Sunday, July 31, 2011
Prices are going up. That's a fact. That's why you can't rely on Social Security to take care of yourself in your senior years and why it always makes me wonder why Seniors are so dead set against the health care improvements President Barack Obama is trying to bring to America.
But the real problem is the quality of food. It used to be that you would go to Jewel and Dominicks to insure that you bought the freshest and best quality food. You went to Cub Foods and Aldi to save money, knowing that the food had a shorter shelf life and that sometimes the food had to be eaten right away. No more luxury of time for food there.
That was the perception and I think the reality. But who really knows? No one actively monitors food freshness at grocery stores.
But I have noticed that food I am buying at the so-called "good stores" is not that great. It has a shorter life and seems to spoil faster. You have to watch the "Sell by" dates more vigilantly or you might end up buying a gallon of milk that is stamped to be sold by the next day. It happens more often than not.
The eggs are not as fresh as they used to be. Meats are not lasting as long.
Like everything, food retailers are not wasting potential sales in today's poor economic markets. They are selling food that they might have tossed a few years ago, to reduce losses and increase profits. Every dollar thrown out in bad food is actually valued at $2 and maybe $3 to the store. You throw out $1 and you also lose the $1 sale. But it also costs to sort through the food and move out bad product or product with a short shelf life.
So it's easier now to keep the garbage on the counter and in the deli with the new food and sell the older food, rather than worrying about consumer satisfaction. I mean, what are consumers going to do about it anyway? Write blogs?
No. Consumers are sheep. They won't do anything. They may complain but that's it. They will still buy the food. And, because most are struggling economically -- well, those making less than $250,000 a year for sure -- they are too busy worrying about how to pay the bills each cycle than to spend time assessing the quality of their food.
It's a hidden cost of today's bad economy. The economy isn't about politics. It is also about quality of products. When the economy is bad, retailers are less likely to toss out spoilage. They will try to keep it longer for that sale because selling what they may have thrown out before could mean the difference in today's economy between success and bankruptcy, a word we are all hearing and reading about more and more.
-- Ray Hanania