Thursday, September 27, 2012

Small service, big charge

 Welcome to this week's Frugal Follies Frugal Tip!

The modern grocery store produce section is full of conveniences.  Prewashed lettuce in bags.  Precut vegetable sticks in trays.  Shredded cabbage, ready for cole slaw.

Recently I saw a photo of the most ridiculous version of this trend:

Yes, those are prepeeled bananas.

Now, most stores won't go to that extent, but let's look at an example that I faced today at Publix.

I needed to purchase some fresh pineapple to send into school - my middle daughter's special needs class does cooking on Fridays, and the teacher asks the parents to send in ingredients.  Until today the ingredients were already in my stockpile, but I didn't happen to have any fresh pineapple around.  So I picked some up on my weekly Publix trip.

When I got into the produce section, I found three choices: a whole Del Monte pineapple, a peeled, cored pineapple (pictured above), and cut-up pineapple chunks.

The Del Monte pineapple was $3.49.  The peeled, cored pineapple was also $3.49.  Since Publix will peel and core a pineapple for you free of charge, this makes sense.  And unless you need the leaves or the skin, say for an interesting fruit salad presentation, it makes sense to let them peel and core it for you.  That's an example of a service that is helpful - feel free to take advantage of these.

The cut-up pineapple chunks were $4.99 per pound.  To compare, the peeled, cored pineapple weighed 1.25 pounds, which would be $2.79/lb.  If there were 1.25 pounds of cut-up pineapple chunks, it would cost $6.24.

So you would be paying $2.75 extra just to have someone remove the pineapple's core and cut it into chunks.  That's crazy!

How much are you really paying them to cut up your pineapple?  When I went to cut up the pineapple, I timed myself.  It took 90 seconds for me to remove the core, cut the pineapple into chunks, put the pineapple back in the container, and wash the knife and cutting board.

So you could say that I earned $2.75 for 90 seconds of work.  If I could do nothing but cut pineapple, I would "earn" $5.50 every three minutes, or $110 per hour, or $880 per eight-hour day, or $4,400 for a 40-hour week, or $228,800 for a year.

That's a lot of money just to not have to do a little cutting!

For more frugal tips, please go to my Linkup Parties page and check out the bloggers listed under Frugal Tips Linkups.  There are lots of great ideas on each blog and I'm sure you'll find lots of wonderful tips!

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Jackie Patti September 28, 2012 at 12:42 AM  

My grocery sells red onions that are peeled, not sliced or anything, just the other onion skin removed. For $0.80 more a pound.

And you still have to cry!

lorialcorn2006 September 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM  

Great post! I am always disgusted when my daughter spend money on things pre cut they have a habit of buying pre cut peppers and onion mixes that cost a fortune because they are to lazy to actually cut a pepper. We are on such a tight budget that it make me mad when I see 12.00 worth of pre cut veggies in the fridge, I can understand buying this stuff for a special occasion but not the everyday

Jennifer October 2, 2012 at 8:19 AM  

Those bananas are funny! My guess is the skins ere looking yucky so they peeled them to sell them better. Except everyone knows that once a banana is peeled it gets yucky fast. Weird!

Meghan October 3, 2012 at 2:26 AM  

My grocery store sells a single potato wrapped in plastic wrap that's "ready for the microwave". Good grief! How hard is it to wash a potato and potato and put it in the microwave yourself? And who are the marketing geniuses who think of these products? I'd like their job.

Barb @ A Life in Balance October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM  

I did the same math this summer when buying fruit for a trip to a lake. I ended up going with pineapple slices which were cheap and saved me time. The kids loved them because they had something to hold onto like watermelon. Such an eye opener!

I would love for you to link this up at Frugal Thursday Rewind at A Life in Balance. (

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