Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bulk Balk

Seriously, buying a one ton box of dish detergent makes sense--I can tuck it under the sink, lug it out every day to get some much-needed weight training, and not have to think about buying it again for about seven years. Buying laundry detergent this way has worked out, too, but not quite as neatly. Drop that heavy container on a shelf above the washer, and use the spout to empty as much as you need into the supplied cup. It's just that even when I properly use the air release top to control the pour there are always drips & spills to wipe up with a random rag or sock that's about to get washed.

Other things we've purchased in bulk are paper towels, tissue and T.P.. Again, easy enough--tucked away into cabinets of the bathrooms and below the towels in the linen closet, I feel good about the savings. Apple sauce is a good bulk decision, since we eat it so often. Rice milk, which stores unrefrigerated on a shelf. Diapers, if you use disposables (we do not), and wipes, as well. We've bought some fresh produce in bulk, but not many fruits or vegetables will last too long that way--bell peppers go a little while longer than, say, bananas.

But it was about this time a year ago that I saw what I never could have dreamed of finding in bulk. My husband proudly walked in the door from an afternoon of a Trader Joe's Adventure (it always seems like an expedition when we shop there--looking for the little treasures around tight corners and hidden nooks). What he yielded, like a cat presenting his best and biggest rat, was a fourteen pound block of dark chocolate.

He says, confidently, "Now, this is the way to do it!"

What? Is he kidding? I asked how we would be expected to chunk pieces off to enjoy: the answer was that I ended up literally purchasing a meat mallet to go with his "find." If we figured that out by the pound, the meat mallet immediately lowered his savings.

Now, I have had this gargantuan brick of chocolate on its side to the right of the microwave for about ten or eleven months. He thought it was so great he even bought one for a colleague as a Christmas gift (I apologize, Ella). She apparently likes chocolate as well.

Let me say that if you have ever contemplated this purchase, slap yourself now!. It is wildly impractical! We have to cover a section of the thick brick with a cloth, whack it with the mallet, see if a decent size chunk falls off, and then whack it a couple more times to break up rations among the family. I feel like a lioness, ripping a gazelle apart to feed my children. It's barbaric!

Then, if the chunk is too big, we stick it in the freezer until we get another hankering, and whack it again & again until the right chips fly off into our now-mauled cloth napkin. I have ruined an otherwise decent napkin this way (subtracting, again, from the bottom line savings in buying chocolate in bulk). But the worst part of the whole thing is the chocolate dust that is wasted. It flies into the napkin to be washed away in the laundry, or flings across the kitchen to be vacuumed up. The small percentage lost on each attack adds up after time. With just one year's ownership of this chocolate heirloom, we have barely made a dent. What was he thinking?

You think your husband pinches pennies? Can you top that!?

Oh, by the way, it isn't the most amazing chocolate I've ever had. But, as I previously mentioned, I am a chocoholic, so when the cupboards are bare, I can get a little fix it I drop a chunk or two into a dish of peanut butter. Yeah--that might help define my addiction.

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