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August 02, 2020



That is fascinating - with our grocery delivery, if they substitute something, the store eats the cost (if they sub something, we pay the lower of the two costs).

Given the problems with meat packing and whatnot, I'm not surprised steak is pricier. I don't think we've bought beef since February or so, so I hadn't spotted that. (but: that's a lot. Also, no, we are paying $3/pound for [store-brand] butter, not $6)

There's also a difference between "this is a week's worth of groceries" and "this is a month's worth of groceries," and yes, things like olive oil last for quite a while. And if there are supplements/vitamins in there, that can also tip the price northward...

If it's at all reassuring, our grocery expenditures are around 2x what they were pre-pandemic, including tip and delivery fee. It's more expensive to shop this way, and I am Totally Okay With That, since we have the money and are 1. reducing spread in the community [the set number of store shoppers vs. the larger number if individuals all went in for their groceries, plus we're doing one grocery order for three weeks, so there are fewer contact points per week than if we were doing the normal about-2-stores-per-week grocery shopping, plus one presumes the store shoppers are way more efficient than regular shoppers for the most part], 2. reducing our health risk [which potentially lowers the local hospital's burden], and 3. paying people who might not otherwise have a job.

I guess, I'm good with paying more personally (especially since there are entire budget categories that are just... not really applicable right now, like gas), but I do wish that people on a limited income had more/better options. If your social security payments plus medications mean that your groceries have to fit very tightly within these lines, that would be a whole lot harder to do while also self-isolating (as it'd probably be good for most of those on social security to do!).


KC - I am stocking up. I wish I could say that would last me three weeks, but some things will last months and some things will last a week. It seems that luxury items have the highest markup, as it should be.


Stocking up (on things that you can use or donate before expiry) is good! I was kind of aghast at the beginning of the pandemic at how many non-impoverished people didn't have even one week's worth of food in their houses, although for people in places like NYC in income brackets where they just eat bodega or restaurant food for all three meals, it makes a twisted sort of sense. But like, at least have some emergency soup and tuna and then give it to the food bank every year before it expires? And for places like where we live, which is Not NYC, it was truly boggling to me that people would not be able to sustain caloric input from their pantry for three days. Do these people never get the flu? Or maybe they call in delivery when they get the flu? Anyway.

I'm glad the luxury items had the highest markup in your sampling! Some "poor food staples" ran out or had skyrocketing prices early on and... like, what about the people who *normally* mostly eat lentils/beans and rice, alternating with ramen, because that's what they can afford? Not good. Anyway. I think most things are mostly available again (barring bleach wipes and rubbing alcohol and such), so that's good. I hope things work out well for everyone.


Thank you Queen. I have been searching the internet for articles about food inflation. I'm seeing ranges from 0.6% to 2.5%, but I seem to be paying 30% or more depending on the item.

And, the policy of my main store is like KC's in that we pay the lower price for substitutions. Doesn't quite work that way. Example: I ordered 3 white potatoes and ended up with 3 X 1.5 lb sacks of white potatoes and paid full cost. Two months to use up those potatoes. And lots of substitutions with things I never order, but the store wants to get rid of because sell by date is near. And the supposed online approval of substitutions doesn't work.

I wish I thought prices would come down again when pandemic ends, but that's not usually the case.
Our community is providing food for lot of people (no questions asked). So I hope that helps those who struggle.


KC - when I was running the show we did not. When Gary retired he instituted the Larder.
Arlene - We use Shipt (For a fee) but they are very good. The shopper calls and we have long chats about substitutes.


When you were running the show, what did you do for food if there was a snowstorm or flu or something and you couldn't get out for three days? (I get that NYC is the City that Never Stops as well as the City that Never Sleeps, but presumably St. Louis is... not?) My mom grew up on a farm, so I grew up with A Pantry (which you restock when things are on sale) being simply *the* way of inexpensively running the dry goods side of the food equation.


KC - pancakes. Pancakes were always an option for when we had no food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, pancakes.


Ah, okay, so you did have enough pantry capacity for pancakes! That works.

(I talked with someone who, in March, literally had (aside, I suspect, from ketchup et al): 1 can of soup; two servings of mixed nuts; and half a bottle of vodka. Granted, this was a college student, but STILL. You cannot quarantine yourself for two weeks on this. Or at least you shouldn't?)


KC - Gary adopted the larder principle later in life. When I met him he only had margarine, Dr. Pepper, celery, and blue cheese dressing In his refrigerator.


On college visits, I once saw a frat house in upstate NY and they showed me through the house and I was most interested in the kitchen, because how do shared kitchens *work* really?

Apparently: this one worked by none of the residents cooking. I most distinctly recall opening a giant cupboard and the entire cupboard being entirely empty but for one lonely jar of rainbow sprinkles.

At least celery and blue cheese dressing go together pretty well? But yes, that is... not the most life-sustaining. (what did *he* eat?)(this is what baffles me, and in retrospect I wish I'd asked the frat house tour people what they did eat and how. I do remember the beer cans forming sort of area-rugs on the living room floor, but surely they must have eaten some solid foods?)(maybe they all just ate delivery pizza? Or maybe they each squirreled away energy bars/cereal/whatever in their rooms I don't know. But it'll be a mystery forever, I guess...)


KC - Gary dipped the celery stalks in the blue cheese dressing. He explained the margarine was a leftover from a diet cake he made his sisters.


But... what *else* did he eat? I assume he did not subsist entirely off celery with blue cheese dressing...?


KC - that’s all he ate at home. No breakfast, lunch at work. Celery and blue cheese dressing for dinner.


Oh. Oh wow.

Now I'm wondering if the frat house ate sprinkles for dinner. Not many each, but...

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