Friday, June 27, 2014

Getting The Most For Your Money At Trader Joe's

MSN Money did some comparison shopping so you don't have to, and they have prepared a very nice comparison of several items that you might be thinking of buying on your next trip to Trader Joe's.

For those of us whose shopping excursions to the California-based grocery usually begin and end at the wine department, it may be surprising to find out that Trader Joe's has good prices on some things. Better prices than what you're paying at places like Walmart. If you shop at Walmart. Somehow, it's hard to imagine a Trader Joe's aficionado pushing a cart through Walmart, but whatever.

Better, instead, to focus on the Trader Joe's equivalent, which would be Whole Foods. There is a demand for organic foods these days, with people very concerned about what they're putting in their mouths and will they wake up twenty years from now with gastric cancer. Trader Joe's is meeting the demand of the wary, and they are competing with Whole Foods for those food dollars.

Would you ever have guessed that Whole Foods, which is not a cheap place to shop, would be selling organic milk at a far lower price than Trader Joe's? Hard to imagine that Whole Foods would be selling anything cheaper than any other store, but MSN Money checked and it's true.

Don't waste your money on organic milk at Trader Joe's, but you can pick up almond or soy milk and consider yourself a clever shopper.

Of course, you might want to consider the cost of the gas you'd need to burn in order to drive to Whole Foods to save a dollar on organic milk. That's where the stores get you. Unless Trader Joe's is in the same strip mall as Whole Foods, you aren't likely to drive out of your way and spend more on fuel than what you'd save on organic milk.
No extra charge for the listeria. What a bargain

Price isn't the only issue, however, and MSN Money failed to consider another important aspect to comparison shopping.

No matter how much you might save, you don't want to buy listeria-tainted products at Trader Joe's, even if it is far cheaper than the equivalent at Whole Foods. Of course, you wouldn't want a tub of listeria from Whole Foods either, even if you could get sick for less.

The cost will prove to be far higher than you anticipated.

Vladimir Sokhatskiy picked up a container of egg white salad, which sounds so very healthy. Avoid all those egg yolks with the cholesterol they contain, cut the calories of your egg salad, and the price is right. It turned out that Hot Mama's Foods, maker of private label goods for stores including Trader Joe's, had shipped a quantity of foodstuffs tainted with listeria, such as the egg white salad. A recall was not long in coming, but unfortunately for the purchaser of the egg white salad, it did not come quite soon enough.

The recall notice did not appear until after Mr. Sokhatskiy ate the egg white salad and became violently ill. It was particularly worse for him because he is being treated for leukemia and his immune system is compromised, making him that much more susceptible to bacterial infection.

Mr. Sokhatskiy is now suing the manufacturer, and Trader Joe's, which is guilty of selling the product that might have been relatively inexpensive on the shelf, but cost the purchaser plenty in lost time to say nothing of the pain and suffering.

Overall, it is probably far cheaper to make your own egg white salad. It takes a little more time than tossing a pre-made container into your cart when you pick up the bread for the sandwich you'll make, but in the long run, you'll save hours of time sprawled in a hospital bed with tubes stuck in your arms, dripping antibiotics into your body. Like calculating the cost of the gas needed to drive to another store for a cheaper price, it's all relative. You have to look at the bigger picture.

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