I never imagine there will come a day when Americans make a beeline for grocery auctions (yes, taking a number and bidding for dry and frozen food) but this idea is getting popular. There are already grocery auctions held in at least nine states from Oklahoma to New York and more are on the way!
This economic crisis has indeed changed consumer behavior. Brandishing coupons or food stamps and lowering our standards by using store brands are no longer embarrassing or a sign of frugality.
To stretch our budget to the max, coupons are passe, think grocery auctions instead. Deep discounts (as much as 50%) are available so long as you don't mind leftovers and expired or damaged products.
Though the quality and flavor may decline, the food are technically safe to eat. There is no prohibition from the Food and Drug Administration on the sale of food past its sell-by date. However, we should avoid merchandise well past expiration or severely damaged.
Also, exercise restraint during bidding as the excitment can cause you to overpay. Being savvy about unit prices in supermarkets grocery auctions is necessary to save money.
Back when I was in college, I had a part time job in a grocery and we threw away perfectly edible food that was only a day past their use-by date. Considering there are more than a billion people living in abject poverty and malnourished because of a food crisis, that is really wasteful.
It is not just about money, dumping edible food is a sin when it is a life and death matter for children in Africa. Nevertheless, grocery auctions gives me hope that Americans are no longer taking things for granted.
Though my family is suffering in this recession (like many Americans), I think all the hardships are worth it if we can emerge as a thrifty people and be more caring towards the less fortunate and our environment.
I am looking forward to more grocery auctions for products that are going to end up in the dumpster. It is a win-win solution, the store makes some money and people get discounted food.
What do you guys think?