Holidays are fun.

Holidays are fun.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saving you from Pick and Save.

Good evening.

I could have gone to a Milwaukee Admirals game tonight.  Hubby was taking our youth group from church to see the IHL team here in town play.  It's always a good time.  But I've been nursing the mother of all bad headaches today, so I bowed out.

Instead, I decided to work on the scratch off tickets I got from my local Pick n Save grocery store.  Grocery stores have promotions all the time, and sometimes we play and sometimes we don't.  Boy, do I wish we hadn't gotten into this one.

The concept of the Pick n Save scratch off game...if you aren't from around here...is simple.  You get tickets for buying various dollar amounts of groceries or for buying various special products.  You take the tickets home and scratch off 3...BUT ONLY 3... of the footballs.  If you match 3 of a kind, you win the prize...which you also have to scratch off.  Didn't win?  Well, all is not lost...there's a sort of second chance prize...which is also a scratch off.

There are HOW many steps?  And I win...more tickets?
I have yet to win anything on those second chance prizes that ISN'T a 25 cent coupon for a grocery item I don't use.

As for the big prizes, which range from a NEW HOUSE  or BIG CASH...well, I've matched 3 scratch off footballs on four of the 40 tickets I earned...just today.  (We probably have 300 of these things floating around the house.)  I won two dollars...and I've won four more tickets.

Yes, you read that right.  One of the most common prizes for scratching off these tickets is winning more tickets.  And I've spent the better part of my Saturday night doing this.  I have this stupid silver boogers all over my living room...and I still have about 20 tickets to scratch off.

This debacle of a stupid game is just the most recent thing that makes me mad about Pick n Save.  Years ago this chain of stores, controlled by the Roundy's corp, was truly the best deal in town for groceries.  They ran specials on things people actually wanted, and even their regular prices were low.

Now, in the last year or so, I've noticed our household grocery bills going up and up.  I attributed it to the bad economy, fuel prices, everything we always blame when prices go up.

Turns out, while those factors might be part of the problem, the bigger problem is this:  Pick n Save sucks.

Yes, I said it.

This dawned on me a few weeks ago when I was shopping with Hubby.  When I shop, I get what I need, making sure I find the items on sale.  I stock up on things that we use that are on sale.  But I don't go looking for things to comparison shop.  I don't have that kind of time.  But one happy evening we were roaming the store and the price of a pound of butter caught our eye.

$5.22

One pound of butter.  Not even the big fancy brand, which was on special for $4.39 a pound that night.  Nope this was a store brand.  $5.22 a pound.

I was stunned.  We do eat a lot of butter, having given up the chemistry experiment that is margarine.  Okay, we don't eat Paula Dean levels of butter, but we do use butter on a daily basis.    I then started looking around at the basics, bread, milk, orange juice, cheese, frozen waffles and frozen pizza.

All of them, without fail, ridiculously high prices.

Pick n Save has made a big deal about how they are locking down prices, and how they are slashing prices in these hard economic times.

Yeah, except for milk, bread, butter, and frozen pizzas.  Oh, and paper products.  Toilet paper and whatnot.

The next morning, after the big butter shock, I started looking around at other avenues of grocery shopping.

Kwik Trip...butter special  $1.99 a pound.  Regular price  $2.49.
We bought 10 pounds.

Target:  Frozen dinners Hubby and I take to work for lunches, in some cases 33-40% lower...and these were not special prices.

Sam's Club:  Dairy, butter, eggs, bread, and snack chips  all way, way, WAY below Pick n Save's prices.  Oh, and their fresh produce is cheap and very high quality.

Now the argument everyone has for shopping in different places is that you spend way more in gas.  But here's the thing:  We go to these places all the time for other things.  Kwik Trip is where we get gas and coffee.  So just buy butter, eggs, and bananas as well. (And the rebate you get each quarter from Kwik Trip for using their gas card more than pays for the extra gas you might use.)

Target, surprisingly, has a lot of stuff we need all the time.  And while we have a super Walmart, I tend to like Target better.  So when we need frozen dinners, or frozen food in general, that's where we go.

Sam's club we get to probably twice a month for vitamins, pain killers, and other items that are way cheaper in bulk.  So buying milk, eggs, and snacks there makes sense.

So Pick and Save, take note:  While you are busy slashing prices on cans of sardines and that weird looking fruit thing that seriously no one buys, and you're making it up on the basics everyone needs, we have figured you out. 

$5.22 for a pound of butter?  We are not amused.

Plus...now I have to vacuum my living room to get rid of the scratch off boogers.

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