Monday, June 13, 2011

convience strore pricing at the supermarket drove me online

I never would have guessed that an offer for free shipping on a trailer hitch would have been the straw that motivated me to buy chili powder online rather than from my local supermarket.

I make a wicked mexican chili bean salad. The recipe has been available on this blog since 2007, although it's been refined over time. I never make it twice exactly the same, but chili powder is always a key ingredient, and a large batch takes 1 to 1.5 ounces of chili powder.

Did you ever wonder why you can buy 2 liters of soda at the supermarket for the same price as a 12 oz can from the cooler at a convienience store? Convienience. Convienience stores know that most of us are willing to pay more when we want it cold and ready to drink. I almost always buy soda from the supermarket, and keep a mini - fridge stocked in the basement. I rarely buy it from a convienience store, but that is a different story.

Since I go thorugh a lot of chili powder, I realized a while ago that my local grocery stores have been making huge profits by charging rediculous prices for small jars of cooking spices, including my beloved chili powder. I started shopping around a while ago, and found much larger containers are available, at very reasonable prices but, not where I shop. My store used to stock a 4 oz container of chili powder, which were priced just a little more than the 2.5 oz, and I bought them whenever they were available, however they must have realized the larger containers were cutting into their profits and eliminated them. I've asked about larger containers at the grocery store from time to time, but was told they don't stock them. For a long time, I wasn't inclined to order a monster size chili powder online. I didn't want to pay the shipping, and it just wasn't on my mind until I was making bean salad and found I was out of chili powder, so I just kept running out to the store and paying the rediculous price.

Then something happened. I bought a new vehicle, and needed to order a trailer hitch for it. While shopping at Amazon, I was offered a free 1 month trial of Amazon prime, with free 2nd day shipping for a year at a fixed fee of $79. I figured, with the price of gas, it wouldn't take long to make up the cost of running around shopping, and the savings on shipping the trailer hitch alone were substantial, so I went for it.

It happended again this week, I went to make bean salad, and found only about half an ounce of chili powder in the house. I finally said enough it enough. I ordered 2 16 oz jars of Durkee chili powder for $13.58, with free 2nd day shipping from Amazon and it showed up here 2 days later. My wife, VJ, stopped in the grocery store yesterday, and told me the usual 2.5 oz jar of chili powder was just under $5, and this was for the store brand, not some fancy gourmet brand, so I was pleased that she left it on the shelf.

I can't wait to taste the bean salad with the sweet taste of my bargain priced chili powder. I bet it will be much better than the rip-off grocery store powder becasue at less than a fourth of the cost per ounce, I won't be choking on the price.

Now that I'm over the online grocery hurdle, who know what additional business my local supermarket will lose? And all becasue of a trailer hitch...

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