Behind the times

oscarthecat(z7MD)October 18, 2011

I went to Safeway this morning. Got a 1/2 gal of milk. Ask an employee where the sugar was. He said,"follow me". I said, "OK give me a 5 lb bag". He said,"they no longer have 5 lb. bags, they are 4 lbs" Anyway I came away with a 4 lb. bag but swear it is same price as 5lb. bag. Steve in Stevens County.

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It's a sign of the times, Steve.
I have had a treat, some rather pricy crackers, packaged in those cell-packcs and there were four stacks in the carton,last one had three compartments and when I took them out to store in the customary container, the container was only 2/3 full! Of course, the price had not changed.
I'm not buying them any more, I am ticked off!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 2:02PM
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Oh yes, that's the way it goes. And the New, Improved, Easy to Hold bottle of shampoo/detergent/bug spray looks the same, but the easy to hold part knocks off about two ounces of content. Same price of course, but the bottle is now easy to hold. Wow!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Yup.....I'm sad and upset, everything seems to be going the same way. My Dove ice cream bars, used to be 4 in a box, now three and the box is the same and the price is higher. Almost impossible to find anything not made in China. Even some of our food is coming from China! No wonder we have unemployment! O.K., I'll stop talking now!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 3:01PM
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I noticed the same thing this week. Since we use very little sugar I buy a couple of bags in spring and about 10 lbs last me through the summer for hummingbird food and the occasional baking if we have visitors. Picked some sugar up since me supply ran low and when I put it in the container I keep it in I had plenty of room, normally I have to keep the 1/2 cup measure out of it until a couple of batches. That's when I looked at the weight and found out that it was 4 lbs.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 6:02PM
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We don't use much sugar, so the 10lb. bag we bought years ago, on sale, is still with us, but I'm sure when/if we want to buy
more sugar, we'll have sticker/size shock.
Now when it comes to coffee, we buy that on a regular basis.
The 1 lb coffee can is nowhere to be found, it's something like 13-14oz, put in a 1 lb can. An on and on it goes. I used to go by the "unit" price, listed on the shelf, but more and more the unit price is not listed. I bring a small calculator and figure out the unit price myself.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 8:21PM
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This isn't anything new, it's been going on for quite some time. I notice because I've been militantly shopping for eons. It started when weiners went to eight packs but buns forgot to keep up and were still packed in twelves. Then bacon went to 12 ounces instead of a pound.

We expect the price rises, and I don't think that's what ticks us off nearly as much as the smoke and mirrors tricks of the marketing sector. They think we're too dumb to notice and that's offensive.

Most of our local markets unit price, except on sale items. rofl. So put half of your inventory on sale and then the "new" unit prices aren't listed. That's exactly why a calculator goes with me in my purse. One thing I found out is that buying the big bulk items isn't always the most cost effective.

I used to take a hit from so many of my acquaintances who accused me of shopping like a survivalist because I keep a large pantry full of food. My primary reason is that allows me to only buy each week what is on sale and I'm getting low on. If there is no items on sale, I can easily wait a week to a month to until it goes on sale.

That puts where I shop at the mercy of milk prices most of the time because my husband drinks about half a gallon a day and he won't let me keep a cow. LOL.

It's also why we shop locally produced food and grow our own when possible. The local producers actually reflect the 'true' prices of goods.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 9:10AM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

Makes it especially hard to use older recipes that call for a 28 oz jar of something and now it is a 23 oz jar. I can understand it when they package stuff in the metric amount becuase everyone else (almost) uses metric and why have special packaging just for USA. Like the 2 liter pop bottles.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 6:51PM
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I was at yarn departmet at Michaels today, looking for some yarn for a shawl that would take about 860 yards of worsted ((4)) yarn.
A lady from Germany and I started talking, and realized that we were brought up with the metric system and that we have had to do some math conversions just to buy some yarn.
Yarns come from all over the world are marked with anything from yards, meters, ounces and that is just in the commercial world of yarn.
She likes to work with ounces and I like to work with yards.Lol, the one thing we agreed on is that whatever math we had to use, we would only buy what we needed for a project. No guessing.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 7:38PM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

During last week's shopping spree, one store had kielbasi on BOGO. Since I often use a portion for meat-interest in bean dishes, I picked up a couple of links. It took me a moment to realize why the package felt strange ~ they are now in weird 12-ounce links instead of one-pounders. And, no, even BOGO meant they were higher priced per ounce than before. That company has now lost a customer.

The point about using old recipes is valid and I bumped into it quite a few years ago. The solution [which isn't good, but I haven't found a better] is to measure every commercial product, then keep a dated list in your most-used recipe book. Thus an 2001 recipe that called for a 16 oz can of corn which measured at that time to 1 3/4 cups drained, can be converted if you know that today's 15 oz can measures to 1 1/2 cups. Start measuring and recording now, even if you are sure that whatever you are using *won't* change, because you will find that when you least expect it, some company is going to think it can get away with what I consider to be either short-changing the customer or flat-out profiteering. Write to the company and complain loudly whenever this happens ~ I did hear of a couple companies that retreated and reverted to fair dealing in response to customer complaints. Meanwhile, if there any alternatives, use them instead of meekly accepting that weight-changing nonsense. Me? I've already written to let that company know that the next kielbasi I buy will be in 1-pound links from a different company. When hotdogs & buns did their dance [how many years ago was that??!] I just began making my own buns which were not only tastier, fresher, and the right size, they cost less than one-fourth of the commercial packages. I've never gone back. That's the company's loss, not mine. If enough of us would buy only from fair-dealing companies, the companies who think we're too stupid to notice their cheat-type practices would feel the pain in the only place they pay attention - their wallets.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 12:48PM
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Meldy...good idea, but how can I remember or record a can of something from 10 years ago? So, a recipe calls for a can of beans that used to measure 1 1/2 cups but now is 1 1/4 cups but they next part of recipe calls for something else which is still the same cup measurement as 10 years ago, my recipe would still be off, right? My Brownie recipe calls for a can of Hersheys chocolate syrup, hope they don't make the can smaller! More problems for us cooks who already have problems cooking !

