You have seen it at the store and the gas pump. America is enduring severe inflation under Joe Biden’s administration. Some families are hurting so bad they’re changing their shopping habits to adjust. One way they’re finding savings is by shopping at stores that sell goods that can’t be sold at any others. These so-called “salvage stores” are helping Americans through the Bidenflation they’re suffering from. Kim Svenson reports for The New York Times:
In a world where a jar of peanut butter costs a dollar more than it did last year and the price of a gallon of conventional milk inches up to $6 in some cities, paying $1.49 for a family-size box of crispy rice cereal can seem like a good idea, even if it’s August and the cereal is dyed red and green for Christmas.
At the salvage store, a deal is a deal.
With grocery prices 13.1% higher than a year ago, according to the consumer price index for July, a new batch of customers has discovered the joys and pitfalls of shopping at salvage food stores, where a crushed box is never a problem, package dates are mere suggestions and questionable marketing attempts (Hostess SnoBall-flavored coffee pods?) go to die.
The stores, which traffic in what mainstream food retailers call “unsellables,” operate in a gray zone between food banks and big discount chains like the German import Aldi or Dollar General, which has grown to more than 18,000 stores.
With names like Sharp Shopper, the Dented Can and Stretch-a-Buck, salvage stores have long been a salvation for families on tight food budgets and the naturally thrifty. Adventurous shoppers looking for bargains use them for culinary treasure hunts. Now, the inflation-weary are joining their ranks.
Maggie Kilpatrick, a food blogger and cooking teacher in St. Paul, Minnesota, with celiac disease, visited a salvage store for the first time in June after the cost of her favorite gluten-free products skyrocketed. Someone in a gluten-free Facebook group mentioned a salvage store about 20 miles away.
“I was shocked,” she said. “There was lots of gluten-free, organic, high-quality stuff you never thought you would find in this dumpy little store in Fridley, Minnesota.”
A package of two baguettes from a company she loves usually sell for about $6.99. She picked up three packages for $5. Vegan butter was $1.99, about $5 less than she would pay at Whole Foods Market.
“I can see how people get hooked on it,” she said.
Many of the stores are small, and some don’t use checkout scanners or take credit cards, so getting a complete picture of nationwide sales is a challenge. An analysis of 405,101 receipts submitted by consumers to the consumer rewards app Fetch showed the number of households shopping at salvage stores in the first half of this year was more than 8% higher than a year earlier.
The manager of Dickies, a small chain in North Carolina, said sales were up 36% from last summer. Other store managers reported double-digit increases. “I’ve been seeing a bunch of people come in who haven’t been here before,” said Nicholas Duke, 27, who manages what had until recently been called the Price Is Right in this tourist-friendly city in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The owners recently renamed the store Uplifting Deals. It’s part of a rebranding plan they hope will attract new shoppers, including people who once might have turned up their noses at places that sell tubes of frozen hamburger for $2 a pound, fading lemons and a jumble of items, from canned tomatoes to 99-cent bottles of celebrity-chef marinade.
“We’re trying to clean it up and show people it can be a real shopping experience,” Duke said.
Action Line: Discount stores like these are a great place to pick up food for your survival cache or to keep costs low if you’re living a F.I.R.E. lifestyle. Just watch those expiration dates. If you’re looking for information on storing food for the future, click here to download my free special report FOOD SHORTAGE: Crazed Hoarding Is not Preparing.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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