Food Lion Returns – Why?

Food LionFood Lion left our area a few years ago — and now is back? Good news or bad news?

I for one wish they hadn’t – come back that is.  So for me, it’s bad news.  I would have preferred any other store in that location.  They had their issues before and they have them now.   Their lure is low prices — but at what cost?  Annoying customers?

Last round, in approximately 1992 or ’93,  they left our area after the PrimeTime Live news reported a story about employee work issues (unpaid overtime being required, etc) and bleaching/remarking meat, seafood and pork as well as cleaning off the expiration dates on the dairy products – and so… who wasn’t glad to see them go?   If they’d stoop that low… what else would they do?   In this affluent area where the median income is over $100,000 per family, do we need any of that drama?   No, and  I believe that management made the smart decison to pack up and change store names to avoid the stigma of those allegations.  No one, at that time, that I knew  was ever going to touch any meat or seafood from a Food Lion again!   Food Lion even posted following that news report that some stores were reporting no meat sales at all.   So even if it wasn’t true in the store you shopped at, no one wanted to take that chance.  Ugly, ugly stuff – almost as ugly as the pink slime fiasco in the schools.  The decision was made to put in a “Bloom” store in our area, the upscale partner of the “Bottom Dollar” stores – both by the same owner/parent company as Food Lion.  These would then be the two new names the company would operate under in our area to avoid the uproar caused by that news report.  For the most part, it was a better shopping experience at Bloom, which had cleaner, remodeled stores, unobstructed aisles and a better overall grade of products.  The employees were nice, available and most helpful.  Some mistakes were made over the  almost 10 years they operated as a Bloom, but always dealt with professionally.

This round ~  different story all together.  And that has me wondering —  if this is the same parent company, was Bloom allowed to operate under different basic rules than Food Lion?  Or now that that have the name back are they going back to their old ways?

Specifically,  I wonder why they did it?  There is a new Walmart Superstore in the same shopping center, probably less than 500 ft. from this store, and also a Target Superstore in this same shopping center.  I would think those are two stores which would be in competition with Food Lion would have made them “reconsider”.   Obvious to a shopper and even with the competition right in front of their face,  they decided to change back to a Food Lion.  I know I still felt the stigma in the store when I visited it recently – and noticed that even all the employees have been changed.   Why do all the employees have to change when they “redo” stores —  wouldn’t that continuity help in the transition?  The new employees don’t know anyone who’s a regular, they don’t use any common sense when dealing with situations, and they never seem to have the “authority” to do anything about any issue that arises.

In case you are wondering, and I know you are… yes, I had a miserable experience at the “new” Food Lion in my area just the other day. It didn’t help that the heat was like 90 degrees outside and the humidity was close to it.  It didn’t help that it was at the end of my overheated work day that I was shopping either.  Heat, as you know stresses our bodies, and let’s just say that stress hit the breaking point on a issue at the Food Lion. It was so annoying to me that I will not be ever setting foot in that store again.

In the end, I made a complaint – not only verbally in the store that day,  but later online and by phone when the credit for the issue wasn’t posted till days after the charge for my groceries.  The manager to his credit, phoned me at home and later emailed me that he was sending me a gift card and a copy of the credit (because at that point I had no idea if they really even did it) as they never gave me a receipt for it.  But I am sorry – the tone of your store was obvious to me after my recent experience and I really will not ever be stepping foot in that particular store location again.

Please note: The opinions stated here are totally my own, from my own personal experiences at this store.

Stopping Waste in Our Home – Part 2

Wasting, wasting it’s been quite a few days talking about it.  So I don’t need to tell you, I feel waste should be avoided – by now you already are on that page.

Today I am going to tell you three real ways our family avoids wasting money.

