Thursday, April 30, 2009

How to save money on groceries

I knocked this off in a few minutes for our department newsletter, which is usually about Information Technology and rampant nerdism, but the Editor in Chief will accept just about anything, bless her heart:

In these lean times, watching food prices and shopping for the best values is a necessity [she let that pass; I'm the Copy Editor]. Besides developing a grocery list (donotforgettoiletpaper donotforgettoiletpaper donotforgettoiletpaper), or basing your shopping on a weekly meal plan, don’t be shy to clip discount coupons. Try for lots of hygiene, skin care, household cleaning, and baby care items. And enroll with to get, well, free samples of stuff. Don’t miss the in-store manufacturer’s coupons, either---they’re sometimes way better than the ones in the flyer.

And you can actually get money back!

If you have a good memory for shelf prices and examine your receipts, at many major chains (hardware, pharmacy, grocery) you can yelp at the cashier: “Oh, the price on the shelf was $N.NN.” She/he will normally start to argue, and you shrug apologetically at the people behind you in line, but you stand your ground and recite: “I’m claiming my entitlement to a refund and a free product based on the Scanning Code of Practice.” In stores that participate, you can see the big sticker on the entry doors and often on the cash register itself.
If the shelf price is different from the register price, you should get a refund of the REGISTER price and you get the product for FREE. This applies only to the first item if you bought more than one, but you get the sale price for second and subsequent items.

If the price of the item is more than $10.00 the same rules apply but you only get the ten bucks AND the free product.

Case study: I decided to try a major name brand all-natural peanut butter recently, and because the sale price hadn’t made it to the register I got the jar for free and a $4.99 credit on my bill.

But the stuff is runny. I don’t like my peanut butter to actually pour out of the jar, even after thorough stirring and refrigeration. And it tastes funny (punch line to joke about why we don’t eat clowns). So late last week I e-mailed the company through their website, asking about the consistency: “…it pours! It has never had the creamy but firm consistency that I expect. Is it always very liquid?” (I’m such a gourmet.)

I got a response last night from the Associate Director, Consumer Relations: “I'm sorry to learn that you were disappointed with our Peanut Butter having a watery texture. I'm sending you reimbursement, via first class mail, which you should receive in 10-14 business days.”

I didn’t tell them I got the jar for free plus the credit of the sale price. Crafty, am I not? Case closed.

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