11.05.2006

Cost Minus

I wonder why "Cost Plus" is "Cost Plus." Why would you want to make your store sound like it costs an arm and a leg? I've always wondered.

Either way, the store is sometimes true to its name. At full price, some of things are ridiculously expensive, like a cloisonne bead bracelet they're selling for $12.99. I could have whipped that up for 1/10 of that amount in less than 5 minutes. However, the clearance section can be quite a bonanza of a deal. I've gotten great bargains there, ranging from Christmas-themed items to candies and household goods.

I went there today only because it was next door to a place I was heading to. There were couple of things I was looking for to refill my pantry: tea and Ghirardelli hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was still a bit expensive, and the tea was very expensive (at around $10 a can). I wandered to a clearance corner of the store and didn't find anything interesting. Disappointed, I was about to leave through the food aisles when I spotted a clearance section for food. The discount was 50% off, which got my attention. I saw 1-liter cans of extra virgin olive oil: originally priced at $9, and now at $4.50. That's a lot of olive oil for so low a price! I remembered that my apartment is running low on olive oil, so I grabbed a can. Not ideal for cooking, but I'm not all that picky. There were various exotic salad dressings, including a pear vinagrette with honey. I like trying new things but can only afford to do that if they are on sale, so I picked up a bottle. That sets me back $3.50, but not bad for salad dressing. Best of all, they had tea on sale as well. I picked up a can of "champagne tea" (so named because of the color) for $4.50--at least $5 off from the cans I decided not to buy. When I went to pay, the cashier did a double take when the prices rang up. Yup, the deals were that good.

There are special concerns with buying clearance foods. Certain things like tea last for years, but generally speaking, food is perishable, so you need to check the expiration dates. There were a couple of bottles that I let go because they've already expired. Even though bottled stuff generally have a shelf life longer than the date, I wouldn't chance it. And even if it hasn't expired, ask yourself whether you'll use everything up by the time it does expire. If you're buying something just to try (like me and my salad dressing), ask yourself if it's worth it if you only get to use it just a few times, or even just once. Whatever it is you buy, there is one rule that fits all: use it as soon as you buy it. It's better than buying it and forgetting about it, then it goes bad and you would have thrown money out the window.

1 comment:

bee said...

Cost Plus (I hear you on the odd name) is one of my favorite stores. I've found some serious bargains there as well, but none as good as those you got! I like their housewares section. And their outdoor section. And, and, and -- basically I like it all. :)