If you're like me, in this age of skyrocketing food prices, you cruise the aisles of your local supermarket with your eyes peeled for bargains. Even if it's something not on your list. Dog food, let's say. So what, if you don't have a dog. You may get one one day, and when you do you won't get 3 cans of Alpo for the price of 2. Grab it! The sale's over on Friday.
How does one find these bargains?
In my local supermarket, they're tagged with attractive, 4-color printed signage on heavy card stock, which must cost the franchise a pretty penny. But boy, those signs sure do get your attention, emblazoned with a logo branding the advertised item as part of a "Lower Price Project" and shouting at you, "NEW LOW PRICE!"
If you're a properly-trained Pavlovian consumer, when you see such a sign you will drool and your arm will automatically jut out to grab the item. Quickly. Before it sells out at it's "NEW LOW PRICE!"
That's what I do.
Yesterday at the same market I bought (3) cases of Poland Spring water, a bargain at $9.99 ( that penny saved counts). The fact I knocked out 3 vertebrae carrying them home doesn't matter- I saved 4 bucks. That's 6 cans of Alpo. For my cat.
So, imagine my surprise this morning, back at the supermarket, drawn to one of these signs, I actually read it.
I love asparagus, don't you? It tastes great grilled with extra-virgin olive oil and a little salt. I buy it on sale nowadays because it's gotten pricey at around $2.99/lb., sometimes $3.99/lb.; a veggie that's about 25% waste (when removing the tough bottom of the stalk).
So my arm had already extended to grab some of this lovely asparagus offered at a "NEW LOW PRICE!" when I read the sign:
Does that really say $4.99/ lb.?
Not only has my supermarket raised the price of asparagus by at least 25%, they're advertising it to us as a 'new low price" on one of their attractive, high-end signs.
Now, guys. In the words of Judge Judy, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.
Was the $4.99 a misprint? Or the "NEW LOW PRICED!" part?
The only way I'm paying $4.99/lb for asparagus is if it comes with a free turkey.
So I walked the aisles to check of items similarly touted as having "NEW LOW PRICE!", and to be fair, most of advertised were price-reduced.
But, today's Asparagus Incident has shaken my confidence in the printed word at my local supermarket,: I will be using critical thinking going forward when shopping, no longer impressed by the good graphic layout or attractive colors seducing me with promises. I'll be the judge of whether that's a 'NEW LOW PRICE!" or a "NEW HIGH PRICE!"
With that in mind, I have made the appropriate correction to the asparagus signage, and I hope my supermarket will follow suit.
Let's keep it real.