I like a good deal as much as the next guy! Heck, I like it even more! That’s why I linger so much around Winners these days – everybody knows you got to be on the look out for those deals. Yes, I’m digressing and there is more about Winners that I could tell you to make you laugh, but back to the main point. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I walk into a grocery store I’m looking for those discount stickers and labels. You know, the “50% off – cook it tonight” kind of stickers or the “buy one, get one free” labels. Like anybody who has to pay their own way in life, I want to stretch my buck and make it go as far as I can. Am I frugal? No, not if you ask my other half. Yes, if you ask me. But that doesn’t mean that if I really want something I’m not going to pay the price. However that something has to be very special and this rule would generally not apply to buying food. When buying food we will drive 20-30 minutes to get the deal. Yes, we’re probably burning the difference in gas, but the satisfaction I get when I see somebody at one grocery store paying 100% more than what I just paid for the same product at another store is… well, it makes me want to shake the person paying more and let them know they should go to such and such and save money! But are they always such good deals?
It turns out that you have to be extremely careful and sometimes you only find out at home that your deal is not such a good deal after all and can be dangerous to your health. Let me explain.
We do our groceries on a weekly basis, on Saturdays, first thing in the morning we start our rounds by visiting the stores closest to us to eventually make our way into town. But last week my other half was out and around on a Friday by himself and spotted “a deal” on salmon. He texted me a picture and I gave him a go to buy it (I deemed it a good enough deal and a good enough piece of salmon). I did notice (which you probably can’t tell in this picture) that there were multiple labels on the product. In the wake of the most recent food related article on cbc about bakeries tempering with best before dates I felt that I would need to investigate this multiple sticker thing once the salmon got home. However, the piece of salmon looked decent so I figured I am getting a deal. And you must admit, 12$ for this size of Atlantic Salmon is a deal any way you slice it! Or is it?
I never did inspect the stickers right away. I put the piece of salmon in the fridge and only looked at it Monday when I was ready to divide it into portions and cook the first meal out of it. So, I took the stickers off one by one to reveal the mystery. There were 3 of them and here is what I found:
So, here is a timeframe in a more reader friendly format:
Packed on Nov. 3 with a Best Before date of Nov. 7 for $16.67
Repackaged on Nov. 5 with a Best Before date of Nov. 9 for $26.12
Repackaged again on Nov. 5 with a Best Before date of Nov. 9 for $11.85
You could give the store the benefit of the doubt and say, well the second sticker was an honest mistake and they corrected it right away. True. But you could be suspicious because you don’t know how long it was sitting there with that sticker waiting for a sucker to pay that much. It is also not reassuring knowing that a piece of fish, a perishable food item, got a best before date of Nov. 7 and then got that date extended to Nov. 9 two days later. So, you mean to tell me that two days later this piece of fish got fresher and now it’s good to eat until Nov. 9? Say what?!
When I did unpack it on Nov. 9 (Remember that’s the best before date, so I should be fine, right? Wrong!) I did notice quite a discolouration on the end piece of the fish that I had to completely discard:
So, the moral of the story? Not all that glitters is gold or in this case not all that appears to be a deal is one. You have to be very vigilant and look out for yourself, because apparently the grocery store will not. Which is sad if you ask me, because it only proves to show that they are not any better than the makers of the pseudo food that the grocery stores are packed with. They are in it to make money. On Nov. 7 instead of cutting their losses for an unsold product, they decided to extend its life by 2 days hoping they may sell it for more than the original sticker, and when they didn’t, at least for less. I was the sucker who ended up with the fish. But could have I prevented being taken? Not really. Unless I got the buyer to peel off the stickers in the store, which I don’t think would go over very well. Buyers beware!