Last Wednesday, my first full day back home, I discovered that the cupboards were totally bare. I found out about this bareness after being awakened by two small faces hovering over mine, poking me and repeating, "Mommy, we're hungry."

Since my sons have the broken record technique totally mastered, there was no sense in hoping they'd go away so I could sleep more. Sooo I wandered into the kitchen and found that there was no milk, no cereal, no whole wheat frozen waffles, no bread and no bananas.

Just when I thought my boys were gonna get all Lord of the Flies on me, I said, "How about ice cream for breakfast?" because the good Lord knows that there is always a carton of Breyer's in our freezer. Spank me for being a bad mommy and feeding my kids ice cream in the morning, but I was desperate.

I don't know what my husband was eating while we were away, but I suspect that he may have been hanging out at Wendy's and McDonald's quite a bit. Either that or he was popping a frozen pizza into the oven every couple of days and heating up cans of chicken soup. Oh, and eating the Breyer's.

To remedy the insane lack of food in the house, I made a list and took off to go grocery shopping. I first went to my very overcrowded Trader Joe's (if you don't have one, it's the poor man's Whole Foods) and then to my local Von's grocery store. I go to Von's to get the few things that I can't get at Trader Joe's, like Breyer's ice cream.

At Trader Joe's I bemoaned the fact that the Kashi cereal that I love has increased in price yet again. It's still cheaper than the almost $5 a box at Von's, but jeez, the price at Trader Joe's has gone up a whole dollar in the past year. Other sticker shockers were four white peaches for $3.99 and the price of a bunch of grapes was pushing $5.

Still though, Trader Joe's does have serious bargains. For example, Van's Waffles are only $1.89 a box at Trader Joe's but like twice that price at Von's. By the way, if you've never had those waffles, they're great. No preservatives, all natural, and you can even get "wheat free" if that's your thing.

Anyway enough gushing about those awesome waffles.

I left Trader Joe's and headed to over to my friendly neighborhood Von's. Once there, I got three cucumbers which were 99 cents each, and noted that bananas at Von's are an exorbitant 79 cents a pound instead of the bargain 19 cents a pound at Trader Joe's.

I was feeling pretty good about saving some cash till I wheeled my cart over to the yogurt, cheese, butter aisle. The Lucerne yogurt (it's the Von's/Safeway brand) I like to eat is always on sale and this time the sale price listed 10/$5. That's not too bad so I reached out my hand to pick up a few containers but I stopped short because something didn't look quite right.

At first I thought it might be the labeling on the top of the package because it said something about a new creamy blend. But no, even though that was different, that wasn't "it". I think I stood there for two minutes before I realized that the packaging was smaller. The container has gone from being eight ounces to six ounces... but the price has stayed the same.

Essentially, the company that makes the yogurt is giving me 25% less product but is keeping the price the same and they're trying to distract me (and you) with some bitchassness about a new creamy blend. There's something about this that just seems so incredibly dishonest. Just raise the price on the food item instead of trying to trick me into believing I'm still getting what I was getting before.

I mean, food companies like to put stuff like, "Now with 25% more!" on the label so why not slap, "Now with 25% less!" up there too just so I'm clear on what's going on. This kind of corporate trickery really annoys me. I'm sure they haven't cut the CEO's pay by 25%, have they?

I'd planned on buying five containers of yogurt, but this time in protest, I only bought three. This yogurt is not a necessity at all. It's a total luxury for my sweet tooth self and I might just cut it out entirely. I'm sure some of you might be thinking I'm silly for even being annoyed by this, and yes, I know all about the downsizing of the aforementioned Breyer's ice cream when they went from a whole half gallon to a quart and a half AND raised the price.

It's just that I'm sure this downsized packaging has happened with other stuff I buy as well. Sigh. Every week I watch my grocery store bill creep ever upwards and I know more corporate chicanery is sure to be in the mix.


Lola Gets said…
"...they're trying to distract me (and you) with some bitchassness..."

I think this is the funniest thing I have read on your blog! Yeah, one does have to be en garde when trying to manage ones food budget. We now have Trader's in DC. I haven't been yet, because I was never really impressed when I went to the ones in Virginia. Yeah, they have a lot of cool, fun "treats", but, at least for me, they didn't have enough of my "real food" to make them a definite stop on my shopping list.

