Monday, June 30, 2008

Sour Milk: Purchase Misses Target

L likes to buy the best sustenance possible. Gouda from Holland is the tops in cheese according to L. To avoid unnecessary additives L favors milk.

The chocolate must be dark chocolate.

L values quality.

I will avoid the gruesome details of how Borden's gallon of Elsie's Finest, bought at a Super Target on June 27 with a sell-by date of July 2 was, on the very day of purchase, so foul it ruined a meal and forced me to gag on homemade hot cocoa. (Oh, the humanity!)

Suffice it to say that $5.39 doesn't go as far at Target as it used to.

The answer? I get into my Diesel and return to the scene of the crime. En route, I am reminded that the highly-detailed Mercedes literature on the safety features of the car lied about the passenger seat weight sensor's 75-pound setting, as I am beeped at for the affront of putting a jug of milk on the passenger seat while driving a few blocks. The red blur you may see is the seatbelt warning light, a feature which according to the pre-sales literature is supposed to be engaged in the Mercedes E320-CDI when the weight sensor in the passenger seat is triggered, which in turn is described as occurring when it senses 75 pounds of pressure. You are supposed to be able to put your milk on the seat without harassment.

After waiting several minutes to reach the front of the customer service queue to return the milk, I ask Redbeard: "It isn't s'posed to come pre-spoiled, is it?" He says he hopes not, and refunds me via a credit to my American Express Blue card.

I then drive to Whole Foods, by a 365-brand milk gallon for $3.99, and charge that to my American Express Blue. The interesting thing is that I think Target is considered a superstore and only to qualify for the 1.5% cash rebate, whereas Whole Foods is a grocery store, is on AmEx' list of "everyday shopping" locations (like fuel stations), and thus nets ne 5% cash back.

The upshot?

I lose 8¢ in cash back on a $5.39 Target credit, gain 20¢ cash back on a Whole Foods charge, for a net 12¢ cash back atop the $1.40 savings on the milk itself (there's no sales tax on this purchase where I live). Excluding the mileage and time to pull this off -- owing entirely to Borden's transportation or Target's handling of the milk -- I note to myself that the gallon of milk has an effective price that's $1.52 cheaper at Whole Foods.

Later I'll have to post on the credit card reward system game. For now, I'll just keep buying milk at Whole Foods, where food is a core mission and not a lure in the hope you will buy an electronic appliance. Besides, the Whole Foods bakery offers the yummy "Seeduction", and many breads worth making into sandwiches.

And L will be going to Whole Foods anyway.

(For those of you concerned with the poor quality of the photographs accompanying this post, I sympathize: they were taken with a v.1.0 iPhone, whose shutter speed is timed to match the pace of an arthritic turtle and whose motion stabilization simply does not exist. I would suggest a tripod for use with this camera, but the iPhone has no tripod attachment. Perhaps some enterprising person will build a tripod with an iPod Universal Connector so iPhone users can occasionally get a non-blurry picture without first embedding the phone in hardening cement, which has to be bad for the button. The tripod could also, you know, have integrated speakers and a solar recharging feature for backpackers breaking for lunch. Just an idea.)

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