Saturday, May 28, 2016
Does It Matter?
After I fussed about the price of tomatoes the other day, someone asked me if it really mattered, if it really made a difference, because it's only a matter of 40 cents.
Let's think this through another way.
It would be fair to say that I eat at least 24 tomatoes each month; I've been Vegetarian for most of my life, so it should be no surprise that I eat a lot of fresh produce.
24 tomatoes = 4 6-item prepacks
4 X $1.70 = $6.80
24 tomatoes = 6 4-item prepacks
6 X $.99 = 5.94
In a year that adds up quite a bit, especially when you consider my weekly food budget of $12-$20. (The Tightwad Gazette author would figure up all these factioids in cost-per-hour increments and such but neither my math skills nor my patience are up to doing that.)
48 6-item prepacks @ $1.70 each = 81.60
72 4-item prepacks @ $.99 each = 71.20
We also have to consider my refrigerator in our calculations. As I say often, I have only a dorm-size fridge (by choice, mind you!) so I don't have room to keep tomatoes in there. I have no problems finishing up a 4-pack of tomatoes but with a six-pack one of the tomatoes may wither before I get the entire package eaten. It pays to understand your limitations and your habits. Buying only what I can reasonably eat saves money and avoids waste.
And speaking of waste, there's also another matter at hand here: wasteful packaging.
Now I can't stop the grocery store from doing what it does. (I have to live in this little town; getting a reputation for being testy with store managers is unwise.) The only choice I have is to buy Roma tomatoes (which they rarely pre-package for some reason) instead of Creoles (which are nearly always packaged). I don't care for the way Roma skins are oiled, so I want Creoles.
What I do have a choice about is what I do with the packaging. I re-use the plastic wrap when I stored a cut tomato in the fridge. And, more importantly, I re-use the Styrofoam trays (appropriately cleaned, of course) in packing eBay shipments. (I include a cute note explaining that I "eco-pack" and none of my buyers have ever complained.)
The thing is that we have choices about what we do. Yes, sometimes that does mean micro-managing some facets of our lives but I still believe in paying attention to the little stuff.....like the price of Creole tomatoes.