BJ’s: The Loehmann’s of Grocery Shopping

Never pay retail.

That’s the mantra of many a woman who grew up in New York.  For us, (OK, for mostly Jewish women of a certain age) Loehmann‘s was the only place to shop. There, in the racks and racks of schmattas lay untold designer treasures — at 50-75% off retail. It was like Mecca for Jews.  When I was a teenager, a trip to Loehmann’s communal dressing room was an experience, a right of passage, and a somber foreshadowing of what my lithe, firm body would someday become.

But Loehmann’s taught me about more than sagging flesh and bat wings, it taught me to Never Pay Retail.  A rule I have lived by to this day.  And not just at Loehmann’s.  I have an impressive collection of Missoni – a coat, two blazers, two dresses and more — all bought at a fraction of their original price at Filene’s Basement (now all but ruined by it’s acquisition by Syms.  Boo Hoo.) I have Sigerson Morrison pumps for which I paid $40.  Channel flats that were $95.  Both from the now defunct (and sorely, sorely misses) discount shoe store Danbar.

And yet, I never applied the never pay retail rule to grocery shopping.  Until now.  Because now, there’s a BJ’s nearby.  I may never pay grocery retail again!

I have been to Costco.  I like Costco.  But I live in a Manhattan (read small) apartment, and Costco only sells MASSIVE sizes of everything. BJ’s, on the other hand, sells NORMAL SIZES of the things you love.  They even make an effort to support local businesses by offering locally made baked goods in their stores. They even take coupons!  Regular cut ’em out of the newspaper coupons.

It’s kind of awesome.

And at the blogger event they held last week, I learned that they also have some pretty nice gifts to give.  Like electronics, and housewares, and gift baskets, and toys. (A review of the toy they gave me (full disclosure) will be up after the Thanksgiving weekend.) All at significantly lower prices than grocery and department stores. My favorite thing they showed us that day?  Living Home Holiday Handcrafted Gift Tags.  They are GORGEOUS.  (And not all of them are Christmassy.  They are gift-generic) and you get 60 for $7.99.

So: cheaper food, inexpensive gifts, some local fare.  What could be bad?

Well, from now on, when I think about BJ’s, all I’ll think is…what was I doing all these years, paying….retail?!  It’s like I’ve been a traitor to my own motto.  And I never even realized it until now.

Take up the cause: Never pay retail!

I won’t.

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