Stop, I need a quart of milk

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I was fascinated by a local grocery store newspaper ad that offered Certified Angus Beef Boneless Ribeye Steaks at what it referred to as &uot;sale&uot; price. In large print it proudly announced only $5.98 a pound saving the purchaser $6.01 per pound. I can add and that made the every day price $11.99 for 16 ounces of red meat. That figures 75 cents per one-ounce bite…outrageous in my book. The savings alone makes you think about filling your freezer but you’d have to sell your car. I opted for 10 pounds of chicken leg quarters for less than a pound of the Black Angus. Imagine, the best part of chicken at 49 cents a pound. I had just missed a chicken leg sale at another store at a lower price, 29 cents a pound but a sign stated I could get a rain check or wait till the truck came in later that day. So I was not about to risk passing up the 49-cent deal and grabbed 20 pounds. My wife rolled her eyes and shook her head.

Why should their red meat cost so much when a couple aisles later I saw Breyers Ice Cream at buy one get one free…just like the beef, 50 percent off. And you know those big bottles of Diet Pepsi and other sodas – the price of them determines which store I will stop to shop. Some stores price it at &uot;only $1.27.&uot; They don’t have the brains to offer it as a loss leader – they don’t understand males. When a man picks up a supermarket flyer he looks at only two things, soda and beef. He may just stare at the steaks but he can’t walk by a low price on the Pepsi, which may account for my garage being half-full of it.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t shop. It’s only when my wife says she wants to stop on the way home and pick up a quart of milk that I find myself trapped. I can’t let her carry the groceries; she never just picks up milk. So I go in with her just to hurry things up, you know, push the cart ahead of her, glaring back now and then so she gets the message. Not one item in that store interests me, not even the bakery, nothing until I smell the meat section. I admire the cuts, beautifully gift packaged in see-through plastic wrap that sets my mind to thinking about white-hot charcoal and cold beer. That’s when she gets ahead of me, on her way, finally, to the milk, and orange juice, and half and half, and eggs, and yogurt, and cheese. I pass on the left and she finds me in the beer section. She signals me to wait right there because she somehow missed the bread racks and is afraid to lose me again. Finally, I curse the long lines at checkout and vow never to shop again.

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You must watch ads carefully; consider the war between the two big soup companies. One derides the other’s concoction because in their minds it is too watery. Theirs is thicker and more nutritious but they don’t proudly announce it’s cost. Their &uot;trickery&uot; caused the other soup maker to come back at them with one even better, thicker, more vitamins. So the public gained in this case. This one is a puzzle…Pep Boys sale of a 5-piece 18-volt Contractor Grade Cordless tool kit. It proudly states that this over $100 kit is on sale for $99.99. But &uot;over $100&uot; could mean one penny over a $100 and I save two cents. Like that boring car claim. &uot;Our Ad is Their Ad. If we can’t beat their price we will give you a hundred bucks.&uot; Again, a penny lower beats the other guy’s price?

E-mails suggested taking over our own road maintenance from VDOT is very risky – what if a hurricane did to several roads what Isabel did to Lake Prince Drive, who pays? Another questions our official’s ability to handle, efficiently, such a large department.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist.