Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What You Get for the Money

Grocery shopping these days is hard. Balancing healthy choices versus cost is hard. Balancing four plastic bags on two fingers while you attempt to open the gate to your apartment’s courtyard... even harder. But this isn’t about me... wait a minute, who am I kidding? Of course it’s about me. It’s always about me.

I like to think that I make a conscious effort to convince myself that I’m eating the "right" foods. This is done by filling my refrigerator with healthy fare from the grocery store, then ordering Chinese takeout, stuffing my face with crab rangoon and chicken chow fun, and immediately disposing of the evidence (if no one saw me, it didn’t really happen).

But back to the grocery store... I chose my job based on its proximity to Whole Foods (not really). I lucked out when Trader Joe’s decided to open up a location nearby as well. So today on my lunch break, I ventured out to do a little shopping.

Now, granted, I’ve already been shopping twice since Saturday, once at the Jewel, a grocery chain in Illinios, and once at the Trader Joe’s in my neighborhood for a few frozen dinner options. But today, I decided that I needed salad and snacks from Trader Joes and whole-wheat pasta and tea from Whole Foods. This is how I operate people; I grocery shop about six times a week. It's an illness. Here’s what I bought:

At Whole Foods:
  • Bionaturae Pasta, spaghetti and penne (best whole wheat pasta on the market and the lowest in calories and fat!)
  • Yogi Tea (I just really like that the tea bags have little messages written on them, like “Old age needs wisdom and grace” and “Socialize with compassion, kindness, and grace.” I pretend that I’m in Tibet, drinking tea with the Dali Lama)
Total: $9.46

At Trader Joe’s
  • Multigrain Savory Thins (yummy crackers that are low fat/low calorie and 17 per serving!)
  • Salsa
  • Whole Wheat pita bread
  • Bagged salad blend
  • Bagged baby spinach (I fear not spinach!)
Total: $9.44

Coming up with your blog for the day: priceless.

Couldn’t resist.

I realized as I was checking out that I spent almost exactly the same amount of money at TJ’s and Whole Foods, but got almost twice as much food at TJ’s. I thought about it… Trader Joe’s sells tea… and whole-wheat pasta. Why not buy those items there? Or better yet why not buy the generic brands at Jewel and save loads of cash?

Why? Because I’m a brand whore. I love Trader Joe’s and I love their brand, but I’ve sampled a dozen (estimation) kinds of whole-wheat pasta and Bionaturae is the brand I like (and highly recommend). Generic brand? Can you even get generic brand whole-wheat pasta? It’s worth the extra trip to Whole Foods and the extra cash to get what I want.

So, I pay the money and get the brands that I like, then I look at my bank account, add up the money I've spent on groceries in the last four days ($80.84) and I wonder what the hell my problem is.


@ said...

two words: chicken sausage

Nikkie said...

There's nothing wrong with being a brand whore. Really. I mean, you may end up poor and homeless because you can't give up your fancy wheat pasta, but at least you will have yummy, healthy pasta under the viadocks. Now just figuring out how to cook the noodles...

Lou said...

Thanks Nikkie. That really makes me feel better about me... ;)

@ said...

also, if you pay for healthy food now, you won't have to mess with those irritating doctor bills when you are poor and homeless... because you will be healthy... although homeless.