The $12 chicken

Its been a busy day, I was almost too busy to post but after chuckling about my visit to the local health food store, I figured I share my experience.

Let me start off by saying I am a sucker when it comes to shopping at places like Whole Foods or any good natural grocery store, its rare that I walk out of such places spending less than a $100 which if you know these places, does not buy a lot of food. However  in keeping with my commitment to not spend so much this month, I went in to my local health food store with a firm commitment to spend $20 or less. Now my list only had oatmeal and coffee, the coffee is $11 a lb and bulk oats go for $1.69 a lb. I only added some dish washing liquid and a cup of coffee to go…grand total a mere $21 and some odd change. This was a very good visit for me as the spousal unit commented, I have never spent so little at this particular shop.

I must admit it though it was hard especially as the fresh meat section is now across from the bulk bins and the fresh organic chickens and ground beef were winking at me. That is until I looked up close and saw that the price on the rather small Colemans Natural Chicken was only $12. Yep, only $12 for a nice uncooked chicken, a nice raw chicken that would require me to go home and prepare it.

I have to be honest, I am all about the organics and eating local but $12 for a uncooked chicken that only appeared to be 3 pounds at best is well, rather stupid. In these rough economic times I have had to start picking and choosing what is organic that I can keep buying, right now diary products and ground beef are the two winners. Anything else well, its been a nice ride on the organics but I just can’t do it anymore. Thankfully, we are not huge diary consumers but its still hard paying almost $5 for a half gallon of milk when I could get the standard issue milk for $3 a gallon.

Guess its a sign of the times, for a while organics were the hottest trends in grocery items but I suspect as more of us tighten the financial belt, gone are the days of all organics, all the time.

Anyway no $12  chickens tonight instead we are eating the .49 lbs chicken legs courtesy of the local butcher.

Happy Wednesday all!

Cash for Clunkers…now all we need is some money

So I reading the local paper this morning and ran across this gem. On the surface it seems like a great idea, get folks to get rid of their old gas guzzling cars by offering an incentive of a few thousand dollars towards the purchase of a new, more efficient ride. However as I drank more coffee and thought about it, it struck me as a rather silly idea at least in these present economic times.

I mean have you priced a new car? I have and they are not cheap, shit you would be hard pressed to find a new efficient ride for under twenty thousand and with the credit markets resembling the state of the northeastern US this morning aka frozen, deep freeze….How many folks do you think are really gonna jump at this?

Instead of encouraging folks to buy newer more efficient cars maybe folks should be guided towards trying to live lives that are less car dependent in general. In my area folks own lots of cars, my next door neighbors have 3 cars for 2 adults, same with my neighbors across the street. Only one other family is a one car family like ours, funny thing is we live in the center of town so its possible to live here and do all your major life activities like shopping and banking without a car. It was the single most selling point when we chose this house instead of the gorgeous one in the country on 2 acres.

Look, Americans are wedded to their cars yet we need to change that. We need to create a better infrastructure by spending money on public transportation, take care of the rails which its my understanding have seen an increase in ridership this past year.  Yet even more folks might consider rail travel if it was more efficient. Right now for me to take the train to New York takes longer than driving there because to take the train involves switching not only trains in Boston but 2 train stations…um, that is not a way to encourage folks to travel by public transit.

Anyway while I think its nice that Congress wants to encourage folks to buy better cars, problem is this once again shows how disconnected the powers to be are with the average joes. Sort of like Bush’s stimulus that was supposed to stimulate the economy last year, folks didn’t run out to shop, they took that cash to pay down bills or else held onto it for the rainy day fund.

What we really need are some average joes making the laws who understand what its like to not have money, maybe then we’d get some ideas that reflect reality.  After all when you have a cushy 6 figure salary and excellent health insurance, its easy to forget the little man and woman.

Uh oh…times is tough

Despite the fact that Obama won the election, the economy still sucks and probably will for a really long time. Today brought the news that Circuit City is filing for bankruptcy protection and that DHL is laying off thousands of folks. Last month the economy shed a crazy number of jobs, just in my local paper they were talking about how car dealers are facing hard times and that in a state like Maine where a car is pretty much a necessity, ain’t nobody buying any cars. It doesn’t help that the credit market is still frozen, one local dealer was talking about how if folks had FICO scores of 700 they could still get loans. Um, problem is a lot of folks don’t have FICO scores of 700 including yours truly. (my credit scores sucks, that’s all I’m saying)

No kids, times is tough, retailers hoping that Christmas will bring a little joy to their bottom line can kiss that thought good bye. I suspect this will be the year of the frugal shopper, as folks have less disposable cash and credit since gone are the days of pulling money out of your house to finance your lifestyle. Right now if you are smart and you have some spare cash and credit, you are probably keeping it close to your vest in case you find yourself jobless.

Yet in the midst of all the woes, I read something on MSNBC that made me smile, layaway is making a comeback this year at places TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory and a few other places in addition to regional stores. Y’all remember layaway? For those who forgot or are too young to remember, back in the ole days, you would go to a store pick out some stuff you wanted to buy, say you wanted $300 worth of stuff. Well the store might charge a small service fee of say $5 but basically you would have anywhere from 30-90 days to pay for the goods, when the good were paid for, you can take your shit home.

It was a simple concept, personally I used to love me some layaway, when my son was a small child that was often how I purchased his Christmas back when I was a single Mama. I didn’t have a credit card in those days and lived tight to the bone so as early as August, I would put his stuff in layaway and before Christmas it would be paid for. However in the past decade or so stores moved away from layaway instead offering customers store credit cards, now I know from the store perspective credit cards are a better deal however from a consumers point of view layaway is not a bad thing. Except that by a certain point it started to be viewed negatively as something those poor folks do, instead folks with any bit of means opted to use credit.

Well times have changed and layaway is back much like hitting the second hand stores is no longer seen as something only done by poor folks. Shit, my local Goodwill is economic melting pot, seems now everyone is looking for a deal.

I must admit that while I hope the economy starts to make a change, I actually see the desire for folks to lead a life more in line with their actual means as a positive thing. So yeah times are tough and we have to tighten our belts but who really needs 500 channels of cable tv on a huge ass tv?