03 December, 2008


I'm hardly what you'd call a brand snob, but I'll admit there are some grocery items that I will not buy in the house brands.

Take sugar, for example. I cannot tell any difference between the sugar costing $1.59 and the one costing 89c. The ingredients are, well, sugar. It's not like the cheaper one has matchsticks and sand in it. (Or melamine.) So I buy the cheaper one. Same goes for milk, rice, frozen vegetables, basically anything that doesn't require a complicated recipe to create it.

There are also a handful of things that I'm happy to compromise on. I don't use margarine much, so I just buy the cheapest one (and my kids have never complained). I like the cheap garlic bread, the chunky spaghetti sauce, jam, peanut butter, plain crackers, and tinned spaghetti. Actually, I like the tinned spaghetti better than the most expensive one, which is too salty.

Then we have a few I won't touch. Chocolate. Shampoo. Deodorant. And generally, washing powder. I like clean clothes, so I originally bought the most expensive powder. When dollars got tight I went down a few notches to one of the cheaper brand names. But lately I've been using the stuff at an alarming rate (I chalk this up to children throwing clean folded clothes onto the bedroom floor, then returning them to the laundry when told to clean up their rooms.) So my dilemma was that the normal powder was only a few cents more than the house brand, which I don't remember trying for the last 15 years.

Was I really standing there in Franklins and weighing my options? Unfortunately yes. But it gets worse. I compared the two concentrates and then saw the 4kg standard No Frills powder on the bottom shelf. It cost less than the either of the 1kg boxes.

I decided that I surely couldn't use four times as much standard powder as the concentrates. And if it sucked royally, it could just be my "omg I've run out of powder" emergency box. I bought it. I put the normal amount into the washer. There are bubbles, and it smells nice. I may have found a winner.

~ Elisa

PS. My son begged for frozen pizza the other day. I was ready to say no until he got himself educated... informing me that there were two meat-lovers pizzas for $5. I tried the No Frills pizza 15 years ago and it was like cardboard. And it now costs less. So I let him buy it.

It was nice. I was flummoxed.