Whole Foods It Ain’t

Look what I found in my knapsack pocket!

$40 loaded on this gift card

I have this tendency to totally forget about Gift Cards. This one has been in my possession since last May. I also found Gift Cards in the same pocket for Chapters and Costa Blanca. What am I doing holding on to free money??!!

Finding the Central Gift Card was perfect timing in regards to the Great Grocery Challenge for May. It’s like someone said, “Here’s $40! Happy spending!”

I really do enjoy grocery shopping at new locales (a favourite past-time when in the States, for sure!). Of course, my top destination, bar none, would have to be Whole Foods. How sad that I can count on one hand the number of forays I have made to this grocery paradise (and one of them ended up an aborted attempt):

Yesterday, then, I headed over to Central Fresh Market. This place is a local institution. It’s as much renowned for its history as it is for bargains. Last time I was there was a few years ago, and I have vague memories from childhood of a dungy, dark hole-in-the-wall.

first impression! wow! clean and neat appearance, renovated since i last remember

I arrived at Central with no set agenda in terms of purchases to make. I did know that produce was not high on my list; I’m still pretty stocked from last week!

First impression once inside…what happened to that scuzzy, 1960s era industrial facility??! This fruit & veg section looks half-decent!

spotless: i peered into corners and into displays...everything was tidy and clean

I decided to play a Price Is Right-style Grocery Game: how close could I come to spending $40, exactly? And how many specials could I snap up?

i'll take one of these...(excellent price)

Another positive found in the Bakery section:

i remember "great canadian bagels" from their sponsorship at running events; and check out those unique flavours!

More neatly stacked goods:

this is the "weekly specials" aisle

Score one for Central over Valumart AND Vincenzo’s:

now i know where the best selection of kefir is in town!

a treat for him, on sale...

...and a super price on apples, for her!

I guesstimated my total expenditure, and hit the check out:

yes, the cashier gave me a weird look when i snapped a photo of the tally; i explained it was for my blog. she was cool with that.

Off by $10! At least I was under! Back through the store went I…

different cashier. she was younger and entirely unfazed by "it's for my blog!"

$5.61 over! Could have put back the Palmolive, but I’ll need dish soap at some point, anyway.

Here’s what $40 will get you at Central:

first time through the check-out...

second time through the check out!

Not bad at all.

So, not only were the prices reasonable, the store was organized and clean, and the selection included items I don’t see at my usual store. The store is really quite small, so their variety in stock is really quite impressive. It’s nothing to drool over (ahem, what happens upon entering Whole Foods) but it wasn’t the make-your-skin-crawl experience I anticipated.

While I’m still hoping and praying that Whole Foods finds its way to Waterloo (we’re the home of the Blackberry! isn’t that a drawing card?!), it was fun to explore a new-to-me store. And even more fun to get free groceries!

How are you at using up Gift Cards? I need to use mine asap or they sit around forever!

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  • Dorry  On May 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Billy would be really excited about those Ritz crackers! This post reminded me that Billy and I have several gift cards we haven’t used from wedding gifts last fall. Time to get shopping!

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 13, 2011 at 5:13 am

      yes, yes! you could shop to celebrate your engagement anniversary! or eight/nine-months-married! šŸ™‚

  • Gina Unger  On May 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Glad you had a sparkling, clean experience – what a nice surprise! Dingy grocery stores don’t entice me either!
    I love gift cards, but sometimes they sit in my wallet for much too long. I had a gift card for Home Depot that I would never remember I had until after checking out – so the last time, I just went back into the store, returned my items and bought them back on the gift card -just to use it up! šŸ™‚ I don’t like accumulating extra cards in my wallet for a long period of time.
    I’ve done that “Price is Right” grocery guess many a time… but for $250 of groceries not $40! (once or twice a month at Superstore you receive a $25 gift certificate if you spend $250.)

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      Great comments, g! Thanks for sharing! Haha, I have done that soooo many times – get home and – ack! I had a gift card! Good for you for going back and doing the return/repurchase. I’m going to remember that! I can imagine that with a family of five, it’s not *that* hard to hit 250$! I thought you were going to say 250$ of cereal! šŸ™‚ (Price is right is still the best game show ev-ah!)

  • Johanna B  On May 12, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I dearly love Whole Foods. The closest one is about a 90 minute drive each way and since I don’t drive I don’t get to go there very often. Not necessarily a bad thing because I don’t spend as much money when I shop at my local stores. I also dearly love shopping with gift cards. It’s like found money and I do splurge when using them.

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 12, 2011 at 11:46 am

      That’s what I figure, too – might as well get some treats with a GC, items you normally would not purchase…although yesterday I did go more for staples.
      If we were closer, I would gladly drive us to WF any time you wished!!! My closest is 60 min away-i will try to go one day this summer as a “vacation,” perhaps!

  • Kristie  On May 12, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I always forget about gift cards too. I just found a half used gift card for The Bay that was probably two years old the other day while buying jewellery so I basically got it for half the price. Sweet!

    I hardly ever go to Central anymore but I used to go to KCI so I was in there pretty often several years back. They’ve cleaned up the place quite nicely! And what a kefir selection, looks like I might need to head over there soon!

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 12, 2011 at 11:44 am

      Thanks for your comment, kristie!
      I definitely recommend a return trip to central. Cool that you went to KCI! I bet central does a booming business with the students; I was there around noon, and with a whoosh, there was a sudden rush of high schoolers in there getting sub sandwiches!
      Thank goodness gift cards do not expire, eh!

  • Tiff  On May 12, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I use mine gift cards pretty quickly because I’m scared I will lose them. Although, finding old ones is pretty fun… šŸ™‚

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

      Thanks for commenting, tiff!
      I don’t know what’s more fun…finding actual cash you didn’t know you had or finding a GC!!! Glad I’m not the only one with a short gift card memory!

  • Holly  On May 12, 2011 at 9:12 am

    We usually use gift cards right away — because I also will forget about them and sometimes lose them!

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