My mother raised me to grocery shop carefully. She was such a stickler for coupon use that she tells me that when I was very small, I thought coupons were REQUIRED to make a purchase. I was raised to comparison shop, to clip coupons, to be ultra-price-sensitive. Even so, this woman terrifies me:
The tips are good- in moderation. Clipping coupons. Comparing prices in circulars. Using as many coupons as possible, as efficiently as possible. Understanding store policies on “bonus” money. But please, look at what there are coupons for– brand name processed food products and non-food items. If you look at her pantry, it’s pop tarts, juicy juice and hamburger helper. There are no manufacturers coupons for fresh vegetables.
Just because this woman has created an algorithm for spending as little money as possible on as much food as possible does not mean that this algorithm is a good thing. It doesn’t even mean she’s saving money– to get any utility out of the hamburger helper box, you need to buy hamburger. If you have 15 boxes of pop tarts and everyone’s sick of them by box 4, you have wasted time and space at the very least. What about the cost of buying vitamins because your kids aren’t getting balanced meals? General health care costs? Saving that much money is time intensive– is there a better use of her time?
I do not know what’s virtuous about getting food that’s not very good for you and not very tasty just because it’s basically free, instead of spending at least some of that energy on attaining better food.
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Tags: food, tv