Sacha’s mom used to call it The Rotten Food Store.
When I worked briefly in grocery, I heard one of my co-workers refer to it as The Gross Out. This one stuck with me.
It’s actually the Grocery Outlet, and when The Fox mentioned that Sallory shopped there I almost fell over.
The optics didn’t work for me: I’d always attributed shopping at The Gross Out as a poor person’s prerogative, I consider Sallory anything but.
I think I actually said, “What is she, suddenly poor?!?” while mentally picking myself up. Maybe it’s that she lives in a small town and there aren’t a lot of other options. Certainly no New Seasons or Whole Foods.
It was one of these “small town” options that she’d first found Stok at, and that was a good find so it wasn’t hard to find my rationale to trust this statement at face value.
But, still…The Gross Out?!?
I admit it, I struggled a little.
This was tough to get my mind around.
I mentioned it to her personally while we were having wine on one of her trips to the city.
Looking at me straight on, with all earnestness, she says to me, “You’ve got to go check out the wine selection. It’s unbelievable!”
My liver clicked into place.
She went on to tell me that her preferred Gross Out is on the coast in Lincoln City – if I’m recalling this right, because: wine – and that their wine manager was all about great tips on what was drinking well. Oh, and it’s all so cheap! She swore that Trader Joe’s had nothing on them.
I was intrigued and The Fox and I giddily planned a trip to our local.
“Go up and down every aisle, there’s some great buys”, Sallory insists.
Our closest outlet is in the Hollywood District and we walked in past racks of outdoor plants. That was unexpected.
Equally unexpected was the entire front quarter of the store being taken up by the wine department.
I’m barely exaggerating.
There’s were case stacks everywhere. It was an oenophilliacacious – yeah, that’s a made up word – sprawl. Signs everywhere pointed to what Manny was recommending or drinking.
Hopefully, this Manny fella was the wine manager and not some bum with cardstock and a nice marker.
The Fox and I scooped up bottles and bottles. In reality, I think I only nabbed a half case…testing the waters. But, hey…old vine Zins and Paso Robles Sauvignon for $5-15? I didn’t really feel like I could make a mistake here.
It was hard to resist.
TJ’s would always be there for cheap table wines if this failed to live up to the hype.
I left there – after walking up and down every aisle, as advised – with bags of pasta, frozen pizzas and veggies, some frozen meals that I thought would make a good lazy lunch, bags of food to stick my freezer and pantry. Oh, and wine!
All for $127…
I’m not going to lie, suddenly, I couldn’t wait to try some of these other whackadoodle stores that I’d written off years ago. If Gross Out could surprise me, what else was out there to blow my mind?
The next week, The Fox took me along to the Costco. There’s always a few things I need there, so I was glad to tag along. On the way out, he asked me if I would mind hitting the WinCo across the way.
Initially, I balked…then I remembered.
Oh, my hell.
La Croix was a buck less than anywhere near me.
Myrtle’s wet food was $.57/can and my normal market sells it for $.95/can.
I got to the checkout with a half cart of bounty thinking, “Welp, here goes another $100”. But it was all stuff that had a shelf life, either in the pantry or freezer.
I left feeling like I’d been living life wrong all these years.
When I was bragging to a co-worker a few days later, she immediately jumped in with her own news: she and her husband had just gone to Cash & Carry, the Costco and WinCo and stocked up for less than $300 for their family of three for the next three months.
Shut the front door.
Trader Joe’s will always be on my shopping rotation, there’s just too many tasty things that you can only get there. Including delicious Spanish wines on the cheap.
But I learned to root out a good value during this little adventure and can’t believe it took me so long to come to the damn table. Come to think of it, Mistress Myrtle is nearly out of food, so I’ll have to plan a trip in the next week-ish to see what’s new at The Gross Out and WinCo.
Listen to your elders…find a Gross Out and go!