I love a bargain. I surely, truly do. My heart skipped a beat when I saw my banana-creme leather Coach bucket bag peeking out of a bin at Plato’s Closet over the summer for $50. I got a thrill last week when I visited the Bath and Body Works’ Semi-Annual Sale and got $200 worth of shower gel for $35. I live for the days when I get an email from J Crew saying that if I act fast-TODAY!- I can receive an additional 40% of everything in the Clearance pages (Cashmere HEAVEN!). I love expensive things, but I enjoy those luxuries sensibly. (I did shed more than a single tear when I returned those suede multi-colored Miu Miu heels a couple years back….sure, they retailed at $850, but the $199 that I paid was still enough to keep me awake for three nights.)
Luxury cotton, 850 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets? King size, $29. Once a year, new Asics running kicks to forestall the inevitable shin splints? $55. That fabulous Tory Burch sequin dress that has finally arrived just in time for NEXT year’s holiday parties? Well, not such a small sum on that one, but much less than the $700 retail tag at Neiman Marcus. I believe in quality, and not quantity, and being in love with the few things that I do own.
That said, I realized today that there are certain things that you should never buy off of a clearance rack. Lasik Surgery probably heads that list. I’m not sure that’s a service I’d be comfortable bargain shopping for. If his name is Jim-Bob and he’s wielding a laser scalpel around my cornea, I think I might pass, even if I have found a Buy One Eye, Get the Other Eye Half Off coupon. Same applies to vasectomies….(Get it? Buy One, Get One?)
Next up is Grape Nuts cereal. I am a big fan. I love it hot or cold, the crunch and nuttiness is pretty damn awesome. Toss a few blueberries in and WHAMMO! You’ve got a near perfect breakfast/snack/anytime you’re hungry food. Grape Nuts? Awesome. Generic, store brand, discounted Raisin Legumes? GROSS. They disintegrate when they come into contact with liquid and all you’re left with is a gritty, brown slurry that tastes like damp cardboard. In this case, pay full price. Unless you have a bathroom to wallpaper and you’ve forgotten the paste….
Other examples include birth control (sure, you saved $15 this month, but I really think that this is the type of product that has an expiration date for a reason….), Brazilian waxes (vagina jihad, anyone?), hair services (Honey, there is nothing Super about that Cut!) and Day Care (are you really willing to wager your children’s future for background checks and certifications?)
All of that brings me to today’s point. On Tuesday, I was in Safeway and I spied the Clearance section of the meat department. There, in all of it’s glory, was a 17 pound, free range turkey with a 75% off sticker emblazoned on the front left breast. In the simple math that even I’m capable of performing, that meant $8. Eight Dollars! For a free range turkey!
I was excited because the Old Man and I were alone this past Thanksgiving. We were alone, and I couldn’t justify spending an obnoxious sum on all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner for two. So we went to Famous Dave’s, a chain BBQ joint instead. They were the only restaurant open that night serving some semblance of a traditional Turkey-day meal. The meal was mediocre at best and it barely did the job of sating my appetite for all those things I love. So, when I saw this turkey, this beautiful turkey, going for a song, I tossed it in the basket and planned for New Years Dinner Thanksgiving Redux. The ‘sell-by’ date was the 31st, so I’d be able to cook it in plenty of time. For three days, I dreamed of that turkey. I looked forward to the giblet gravy. I planned on putting dried cranberries into the stuffing (dressing?) and eating the leftovers in a gluttony of sandwiches and potpies and casseroles and stews. I could see that bird and fairly taste it, steaming and golden brown on my table. I was excited.
But it was not to be so.
When I opened the plastic wrapping , out crept a fetid stench so vile I was worried for a second that my hangover was attempting a second coming. It wafted up and forced its way into my nasal cavity, burning the protective hairs and embedding itself in the mucosal lining. The Old Man looked at me, and I looked at him and he silently lifted the waste bin up to the level of the sink. Without a word, I dropped that 17 pound bird into the bin and he walked it right out to the complex dumpster; all dreams of a juicy bird with crispy skin dashed among the rocks of my stinginess. Even now, hours later, I’m mourning its loss. Writing to you about it rather than something more IMPORTANT.
Yes, friends, meat is expensive. Organically grown meat even more so. But even though I saved $30, I still wasted $8 and have nothing to show for it. It’s true, so true: You only cry once when you buy quality.
Blast and drat.
The turkey was bad.
Its smell destined for garbage,
And not my table.