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 3:00PM
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And you know, making the sizes smaller and selling them for the same price isn't the only way we loose 'real' food value. Think of it this way: the more a food product is processed the more avenues there are to cheapen the end result. If you've ever cooked up a turkey breast from scratch and made gravy then compared it to one already sliced and frozen in gravy look at how much meat is actually in the package you buy. Starch filler is cheap. I usually cook down my own broths for soup, or even can them when I find meats on sale but I buy the occasional tin of it from the store for emergencies, thinking if it says beef broth, well how much can they deviate from something so basic?

Here is what is on the label of the 'beef broth' I bought in addition to beef broth. Salt, sugar, yeast extract, soy protein, caramel colour, corn maltodextrin, hydrolyzed corn and wheat protein, natural flavours (but they don't list all of them), onion powder, dextrose, and at least five more enhancers and preservatives of interest only to chemists. I'm sorry but it makes me wonder how much of it is actually a meat product?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 2:44AM
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Sugar is still in 5lb bags at my IGA store . . .

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 2:57PM
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It comes both ways at most of the markets in town. So, you really need to look before you scoop it up if the four pound bag is only pennies cheaper than the five. The has been a huge price difference in sugar from the beet to the cane. As much as two dollars a bag. I've noticed cane sugar coming down in price, however. The price is manipulated in American markets, however. We pay more for cane sugar than any other country in the world, and it has to do with price controls to support domestic cane producers. That's why the new coke doesn't taste like the old coke did. Most carbonated beverages in the U.S. do not use cane sugar anymore. I always buy coke offshore to get the taste of it made the tradtional way. Sort of sad.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 4:00PM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Posie ~ good luck finding a *can* of H's syrup, it seems to be in plastic squeeze bottles now, and since I don't use it (DH does), I can't say for sure, but the last time I saw him pour/squeeze some it certainly *looked* a lot thinner than the stuff I remember.

Not only do the contents measure differently now, but one also has to be aware of brand-name in the recipe. A can of beans is not always just a can of beans, but even today, different brands of the same bean will measure differently, not to mention changing liquid quantities in mid-season. I just got caught by my favorite vacuum-packed corn... the most recently purchased cans now measure so much less, I had to use 4 cans to make the recipe that used to use 3 cans. One of the reasons I bought that specific brand was that [until now] they had NOT changed the volume of drained contents.

Both 4 and 5 lb bags of sugar are available locally, but in several stores the 5's are now on the bottom shelf while the 4's are waist-height. One store had 4's and 10's in the usual place, but 5's were not only on bottom shelf, they had been limited to one facewidth-row and tucked among things like tapioca. Have you seen the zip-top 10-lb sugar? It's a good zipper but the bag is not easy to pour. I never did find lump sugar.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 1:20PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

I use to make pounds of "fantasy fudge" -the stuff that used marshmallow cream. It never failed, stayed soft and people loved it. The last few years it just hadn't tasted the same. I just figured it was my taste changing. Then I read the label on the current jar I had and compared it to the old cut out recipe I had (experiation date on it was early 90's) The current jar had artifical flavor, the old didn't.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 6:43PM
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I find this thread very interesting and informative. But what does "BOGO" mean?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 9:26PM
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It means Buy One Get One (free). Otherwise known as a Twofer.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 1:00AM
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Thanks for explaining,calliope. In all my years of shopping, I've never seen that term before.
Talking about BOGO. We went to Safeway yesterday, and they had cardboard bins full of pumpkins. The signs had a very prominent FREE printed on them, and at closer inspection, there it was in very small print, buy one and get one free. I could not find a price on any of the bins.Needless to say that I did not buy any pumpkins.
Now, if the sign had said, BOGO deal, buy one for $xxx, and get one for free, I would have a good idea what it was worth.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 7:07PM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Knowing what it's worth is the key to using BOGO/Twofers. Or rather, knowing what the usual price is, since I've noticed a couple stores that suddenly have a price increase or size reduction on their BOGO offerings. Once in a while [not very often] a BOGO with a sudden price increase is still a bargain, but if you consistently watch/record all sales prices you will often find that there is better price elsewhere.

Some years ago I began to go directly to the store manager whenever I found an item without a clearly shown price. The first time, I would very sweetly tell him (and it's never been a her) that it's obvious he does an excellent job of running this store, but apparently the stacking clerk forgot to put the price tag on X. When it happens again, I make sure there is at least one other customer nearby, and speak in a [just slightly] loud voice: Oh Mr Xzy, that clerk has forgotten *again* to put the price on (whatever). Sigh, it's bad of me to put blame on the clerk, but if you can let the manager save face, it's more likely a change will be made. OTOH, I've written to more than one corporate headquarters and given dates/items/store ## in a more formal complaint with the reminder that sooner or later customers will cease shopping at stores that repeatedly 'overlook' posting prices, and that my experiences with store ## certainly does not leave me with any desire to continue doing business with it. I doubt that very much attention is paid to my single letter, but I do believe that I'm never the only one to make a valid complaint and eventually all those single letters will get somebody's attention. Remember, all stores keep their ears enclosed in their wallets.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 2:50PM
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