Our city has four major grocery stores, Winn-Dixie, Harvey’s, Publix and Walmart. I refuse to step foot in to Walmart, so I alternate between the three other stores. I really like Publix because they will have uncommon items, but the meat prices there are usually out of our budget. Harvey’s has good prices on meats and cheese, but much of the store is processed foods. Winn-Dixie has been hit or miss. They have good sale items, but the quality of their products are not always good. This goes for store brand and national brand.
This past Saturday, I was preparing the meal plan for this week and discovered that we only had one pork roast and a package of chicken in the freezer, so I needed to stock up. I saw that WD had some of their meat buy one get one free, so I decided to go there to stock up a bit. One thing I learned a while ago about going to WD is the need to check out sell by dates, as perishables are on the shelfs well beyond the sell by date. (For example, the cream I saw this weekend with a sell by date of 27 April, at the front of the shelf, not pushed back and forgotten.)
Joshua and I went together with the kids and looked over the meats and decided to pick up some ground beef, beef roast and pork chops. The pork chops had the sell by date of the 25th of this month and I planned to make them yesterday, so I stuck them in the fridge (even in the bag they were put in at the store, in case they leaked).
Last night when I took them out to get them in a marinade, I knew they were bad, before I even took them out of the bag, I knew they were bad. I opened the package anyway, just to make sure it was not say some juice that had leaked out and started smelling. Nope, the pork chops were bad. When Joshua got home from work, he confirmed.
I was frustrated. It was dinner time and here my main course was bad. I was further frustrated by the fact that this is not the first time that something I purchased from WD went bad before the “sell by date”. Milk, cream and butter have all gone bad before the sell by date. (okay maybe the butter does not go bad, but it always tastes like refrigerator.) I know to keep away from them, unless I absolutely need them (and WD is the nearest store to us, so I will run and pick up only one of the item I need). This was the first time meat has gone bad.
I have never returned the food that did not last until the sell by date, mainly because the time and energy involved just did not seem worth it. However, last night, I called up the store and they said I could return it, but I needed to return it to the store I bought it from, so this required a trip to the other end of town, as we went to the store near our (wonderful!!!) farmers market. Oh and because I had tossed the receipt already, we got store credit.
Winn-Dixie was already the store I went to the least because of the other reasons mentioned, but I am taking it off my list for good. Grocery shopping is something I really enjoy doing, really, but I do not want to have to look at every package buy and wonder “how long will this last?” or “will this have a bad taste to it?”