inevitable notice other shoppers' carts, overflowing with 6 milks, $55 worth of salmon in one small package, dozens of aluminum pans, chicken and more chicken and of course, cholent meat, and only one of those carts probably adds up to - I don't know, upwards of $350? I'm being tentatively conservative. So some people have food stamps, others have already payed off their mortgage, others are stocking up because they live out of town, but some of these fill up those carts week after week, and I just stand there wondering: how do they do it?


  1. B"H

    Good question! Perhaps they use credit cards? I'm not a fan of credit cards, I spend pretty much only what I have, but some people do rely on them. And truth be told, with tuition being what it is in our circles, it's virtually impossible to survive otherwise.

  2. True but they've got to be payed off sooner or later

  3. I consider myself a frugal shopper. This week, I was so well stocked that only non-food items were on my list. I figured it'd be cheaper if I just did a Kmart run. I needed things like E-Z Off, Gladware freezer containers, cat litter, etc. It came to almost $60! I will conquer this grocery beast eventually.