March 14, 2017 · Hot Tips

When buying bulk foods at supermarket, take a picture

It's always confusing when you see those big bins of nuts and grains... how do I buy them? What do I put them in? How do I weigh them? How will the cashier know what's inside?

Usually, there is some kind of bag provided. It used to be these nice, lined, kraft paper bags with windows and fold-down tops that secured with little bendy tabs. Nowadays, you're lucky if there's a roll of plastic produce bags somewhere nearby. And then you are supposed to label the bag with the SKU of the product. How do you do that? On the old kraft bags you could write it directly on the bag with whatever crayon or eyeliner pencil you found in the bottom of your purse. Now they sometimes have little labels that attach to the wiry things you are supposed to close the bag with, but there's NEVER a working pen within 40 yards of the bulk department. (Why? Because everyone knows that's where the free pens and pencils are.)

Anyway, simple solution. As you are filling your bags with nuts and beans, wild rice and malted milk balls (it's not candy if it's in the health food department!), pull out your cell phone and take a picture of the label on each dispenser. Then, when you get to the register, pull out your phone again and impress the cashier with your thoughtfulness.

Believe me, they are always impressed, because most people bring the bags up unlabeled, forcing the cashier to waste time leafing through a giant 3-ring binder to distinguish between regular black-eyed peas and organic black-eyed-peas. That's no fun for anyone.

By the way: doctors say we should eat one ounce of nuts every day. But nuts are so yummy, it's impossible to limit yourself to one measly ounce. Here's the solution. Go to Ebay and buy a huge supply of tiny ziplock bags, like 3"x4" or so. Figure out how many nuts make an ounce, and count that many nuts into each bag. It doesn't take that long to make like 30 or 60 bags. Put the bags inside larger ziplocks and put them in the freezer. Every day, take out your little 1-oz bag every day and munch away. Save the bags to be re-used for the next batch. It works.

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