The Topic: Smart Shoppers Go Salvaging
The Dish: What if I told you about a magical place where you can buy entire boxes of Luna bars for $1, snag fruit leather for a dime, and stock up on Cherrybrook Kitchen baking mixes for a couple bucks? Would you go there and buy up all of the amazing vegan products before my next trip? Because if so, forget it.
Just kidding! These wonderful places are discount and salvage grocery stores, hiding in a town near you. My particular secret shack is tucked away on a remote road in Southeast Missouri, and it's a must-stop every time I visit my hometown. Luckily, there are similar stores spread across the US, waiting for the savviest of shoppers to discover them. In my lexicon, they're referred to as "dented-can stores," mainly due to the dirt-cheap prices I pay for slight cosmetic flaws. Let's say you come across a slightly crushed box of your favorite cereal. Guess what? Take the cereal bag out of the box and voila, no more ugly dent. While some products may be a few weeks (or months) expired, you'd be surprised how amazing a Lemon Zest Luna Bar tastes when it costs 17¢ and you're hungry for something other than cheap rice and beans.
While this is completely anecdotal and not conclusive, the word is that many of these goldmine salvage stores are located in sketchy-ish neighborhoods, but don't let that scare you off—looks can be deceiving. My dive at home may appear abandoned, but once you're inside, there's shelves upon shelves of cheap goods to dig through. It's like a treasure hunt trying to find your favorite veg-friendly brands, and I've scored some great deals. My mom and I figured out the savings of one of our visits, and we managed to buy $150 of non-perishables for $40.
The Final Word: Many discount grocers don't advertise, so try asking around your community to see if there's a popular local spot. And of course, Google proves incredibly useful for perusing the underground rumblings of cheap consumers. Now go! I have a 50-cent dark chocolate bar to eat.