Today I had to work all day again, but once I was done with the day's work, I was truly done and satisfied. I was actually excited about the prospects of spending some of that free time in the grocery store, walking down the aisles and planning my meals when a certain meat or produce strikes my fancy. Alas, the market I normally go to for such things was closed at an unnaturally early hour...maybe for good. There were rumors that the supermarket was already struggling through the bad times, and if a partnership deal isn't struck with new investors, it'll go under really soon. Perhaps the white flag has already gone up.
Feeling a little sad, I headed over to the 99 Cents store to see what cheap-but-not-cheapy grocery items could be found. I read
There are 2 options for survival--either raise the prices of some items so that they're no longer a dollar (which defeats the purpose of calling the outlet a Dollar Store), or shrink the portions but keep the price at a dollar. The 99 Cents Store I went to today apparently took the latter route. I've noticed that many of the items have shrunken dramatically in size, particularly the pasta sauces. I used to be able to get a really nice bottle of pasta sauce (which sold for several dollars at a regular market) for a buck. Today, however, a dollar gets me a squat little "trial size" bottle with perhaps a third of the former volume. Likewise, the can of chili I purchased was in a much-reduced volume from what I saw before all the price hikes.
I know that in a free-market supply-and-demand economy, every businessperson has to make adjustments to keep the business afloat. Still, the practice of selling reduced-size things for the same price first struck me as being a little shady, as it goes against the expectation of returning consumers who aren't getting what they thought they'd be getting. However, it's not like people won't notice the difference in the Incredible Shrinking Can.
Sigh...it's just a bit disappointing. My former bargain spot isn't what it used to be. But then again, economic change is a way of life. Just as we heard stories of the nickel-and-dime store, the 99 Cents Store may become the lore for our children and grandchildren.