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May 18, 2011

Protips from a Grocery Store Cashier

Redditor lenniebaby offers tips on how to work you local grocery store.

If the sandwich meat is prepackaged (in that vacuum sealed plastic thing), don't buy it. Its cheaper, but thats because unsanitary things happens in the back deli. Buy from those people that cut slices off a big hunk of meat.

Don't put mixed-priced things in one bag. The main offenders are sweet peppers - if green peppers are $0.99/lb, orange peppers are $1.99/lb and you put them in the same bag, I'm charging you $1.99/lb for the whole thing.

If things are lying on those slanty flat surfaces (lettuce for example), take the stuff thats near the back. Rotating stock means putting old produce at the front so it sells faster. Plus everyone touches it.

Get to know the produce guy. If he likes you, then when he sees you shopping for grapes he'll say "what are you doing?", tell you that the grapes are bad, go to the back room and cut you off the grapes from the newest shipment.

Don't buy things out of season. It's more expensive, has been in a truck from California for days, and is pumped with preservatives/was picked green. Tastes nothing like the real thing.

If you're buying light stuff (chili peppers, mushrooms) and want to be cheap, don't bother putting them in plastic bags. Four chillies in a bag = $0.85; four chillies carried in your hand and put on the scale bag-free=$0.30. For someone who buys $0.99/lb apples instead of $1.49/lb apples, this is a much better strategy for saving money without compromising quality.

Bring your own bags. This should be obvious.

Buy onions in the biggest quantities you can eat before they go bad. If you're buying onions once a week, you're doing it wrong. They keep for months, are used in pretty much every dish, and unlike most other fruits/vegetables you're saving a ton of money when you buy them in bulk. A 10lb bag of onions is $5.99, while a 5lb is $3.99.

Similarly, never buy those "cuts" of watermelons that are priced by weight. I've stopped so many people from buying $4 cuts of watermelons (about 1/4 of the melon) when they could buy the entire thing for $6.

Stop buying things out of season, seriously.

Feel free to look through those little pre-packaged plastic containers of berries and pick out the ones that are bad. Replace them with fresh berries from surrounding containers. Nobody's going to stop you.

Start underestimating how much a pound really is. At $5.99/lb, a few handfuls of cherries are gonna cost you $10. Nobody ever expects this. Wait until the season picks up and the stuff gets cheaper, or buy less.

Bananas are the cheapest fruits. One banana costs, on average, $0.25. Remember this next time you're in a cafeteria or some other lunch-serving place that sells bananas for $0.99 each.

Try to buy baskets of stuff instead of paying for each one separately. One kiwi is $0.33, a basket of roughly 30 kiwis is $2.99. Look through the basket and take out soft kiwis, replace them with better ones from other baskets, profit.

Don't buy asparagus unless they're displayed in water basins. The bottoms of asparagus should be submerged in water, they'll be fresher for longer. Your pee, however, will smell either way.

Baby carrots are overpriced. All they are are cut up, peeled carrots in a plastic bag. For the same price, you can buy twice the amount of normal carrots, peel and cut them up yourself.

For the love of God, grapefruits taste terrible in July. Learn the seasons and buy season-appropriate produce.

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