Is Paula Deen’s Goose Cooked?

By now, I’m sure everybody has heard about the quick and rapid fall from grace that has taken place with Food Network star Paula Deen.  Answering questions about a lawsuit filed against her, she admitted to having used racial slurs, which set off a wave of backlash that continued to build and build, until it was basically a rogue wave, wiping out everything in its path.  Namely, her career.

Pretty much every store or brand that she’s worked with has dropped her, including the flagship Food Network, but also restaurants that had her name on them, stores that carried her product, and pretty much everything in between.  The most comparable fall from grace I’ve seen for someone in her line of work was back when Martha Stewart fell apart and ended up in jail.

What Did Paula Do Wrong?

I think Paula Deen erred in three major ways, all of which had she done them differently, would have dramatically altered the outcome of her situation

  1. Not said the slurs in the first place – Obviously, had she never said what she said, there would be nothing to talk about.  I know everybody has said things that they regret saying, and if it’s true that she said them thirty years ago, I guess I’m surprised that she even remembers them in great detail.
  2. Acted nonchalant about them – When she admitted to having used the slurs, what made it exponentially worse for her was when she basically tried to play it off as not a big deal, and was not even sure that it would have been offensive.  I think the way that she addressed it (and the fact that her publicists did not get in front of it) was a major fail.  Had she admitted that she used the bad words, made a heartfelt apology, and explained her thoughts on equality, I think she would have come much further ahead.  As it was, when she finally did those things, they rang hollow after her initial comments.
  3. Waited too long to address it – After the tide started building against her, she waited a few days before addressing it and issuing apologies.  That’s forever in this day in age.  That allowed the buzz to grow and grow.  Had she issued her public apology days sooner, or appeared on the Today show when she was originally supposed to (the week prior), she might have had a chance.  As it was, every passing hour meant that public tide could build, social media could continue to eat away at her reputation, and executives could have boardroom meetings to discuss their future.  Time was not in her favor.

Read moreIs Paula Deen’s Goose Cooked?

Does Aldi Stack Up In Terms Of Quality And Taste?

We’ve recently added Aldi as one of the stores we visit regularly to fulfill our grocery shopping needs.  There isn’t one really close to us (7 miles is the closest), but we found that it was worth it and could offer savings for our family.  Last month, Aldi represented about 20% of the money we spent on groceries.

mb-201304groceryAfter buying some items, either once or regularly, I thought it would be interesting to review how the items stacked up against the same items we would buy in a more traditional grocery store.

Here are a few comparisons, with as much information as I can remember:

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There Are Always Savings Opportunities

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a raise at work.  Quite a long while, actually.  While that in itself is less than optimal (read: it sucks), it gets even worse when you consider that things have gotten more expensive across the board.  Just a few examples:

  • Gas prices have gone up quite a bit
  • Food prices have gone up a lot (or they shrink the packages, which means you have to buy more, so the end result is you pay more)
  • Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed
  • Our mortgage was re-financed.  Even though we are putting over $500 more in principle away each month for a modest $150 increase in the payment, it’s still a cash flow issue.

Read moreThere Are Always Savings Opportunities

Get That Bread Out Of Your Refrigerator

For us, bread use seems to hit spikes and valleys.  I take my lunch to work every day, and while I normally take a sandwich, there are times where I take leftovers or a frozen meal.  If these situations happen for multiple days straight, sometimes bread will sit for a while.  At the same time, there are occasions where you use bread like it’s going out of style.  Toast for breakfast (or better yet, french toast, yummm) or grilled cheese as part of dinner, and you’ll go through a loaf in no time at all.

Even with all this, we rarely ever have any bread go stale.  And, we have learned a big lesson, which is to keep bread out of the refrigerator.

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Be Honest With Yourself About Your Financial Situation

A few months ago I wrote a post about a nearby restaurant that quibbled with us about the cost of a salad.  Long story short, they charged us more for a salad attached to the ‘Special of the Day’ menu versus the price that was listed as the attached price of an entree.  I felt that the specials were entrees but the restaurant felt otherwise.

As it turns out, maybe they quibbled because they needed every dollar that they could get, because the restaurant recently shut its doors.

On the note they put on the door, they listed a couple of factors, most notably citing road construction in the area as a primary reason that they could not manage to stay in business.

Now, there has been a lot of road construction in the area.  The main road that the restaurant fronts has been the focus of a major widening project that has been spread out over a few years.  They could only go so far, then had to wait for another government agency to widen a bridge.  When that finally happened, they were able to continue along, but they had to split that up over two additional years.

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Eating Fresh Vegetables Has Gotten A Lot More Costly

Our family isn’t ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ by any stretch of the imagination.  My wife tries to cook healthy in the sense that:

  • We don’t avoid processed foods but we do try to keep them to a minimum
  • Every meal includes some fruit
  • Every meal (outside of breakfast) includes a vegetable
  • Limit consumption of red meat to once a week or so
  • Eat yogurt

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Combat Smaller Size For Same Price Gimmicks

It’s no surprise that manufacturers like to raise the price of products whenever they can, with one of the most common ways as of late being to shrink the amount of product you receive, all while keeping the price the same.

This effectively raises the price of the product by allowing them to receive more for a ‘batch of product’ than they would have otherwise.

Ice cream. Use ice cream as an example.  I love ice cream so I will take any opportunity that I can to talk about it.  And eat it!  Anyway.  A few years ago, you used to be able to get what was commonly known as a ‘half gallon’ for around $3.00.  Since there are four quarts to a gallon, this meant that a half gallon container consisted of two quarts of ice cream.

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Kraft Has A Plan To Get You To Buy More Salad Dressing

I always pride myself on being somewhat of a watchdog on noticing when companies seem to be giving you more for less.  I’ve written about how packaging changes can lead to higher prices for baby formula or even how changing the suggested usage in products like baking soda could trigger more sales, but the latest one I’ve seen is a new one, and probably something you may have already come across.

I’m talking about salad dressing.  With the latest change, they didn’t change the size of the bottle or anything else.  No, they’re being a bit more “Kraft”-y, if you will.

We aren’t loyal to any one brand of dressing, but it seems that Kraft has a good portion of our sales.  I’m pretty much of the opinion that you need one type of salad dressing: Ranch.  My wife has five or six other ones, but if it were up to me, ranch would be the only salad dressing in the fridge.

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Bigger Sizes Aren’t Always Cheaper

Normally Mrs. Beagle handles the grocery shopping, and she always does a great job. Recently, she couldn’t go during her normal day and time due to schedule conflict resulting from Little Boy Beagle’s attending summer ‘bug’ camp (he loved it, of course!). So, we decided to head out as a family after dinner.

I pretty much try to stay out of the way and keep a handle on the kids (both met with varying success).  I can’t help but keep an eye on prices.

I noticed two examples of what I would consider a price discrepancy between sizes.  And not in the way you’d normally expect.

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I’ll Take No Icky Water For 90 Cents, Please!

Our office campus is undergoing a multi-phase renovation.  We have two buildings, and essentially one half of a building is being remodeled, with the intent to expand our space and bring us from the 1970’s era furniture and layout to a more modern approach.

My desk sits in the recently completed first phase.  It’s much brighter, cleaner, and laid out in a much more open way, definitely more conducive to today’s collaborative approach for teamwork.

Phase two is currently underway with the other half of the building (where I used to be) in the midst of being gutted and re-built.

Last Monday, I got in at my normal time of slightly before 7am.  I made my coffee as normal.  A little bit later when I went over to rinse out a bowl, no water.  I checked and it was out.

Read moreI’ll Take No Icky Water For 90 Cents, Please!