Planning our spending:
It’s impossible in our house not to plan our spending, check out the best deals and then “layer” the deals.  What I mean by layering is to plan the purchase in a certain order where you can get a benefit from each layer.  Layering for us starts by deciding what we want to buy,  which can take time because we will want to compare value, costs and details.  We will want to know this particular product is one we really need or want before we move to the next step.  Once we do know ~ we go out to the internet to find sales on that particular make, model or brand.  We find and check out any coupons and or rebates and even print out the rebate forms.  We print the forms because not all vendors will have a link, note a rebate or even give you a hint there is one available ~ but if there is, we want to be able to take advantage of it.  Then we go to one of the sites that give back a percentage of the price, or points for your purchases. We will buy our item after we calculate if points or cash back is our best option.  Lastly, we pay for the items with a cash back credit card.  We use credit for ease of purchase, for the benefits the credit card provides, and for the cash back from using the card. (Note:  We have no annual fee cards  and we pay our credit card in full each month, and the cards give back $$ or points that can be changed into $$).

Finding new ways to cut costs:
Every month I try to find one more way to save.  Last month I ordered my prescription medicine from a Canadian pharmacy.  If you know me, you’d realize I didn’t do this lightly or without quite a considerable amount of thought.   With our income slashed to the bone, I just felt like I had to slash my prescription costs too.  So I first tried at my doctors’ office asking for a lower priced medicine.  When that didn’t work and my only options were the same medicine, or one that wasn’t asthma sparing – I had to stay with my old one.  The old one’s price is now  $128.40 for a 30 day supply (that’s over $4.00 each) – the Canadian pharmacy price is $1.21. Great right, but how do you chose one?  My in-laws currently use one they are happy with, so I went there, and took them up on their referral fee offer.  It gave my in-laws $25.00 off any $90 or more, and it gave me the same offer.  I wound up paying $0.916 per pill delivered for mine.  I chose non-generic pills because of my allergies, but generic would have been even less!  You are reading this correctly… I paid $50.00 less for 3 month supply, than I would have had to pay for a 1 month supply at the local Walmart Pharmacy.  So on my regular Rx, brand name pills, with the lower price, and the referral discount – I paid 72% less for my medicine.  I should have done this sooner!

Avoiding Debt:
Another of our ways to stop wasting our money has been to not carry any debt. I know that’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone.  When we purchased our third home – we paid cash for it.  We moved into a smaller place on a smaller piece of land, and a house that needed work.  But it meant no mortgage – and it also meant that my husband could now work anywhere and pay our bills because they were now that “reasonable”.   We just felt that any interest we had to pay to own or have anything wasn’t something we wanted to do.  We preferred to save for what we needed or wanted. Not having debt is very freeing.  And …all those dollars we would have paid?  We saved them by not having to spend them on interest.  Thousands and thousands on mortgage interest, thousands and thousands by not keeping a credit card balance, and we saved thousands and thousands by not having car payments, etc.

Others in the Waste Series
Stopping Waste in Our Home Part 1 ~ Click here‎
The Goverment Wastes Your Tax Dollars  ~ Click here
Stop Wasting Your Money ~ Click here

Stopping Waste in Our Home

Waste is something I try to avoid at all costs.  I guess we all have our own unique and sometimes quirky ways to deal with it.  Today I am going to tell you a few of the ways we stopped wasting material in our home over the years, laughing allowed.

First and foremost – we try not to waste natural resources and recycle everything we can.  Lots of times that means a quick wash and then into the recycle bin.  At our house we have a recycle bin the size of our trash bin – and most weeks it’s fuller than the actual garbage.   I would say about of 75% is either recycled or fed to the wild animals who live with us on our 5 heavily wooded acres.

We reuse jars for things like homemade jellies and jams, and other canning.  The Ball® canning jar lids fit the quart mayonnaise jars perfectly.  We store nails, screws, buttons, anything small and in need of some organization so that there isn’t a drawer full of junk.  The huge jars we use as sort of a greenhouse when planting seedlings outside. They protect them from light frost and animals as well as storing heat right around the plant itself.  And as our last example, we use them for materials that need a container they cannot penetrate. Think of this as just a small jar of paint from the gallon for touch-ups, or some stain where you don’t need the entire container.  Or if you need to transport a small amount of anything to another location – glass is great for that.

We also recycle all our plastic containers, paper, newspapers, foil, used oil, wood, etc. and I hope you do too!  But do you actually reuse your Dixie® type paper plates.  Well, we do.  Anything that doesn’t really compromise the plate, we dust off the crumbs and pile them up to use again.  There’s also nothing wrong I understand with hanging up your teabags to dry and then reusing them either.  Sometimes you do have to use more than one “recycled bag” though to get a good cup of tea!

