Store Brand versus Name Brand…when Best Laid Plans Float Away

Recently I tried to shave my grocery bill by buying store brand cereals and other items. With cereals, I didn’t notice any difference in the consistency or taste. The store brand ice cream had a flat taste, however, so I continued to pony up the money for name brand. Most store brands are no-frills. You get the same quality and ingredients, but you lose the pretty packaging and designs, especially with paper products. As for tissues…well, my nose didn’t notice any difference. I was able to get manila envelopes at the dollar store for a fifth of what I’d pay in a stationary store. For medications, I’ve stayed with the name brand Allegra because there’s something reassuring about the orange color of the pill. Otherwise, the generic medicines work just as well.

Sometimes, when the store’s offering a great sale and a coupon, I find it cheaper to stick with name brands. At the Giant last week, I bought a box of Eggo Waffles for seventy-five cents. Because I had a decent coupon, I got two Venus disposable razor packs for the price of one. Allegra’s always on sale, and with a generous coupon, too. Today, I found HP paper on clearance, and got two packs for $5.00 each. I recommend sticking with HP or other name brand computer paper and ink because the wrong paper / ink can damage or jam your printer.

Why do I go through all this trouble to save money? Because I have Walter Mitty dreams of getting my bedroom redone. Perhaps I want to save the money for jewelry or a trip. Maybe I saw a Coach purse with my name on it. So the question is, did I succeed in saving money at the supermarket? So far, no.

This past shopping expedition was a case of best laid plans floating away…literally. When I walked into the Giant, a glittery Mylar balloon with bows blocked my passage. I tried running the other way and bumped into a Mylar planter. Going sideways, I headed straight into a Mylar heart with butterflies – all Mother’s Day balloons and pricey ones at that.

“Why?” I gazed at the balloons helplessly. “I’m not a mother. I don’t have any children.”

“Of course, you do.” The balloons smiled at me. “You’ve got 68 balloons and you’ve been a great mother to them.”

So the glittery balloon with the bows went home with me. Cost: nine dollars. What’s more, I drove home with the AC on because I didn’t want the balloon to overheat. I remember shaking my head, thinking I was the first person on this planet to use air conditioning for a balloon’s comfort. But this one is a real beauty and well worth it.

Mylar balloons always find their way into Barbara Custer's zombie fiction.

I couldn’t resist tempting Barbara!

This got me to contemplating my character Alexis of Steel Rose and her buying habits. If Alexis could jump out of the pages, she’d brain me for spending nine dollars on a balloon. She and I make the same salary, but she takes a plethora of expensive medicines that insurance doesn’t cover well. She’s got to stick with store brand items so she can pay for her treatment, although in a weak moment, she might indulge in a CD. In the sequel, When Blood Reigns, things are getting ugly fast. Because of the zombie invasions, traditional mail and FedEx have ceased services to Philadelphia.

Because of this a zombie invasion may preclude balloon offerings at any supermarket. Fewer stores would remain open, if any, and soldiers would police the aisles for walking dead. In Alexis’ world, I’d buy whatever brands I could get and thank God I made it to the store alive. I’d hope I had plenty of food at home because shopping might mean a longer drive. The balloon with the bows might be available through the black market, so I’d better prepare to spend twenty dollars.

This is assuming I can get to the supermarket and back unharmed.

Zombies aren’t choosy where they feed, especially if they’re hungry. A bunch of them might gang up on my car while I’m heading to the store. My option? Shop at a local deli or learn to use a gun. I tried picturing myself shooting zombies so I could get to a supermarket. Yeah, it could happen. You always find a way when you want something badly. An image formed in my mind of me staring at the gun, and thinking, good grief, I’m the first person in creation who shot zombies so she could buy a balloon.

So, do you find buying store brands have saved you money? How would a zombie invasion affect your hobbies and shopping habits? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

How would this zombie affect Barbara Custer's purchase of Mylar balloons?

How would this monster affect Balloon Lady’s shopping habits?

 

About Barbara Custer

Author of: Twilight Healer Steel Rose Life Raft: Earth City of Brotherly Death Close Liaisons Infinite Sight When Blood Reigns Infinite Sight Publisher / Editor of Night to Dawn Books & Magazine
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5 Comments

  1. Joseph J. Patchen

    Marvelous article. What I find is that certain generic brands in certain stores are head and shoulders above others as well as the named brands. Luckily we have a cluster of discount shops here and the whole shopping thing has become a bit of a science. How would zombies affect my hobbies? Well, since I am a great lover of used book stores, besides the general travel, I would hope they wouldn’t stake out the bookstores thinking my brain would be beefier. I’ll just write it “Laughing out loud.”

    • Where I live, the deals and good brand stuff are spread out, so I have the consider the cost of gas. Alas, the zombies would head for the supermarkets and other malls, so I’d better make peace with guns when the apocalypse happens. Your used bookstore should be okay unless it’s staked in the middle of a mall – Barbara of the Balloons

      • Joseph J. Patchen

        My location is where I am lucky and the book store I frequent the most is not only a used book store but tucked in a quiet area. I still should carry the gun though.

  2. I’m glad I bought that balloon, too. Right now it’s standing off by itself away from the other balloon trees and lights up my living room. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Great article, Barbara! I enjoyed reading your take on name vs store brands. You’re right that sometimes the store brand isn’t as good, and often it’s ice cream. Sometimes I’ll buy mayo and other condiments in generic version and they’re pretty good. I’m glad you bought that balloon; it sounds like a beautiful one to add to your collection. The other balloons were right; you deserve it and any others you buy. As for the zombie invasion, I’d try to fight them the best I could or give them the evil eye (if there is such a thing). Nothing would stop me from shopping ’til I drop.

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