Sometimes, I find that my idea of fun would drive most people crazy.
We’re bargain hunters. I get excited about it. It’s easy here. Shopping in a town where everything is basically on one single street – everything on the way to everything else – you’re going to pass each store anyway. Doesn’t take going out of your way, just the will to get out of the car.
We have two hardware stores. Aubuchon and Ace. One is on the way to the other, so we never buy anything without stopping at both. I recently saved $40 on an item by just being willing to pull over and check the price in both stores. Usually it’s just a few bucks, but I have some fun in the bargain.
In the grocery arena, Saranac Lake has three supermarkets. Beginning downtown, we first have the “old” Grand Union on Church Street, with the pothole parking lot. It’s kind of a dump, but I like it. We don’t go there though. On your way out of town, you’ll find the “new” Grand Union, and Aldi across the street.
We do most of our shopping at Aldi. Warehouse-like, cash-only, no bags. Low overhead. Clean as a whistle. I mean, spotless. I was dubious, but then I discovered that Aldi has contracted with some excellent suppliers to provide their brands. The frozen vegetables are the best I have ever had. The fancy crackers are better than the Elves’ brand, and are $1.39 rather than $3.99. The peanut butter is quite good. The spaghetti sauce is better than most. Much better. There are a few bombs – the soup is salty and I don’t like most of frozen meat – but we don’t buy that.
I like Aldi. I especially like cutting our grocery bill in half. However, they have what they have and that’s it. It’s a German company, and true to the legend – they are most concerned with efficiency. You ain’t gonna get any special attention here, Precious. Box your own. In short, you’re welcome to buy what’s there – cash only – and if you don’t like it, too bad. And as a bonus, you’ll get spotless, tidy restrooms.
We used to shop at the “new” Grand Union. It’s okay, I guess. It’s a little shabby, getting to the point where broken things don’t get fixed. It seems a little dirty to me, but maybe that’s because I know the restroom is disgusting. Really disgusting. Gas station disgusting. (I know I have a fixation, but I figure, if you can’t be bothered to keep the restroom decent, you’re probably cutting corners elsewhere.) We used to go to the new GU mostly to buy water, or some other non-Aldi item. But then in another “why don’t we check in here” jaunt, we discovered that a few steps away in the dollar store, they have gallons of water for a dollar.
We do the same when we go to Plattsburgh for clothing, coffee makers, or whatever. It’s fun for me – I like to investigate all options before actually buying something. The modern-day equivalent of The Hunt, perhaps. Take my new coffee maker, for instance. Four stores before I decided on one and found a price I liked that matched the features I wanted. $22 for a five-cup, programmable model with a metal pot. Exactly what I wanted. Small, features, metal pot. Out of stock.
So we went out of our way to pull off the highway while on a trip, and bought it buy it two-hundred miles downstate.
Sometimes, it’s about the hunt.