More on waste tomorrow, but I’ll leave with some things you might not think are reuseable or recycleable, but are!  How about metal hangers, dentures (for the precious metals they contain), cell phones,  phone books, hair, golf balls, bicycles, trophies, old computer parts, floppy disks, christmas lights, and keys.

Others in the Waste Series

Stopping Waste in Our Home Part 2 ~ Click here‎
The Goverment Wastes Your Tax Dollars ~ Click here
Stop Wasting Your Money ~ Click here

Stop Wasting Your Money

As I said yesterday, wasting money bothers me.   But truthfully, any waste bothers me.  Wasting natural resourses, money, time, anything — because I view waste as unnecessary to living happily and healthily on this earth.  It always saddens me when I see waste ~~~ any type of waste.

Since we all view waste differently we will each approach ” doing  away with it” in our own way ~~ but in this economy not doing it ….  just doesn’t make sense.  So today I am sharing some ways that you might stop wasting your money, get off the spending roller coaster and get your expenses to more reasonable level .  A level that  might allow you not only to live better overall but also might put you on the right path to accomplishing your financial goals.

First, make up you mind to cut your costs.    That’s step one towards ending the waste.  It’s going to benefit you. You can’t do it unless you make up your mind that it’s something you really want.  In this economy with rising prices, bleak job prospects and the reality of inflation – you need to stop wasting your money now!

Second, decide what is most important to YOU.  That’s right, figure out what you really want out of your life, what you want for your children, and where you want your life to end up.  For some it might mean a home, college savings, or a new car, for others the reality is that life without debt and with a healthy emergency account would be a Godsend. Each of us is in a different place, and our goals are different. You need to know yours!

Third, start cutting.  There are usually things in every life that can be cut or shaved down to cost less.  Here are some of the things that come to mind.

  • Paid Subscriptions – Can you get that same information online and cut out the cost of those magazine subscriptions?  If you cannot cut all of them, can you cut most of them?  Just write cancel on your next invoice and be done with it.
  • Cable Subscriptions/Special Channels/Movie Packages – Do you have one or more of the ones that you pay extra dollars each month for that you really aren’t using to its full advantage.  If you find you don’t need or use it, eliminate it.
  • Trash Collection – If you pay for it, can you find a less expensive hauler?
  • Newspaper – Can you get the same information online for free?
  • Utility Bills – Can you figure out a way to save hot water, water in general, or electricity?  Look around your house yourself, or get a free energy audit.  Many utility companies offer free energy audits to homeowners.  Everyone can save some energy and therefore some dollars with utilities.  Maybe it just means filling your dishwasher full before running it, turning down your hot water heater a few degrees, or getting it an insulation cover.   Look into resealing your window or doors, using a programmable thermostat to save energy by lowering the heat or air conditioning while no one is home or hanging out your clothes instead of using the dryer.  Maybe you could plan on making 2 meals at one time, so you only have to reheat the second (in the microwave!), or baking twice the amount and freezing the items to have on hand.  Read more “Stop Wasting Your Money”

Cybercrime – Was PT Barnum Right?

Cybercrime is rampant – but was P.T. Barnum right when he reputedly said there was a sucker born every minute?  I see examples of attempts at tricking people out of their information and merchandise cross my desk and screen every day.  These cyber criminals are crafty and tricky.  You get to really believe that they are whom they say they are – and comply with their requests.   Only to ~  a few minutes later realize it was a trick.  Then you scramble to try and cut your losses, if at all possible.

I have inner radar for such things – and am thankful for it, not everyone does.  I know that while I may have missed one or two opportunities in my lifetime, I am sure that I have saved myself from thousands.  Thousands you say…. and yes, I mean thousands.   Each and every day in my email or by phone, there are at least 10 different scam attempts.  For me erring on the side of caution is much better than the alternative. Listen or read very carefully – there is usually a tip-off in their communication.

Read more “Cybercrime – Was PT Barnum Right?”