As I am sure most of you have noticed, the price of food has gone up. Unless, of course, you never go food shopping, and you have no idea what is going on in the supermarket.
Let me tell you, the store that was once my happy place is not making me so happy anymore. My dad used to do all of his food shopping at a store in Ridgewood, near his office, called Kings. That was and continued to be one of the most expensive supermarkets in the world. (I may be exaggerating, but it was mighty pricey.) My dad would always say that he was paying for convenience. Until I was older, I never knew that a bottle of soda could cost $1 or $7. When I was older and realized what my dad was spending at Kings, when I could get it for so much less at another supermarket, he would just laugh and say it’s fine. “It makes your mother happy.” God bless that man (which I hope He is doing, wherever my dad is…)
In any event, most supermarkets offer a generic alternative — generic being the “no name” brand, as opposed to the brand that is advertised on television in commercial form. Do people even watch commercials anymore? Does this generation know who Tony the Tiger is? Or the beloved Snap, Crackle, and Pop? Or Toucan Sam, who follows his nose? Such good questions. Will anyone answer me?
Please allow me to go off on a tangent for a moment; The other day, I noticed that my surrogate granddaughter had a Lite Brite. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a toy where you make pictures with brightly colored little bulb-like things, and when you turn the box on, it all lights up. I started to sing the song from the commercial from the ’70s. We looked it up on YouTube and of course we found the original commercial. I was pretty pleased with myself that I remembered all of the words and I explained to my surrogate granddaughter that you know a commercial is really good (or really annoying) if you can remember the product 48 years later.
Generic shopping. That is what this world is coming to. Why spend $2 on a box of brand-name spaghetti, when you can spend 88 cents on the generic kind? It tastes exactly the same. Exactly. Same goes for things like mayonnaise, ketchup, flour, sugar, salt, tuna fish, crackers…would you like me to go on? Let’s discuss eggs. Do the name brand eggs come from college-educated chickens? Chickens with graduate degrees and nicer homes? Is that why 30 eggs now cost $11, instead of the $6 or $7 they cost a few months ago? Are the leases for chickens going up as much as the leases for humans? If I buy generic eggs, are those from chickens who didn’t finish high school? Are they homeless chicken? Should I be worried about these eggs? Is that why they are cheaper? In reality, an egg is an egg is an egg.
So even though I was brought up with name-brand overpriced groceries, now that I have finally stopped paying tuition, I have to spend the extra money on the high cost of living. Unless I decide to save money (Husband #1 is going to be so happy when he reads this) and buy only generic. Except for Fanta. And Entenmann’s donuts. And Stella Doros. No generic for the love of my life, the father of my children.
I did decide to buy generic paper towels. How different could paper towels be? Well, let me tell you, they are very different. They are so different that I probably will never buy them again. And I am not even a brand snob. These paper towels have the consistency of thin cardboard and the texture of sandpaper. They are not absorbent, and honestly, they are really annoying me. I am not even proud of myself for saving a few dollars, because I love when my kitchen is clean. I love spraying my counters with generic cleaning products (which are just as good as the fancy ones) and then wiping the counters clean with my paper towels. Just not these horrid generic ones.
Maybe I should ask one of the college-educated chickens why the towels are so bad. Now that would make an interesting column!
Happy shopping. Go generic or go bankrupt! Now that should go on a t-shirt.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck still cannot believe how a potato kugel can go from $8 to $16 and that people will still buy it. It’s another one of life’s mysteries.