Monday, February 22, 2010

Bargains Scarce in High Poverty Areas

It's a well-known phenomenon, driven by market savvy (and corporate greed), that areas of high poverty have the least access to low prices for necessary goods, including food. More often than not the places where the deals are require more than mere foot travel. In some cases, not even public transportation goes to these places. And when it does, there's still the problem of being able to carry back enough of sale-priced goods to justify paying the bus fare.

In essence, the people of lowest income, those with the least choices, are a trapped market. (Whatever would corporations do without us? Maintaining an underclass appears essential to the single bottom line: profit.)

It's also the case that unless you've a car, you can't properly capitalize on bulk deals.

All of which further limits choice for people who are already desperate.

Previously I'd written about how our food bank culture limits choice. One example I gave was the discontinued practice of local grocers to sell day-old bread; hence, their reducing the choices for bread from three to two for people of low income: either go to the food bank, or go without.

In response to that post, I received an offer from a friend of Daphne's.

Teri wrote that she regularly gets day-old bread at a Cobble Hill bakery that produces fantastic organic, multi-grain breads. The day-olds usually sell for $0.50 each, but sometimes even for less.

I can't get to Cobble Hill, of course, but Teri can and that's what she was writing about. She said that when she goes to buy bread for herself, she'd be happy to pick up some loaves for me too. She'd put them in the freezer, then next time she's in Duncan, drop them off.

Now that's a choice I prefer than the two I'd been left with.

Teri contacted me a few days later to say she'd picked up TWENTY loaves of bread, some for herself, some for others and as many as eight for me, subject to room in my freezer. The price: $0.25 per loaf.

Just got my first delivery: six loaves of wholesome bread for a total cost of $1.50. I tried to give Teri $1.50 more, to help pay for the gas expense in getting to my place, but she wouldn't accept it.


Melissa said...

wow thats really cheap bread!

Kim said...

Wow, that's great! One trick I use is to ask the bakery people at the grocery store if they will sell me frozen preformed dough. Not nearly as good a deal at $6.00 for 5 loaves and it's white bread, but it does smell good when you cook it!

Chrystal Ocean said...

Yup, Melissa, I couldn't believe it, but I do believe Teri. When I offered to pay more, to contribute toward her gas expense, she assured me she'd charge me more if the bread was higher in price. But this time it wasn't. I do recall that day-old bread, muffins, etc. at grocery stores were always marked down considerably, usually more than 50% off the regular price.

Chrystal Ocean said...

Smart trick, Kim!

Me, I've sworn off white bread. It's tough enough to get the fibre I need without my compounding the problem by filling myself up with the doughy white stuff. I don't even like it anymore, it's been that long since I've eaten it.

penlan said...

Wow! The best bread at an unbelievable low price!! So glad to hear of this.