Tuesday, May 12, 2009

El Cheapo: The King of Cheap and Frugality

Maybe it because we were poor Mexicans when I was a kid, but I have made a kind of profession out of bargain hunting. If it wasn't on sale, or a Goodwill bargain, I would pass it up.
Of course, I paid a price in the long run, with stuff collapsing, breaking, tearing, fading, or falling apart afterwards. But in the process I have made and continue to make a few good deals, of which I take pride. I have been frequenting restaurants that feature 50% off of a second meal or even a second entree free! Hijole, how can you beat that?
Lately, since my retirement, I have taken up the duties of shopping for groceries. I'm not a big fan of coupons and that kind of stuff, but I do look at the weekly newspaper ads for specials.
About two years ago I discovered the 99 Cents store and have been a loyal fan ever since. I go twice a week since their stuff is always changing and get some good buys on veggies and sundry items. Another fruitful discovery has been Grocery Outlet, which has rotating bargains on onions, fuji apples, avocados, tortillas, cheese, lunch meats and even wine!
Years ago, when I was a bohemian, my college buddies and I who usually drank cheapo wine at 99 cents a gallon, would splurge on something like "Blue Nun", nothing but class. After the military, I became a connoisseur of German Wines, especially Liebfraumilch and once found an incredible bargain at Long's ("long" known for its fine wines), for 99 cents a bottle! It was the best stuff I ever tasted! I even talked my wife into letting me buy about 6 cases, to stock up for rough times ahead. Should have bought more but who could have guessed then that times would get this damned rough?
On another occasion, when I lived in Oakland about 1968, a fellow employee gave me a bottle of Burgundy that he had purchased from an old Italian winemaker in Hayward, California and when I sipped it, I could not believe the taste!! I'm not a big fan of red wine, and drank the stuff only when I wanted to get drunk. But this stuff, this stuff, was unbelievable. After getting the address, my wife and I drove to the winery on the side of a hill overlooking Oakland.
An old man greeted us, and took us into his winery. Nothing fancy, just the basics. He asked if we wanted to sample wines, and we said yes. Finally, we came to his Burgundy. He said it had been in fermenting in barrels for about 10 years and now in bottles for another 10 years, and was the last of the batch. I pretended I knew nothing about the wine. His going-out-of-business price was $5.00 a gallon! He was retiring, had saved enough of his wines to last him for the remainder of his life, and he was selling all the rest.
I promptly purchased $75.00 worth and lamented the day I took the last sip from the last bottle. That was big-time cash in those days, too. Ah, but all good things must come to an end. Later, while casually leafing through a "Who's Who in American Wine Making" book, you won't believe it...there in fine print... was the name of this litlle old Italian winemaker! (can't remember his name so don't ask)
Anyway, the point of all this is that the other day I did it again!! Damn, there at the Grocery Outlet, were bottles of Blue Nun, in a keen blue bottle, for $3.99 each! I quickly bought 6 and when I went to the checkout, the lady there informed that my purchase of 6 bottles of wine qualified me for a special wine bag, that when returned for another purchase of any 6 wines, would get me a $3.00 discount. Guess what? I went back again.
PS: If anyone from Grocery Outlet reads this, this is an unpaid Ad for your business so I would appreciate another $3.00 discount the next time I make a purchase.


#167 Dad said...

Living on a teacher's salary, the wife and I are always on the lookout for deals. Discount booze is a double bonus. Wish we had Grocery Outlet here in Arizona...

Kelly said...

Hi Rick,

I work for Grocery Outlet, and I would like to send you some $3 off coupons. All we need is your mailing address.

And #167 Dad, we have two Grocery Outlets in Arizona, one in Phoenix and one in Tucson. www.groceryoutlet.com for locations.

Glad you enjoyed the wine! Thanks for posting.

Rick Rivers said...

Wow, Kelly I wuz jus jokin' bout the coupons, but you know me, I'll take em'! Will e-mail you an address.