And they're always so crowded!

Perhaps Ill try again, soon.

Anonymous said…
No you're right. There were some news articles about it last week or so. Diary has increased by 10% in the past year. Be glad you're still in SoCal because in NoCal you'd be adding about 25% on top of your bill just for the privilege of living here.
DJ Mikey said…
Fuckm3Hi there, my mum is a pyschologist. When we were little (me and my 2 brothers) she allowed us to eat ice cream for breakfast while watching cartoons on a Saturday morning.

I guess this was a treat for having been good during the week.

Anyway what's wrong with ice cream for breakfast? Once in awhile it isn't going to do any harm. It has milk (required as you know for healthy teeth and bones) and sugar for energy. It's the perfect occasional breakfast food.

I feel your pain, my brothers and I, were exceptionally good at the broken record routine. And now my 2 nephews are also good at this most annoying skill.
1969 said…
Did you use the word chicanery? I so heart you.

And there are worse things than ice cream for breakfast.

You need to buy your cereal at Target. Kashi cereal is always on sale and I find the cereal (at least) is always cheaper than the supermarket.
Unknown said…
Whoa, that is sneaky! I will be checking my ounces, thanks!

To piggy back off 1969 comment, while I love love love Trader Joe, they too can hit you where it hurts. I researched them a bit only to discover the same guy who began Aldi's started TJoe's! If you have Aldi's in LA sometimes you can find local, or farm raised, or sugar free items for less. But nothing beats those friendly folks in the safari outfits at TJoe's, right? LOL!
Jen said…
I think we all have to buy stock in Aldi's. I'm doing a lot of home producing right now - buying the raw ingredients and making things. Of course, then I have a lot less time for other things.

Chicanery indeed.
Tafari said…
I lost it to laughter as I read about the cupboards being bare & finally the ice cream. That was too funny!!!

I purchsed some Eady's ice cream last week & when i pulled it out of the freezer, I was like WTF is this little shit. Less product, more cost.

That is some real bitchassness!!!

Anonymous said…
Hey, at least ice cram has calcium!

You should send that thing about the yogurt into Consumer Reports - the love that sort of thing for their "Selling It" page.
Liz Dwyer said…
Never thought I'd give a kudos to Diddy for anything, but that phrase takes the cake. TJ's has much cheaper vegetarian stuff than the regular grocery store, but the produce tends to not be so great and I still have to go to other stores as well for specific things. They are ridiculously crowded, that's for sure.

Why does it have to be like this here? Is it all Arnold's fault? I was talking to my mom today about cost of living and it is definitely through the roof here. I love it here but the prices are getting SO ridiculous.

DJ Mikey,
How sweet of your mom to let you and your brother do that on Saturday mornings. Those must be some good memories. My sons want to eat ice cream all the time but they definitely were shocked that I let them eat some for breakfast. I'm all about healthier, less sugary choices for breakfast and they know that very well.

TJ's used to be cheaper than Target but I'm not sure anymore. I'll have to check. But then I'd have to drive twice as far to the Target. And the one that's closest to us is known for jacking up their prices higher than other Targets that are farther out. And yes, chicanery! I'm a nerd at heart!

No kidding that the Aldi's guy started TJ's! We don't have Aldi's here in LA. There's Food4Less though. I guess that's the closest to an Aldi's. I used to go to the one in Compton when I first moved out here because it was right by where I was teaching. It was alright for canned goods and frozen stuff... and junk food. I should check out the one in Hollywood even though it looks SO seedy.

I wonder why there's zero Aldi's in LA. Eating at home definitely saves money and cooking everything from scratch does as well but yes, it is definitely time consuming.

Yes, less for more seems to be the way companies are going. And the way these kids are eating we'll be back to that sort of bare cupboardness in a couple of days. I think they're going through a growth spurt or something. Sigh. They need jobs.

I guess I should be grateful they like ice cream because then they do get the calcium. Weird how they both hate milk but love ice cream. They won't even eat cereal with milk. Anyway, I might just this to CR. Someone needs to call Von's/Safeway on this!

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