Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Avoiding the Price Gouging

As I've been told on numerous occasions, I seem to have a fixation on the P holidays, and mention them all too often and all too early to suit most people's tastes. I don't really need to justify my reasons for getting started on Pesach at what seems too early a time for many, but there is one reason for doing so, another P word, and it's a good one--Price.

Leave Pesach and all the shopping it entails to the last week or so before the holiday and you are going to be costing yourself money, sometimes big money. When you are on a close deadline and you are shopping for something you need, you grab it and add up the bills later. When you can shop at leisure (or at least more leisurely) you can take the time to comparison shop and find the bargains that reduce the money outlay.

In our neighborhood the major supermarkets have already put out their Pesach products displays. And no, the prices aren't identical across all the markets. Already a few of the items have "on sale" stickers. In addition, many of the general use products, such as foils and plastic bags, are not specifically targeted to Pesach but are on sale. If you know you will need X number of rolls of foil wrap for Pesach, what possible reason is there for leaving the purchase of that wrap to erev Pesach, especially if it's on sale now? The cost of Kedem grape juice has steadily risen over the past two years. Price that juice in some of the kosher grocery stores and your eyes might pop out. One of the supermarkets has the one liter bottles on sale now at 99 cents. Guarantee that that sale won't be around as you get to the week before Pesach.

Non-perishables simply won't go bad if you buy them now and hold on to them for 4 weeks. Somewhere you are going to be able to find a corner where you can store those non-perishables, even if you have to put them in a box, throw a tablecloth on top of the box and call it a new end table for the living room.

It's bad enough what we are going to have to pay for fresh meat and fish for Pesach. There's no reason to price gauge ourselves by not shopping early for the other products that can be gotten at better prices now.


Anonymous said...

A good suggestion at least in theory. There are some of us however who have not yet admitted that pesach is coming. Buying something for pesach would mean that we'd have to admit it is coming. Not yet ready to face it.

Anonymous said...

In my experience the 64 oz bottles of Kedem grape juice are at their cheapest price around Pesach & and again around Rosh HaShana. (I only buy Kedem as my husband strongly prefers it). For me $0.99 is an amazingly low price though; I live in NJ, and don't see it that low anywhere I shop. Where was this sale, and did it include Kedem grape juice? What was the purchase limit?

Another pesach shopping tip: many grocery stores have coupons for 5 lbs of free (machine) matza when you buy $50 in groceries. Even if you don't use this matza for pesach, now is a good time to stock up on free matza for the rest of the year.

Lion of Zion said...


"For me $0.99 is an amazingly low price though; I live in NJ"

costco has good deals on kedem grape juice (i don't recall if per unit it's cheaper than 0.99, but i would assume so?). the only problem is you have to be a weight lifter to pour from it.


you really oppose the pre-pesach price gouging? then do what our lower east side balabusta ancestors did a century ago to protest it: smash store windows and riot! see

ProfK said...

The sale was a mid-week special last week at Stop and Shop and it was Kedem grape juice--not available any longer at that price, although Pathmark has the same juice at $1.49 now. Limit was 4 bottles, but you could walk in and out as many times as you wanted and buy the special.

Rioting isn't on my to do list right now, although let the prices get any crazier and I might consider it. But there is another way.

Years ago my neighbor and I pooled resources. I did all the fruit and vegetable shopping for both of us. Because of the size of the order I was buying--for example, 25 dozen eggs, 70 pounds of potatoes--I was able to bargain with the owner of a local fruit and veggie market for a reduced price on the total. He gave me the restaurant reduction for bulk buying and I paid about 20% less than the actual cost in the store.

anonymous shopper said...

ProfK, thanks for the info. I just realized that 1L is really 32 oz. For some reason I was thinking it was 64 oz. I'll check S&S and Pathmark because around here I can't get Kedem 64 oz bottles for less than $2.50 or $3.

LOZ, thanks for the info about Costco. I really do prefer the 64 oz bottles though.

Some chain groceries are running an offer for a free chicken/ turkey/ turkey breast/ ham when you buy $300 of so in groceries during the next month or so. This is usually based on the pre-coupon price, so it's not that difficult to do. These offers are linked to the store card, so those who hold multiple cards may be able to get more than one free bird.

Lion of Zion said...


that's pretty interesting about the pooling. you should make a regular post about that.

Aviva said...

Slightly off topic but you need to see some of the prices that are being charged this year for some of the products--outrageous. One of the kosher grocery stores had those containers of the spray oils already in stock with the OUP. They were charging $5.99 per can!!!

I like the sprays because you use less oil and it's better distributed on the food, but is there some kind of alternative that doesn't cost this much money? I would hope and pray that a different store will have them cheaper but just how much cheaper can they go.