By the case? Buy the case.

I’m still slightly amused when I walk into a supermarket, find a good deal on something, and the checker’s response is one of confusion when I tell them I’ll take several cases of whatever it is.

Today’s example…….

Me, I love pasta. It’s bad for me in the sense that it’s pretty much just straight up carbs, but I’ve been moderating my intake for the last couple months and am being sparing about the use of rice and pasta. ‘magic number’ is $1/# on pasta. I have magic numbers for lots of things. The Magic Number is the price at which I will go deep on purchasing something. For example, a can of Coke is about $0.29-31 each when I go to CostCo and get a case. But, if they have a sale or someplace is selling it for, say, $.20/can, I’ll buy several cases. Glocks? At $300  for a used Glock, I’ll take all you have. (Some things, however, you do not buy at a discount. For example, I will not buy ‘bargain’ condoms.)

Anyway, less than a buck a pound for pasta is my magic number. Turns out my local grocery was selling it for $0.50/#. Turn around, walk back to the front of the store, put back the basket and get a cart instead. “I’ll take two cases of the rigatoni, please.” The confused look starts to creep across their face. Look, I know what a case is, I know how many are in a case, I know how much they cost…now go get me two cases. Yes, I know what I’m talking about.


Do the math. That wound up being 80% off the normal price. But..a normal price of $2/# seems a bit excessive. But still….score!

Once in a blue moon, when I’m sales-raping their inventory, they’ll ask why I’m buying so much stuff. I’m not going to say “I’m one of those paranoid survivalists”, so instead I tell them I either cook for a day care or nursing home, or, more often, I tell them I’m buying for a food bank. (This last one is a very good cover since the items are on sale at blowout prices….seems reasonable a food bank would jump at it.)

So, off to the basement to stock the wire shelves with food. As an aside, pasta and rice are my favorite staples. They keep well, are amazingly versatile, and can be used to stretch other foods or are just good by themselves. Some butter, olive oil, garlic, crushed red peppers, and salt, sauteed for a few minutes and then stirred into hot pasta makes a fast, hearty, and amazingly cheap meal. Drop in some canned chicken or tuna and you’re set.

Sale runs for another couple days, so I’ll be getting another couple cases. So, today’s bright spot in a world of suckage: food security.


11 thoughts on “By the case? Buy the case.

  1. When I buy 30-40 12-packs of Cherry Coke at a time people sometimes ask why I buy so much. Last woman who asked, I told her that if you boil it until it’s just thick syrup, the reduced artificial sweetener can be used in lieu of pseudo ephedrine when making meth.

    She had a very thoughtful look in her face.

  2. I’ve used the “buying to donate to a food pantry” line several times and it’s true, I just didn’t say who’s pantry. I also sometimes say it’s my turn to stock up some shelves at a shared hunting cabin, the best stories are mostly true.

    I to also have “magic numbers” for some items; <$1.25 name brand quality canned "hearty" type soup cans, <$.50 rice/pasta, <$3.00 quality dried soup/chili pouches, 3/$1.00 generic or 2/$1.00 bigger or better quality cans of veggies, managers specials markdowns on meats get frozen, <$.50 defensive ammo rounds, etc.

    But I'm a bit blessed, I have a couple of discount outlet stores in my near by area that carry or specialize in close out food staples. For instance:

    I sometimes find surprisingly good deal at "Big Lots" brand stores as well.

  3. Welcome to the club of “I’ll take all you have.”

    RE: pasta – do you have any special procedures for long term storage? I’ve taken to vacuum sealing stuff like that (specifically, dry goods – pasta, flour, etc. in small quantities) in Food Saver plastic or bulking the packages into 5 gallon buckets with Gamma lids and doing a nitrogen purge, but there might be a better technique.

    • I just store it in its original packaging in a tightly sealed plastic container and havent had any issues.

      • If I put pasta in a 5 gallon bucket with a gamma lid, am I doing what you said?

        • It would seem to be the same thing, although I usually leave the pasta in its original packaging or break it down into smaller packages. That way if theres a problem, the entire 5-gallon lot isn’t affected.

          • I’d re-think that.
            Just had the warmer weather here trigger a breakout of bugs from a shelved box of retail pasta. They ate holes out of the box, which means they could eat holes into any adjacent boxes.

            I figure 110% of any commercial food processor facility has been contaminated by bugs (after having pasta, cereal, flour, rice, and damn near anything else the little bast*rds eat prove it to be so). Consequently, everything for storage gets removed, shaken out, food-sealed in individual portions, and then frozen for at least 24 hours (expanding water molecules blows up little dormant larvae and such), before then sealed in air-free gamma sealed buckets.

            Going to have to start breaking down and freezing my day-to-day stuff, too.

            Short of nuking it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

    • I like packing it in mason jars. Then toss it in the freezer for a week to kill any bugs. Keeps it dry and safe from bugs/rodents, and takes up no more storage space than the empty jars would anyway.

      The “efficiency” — how much pasta per jar — can vary considerably depending on the shape of the pasta. Elbow macaroni store much more efficiently than ziti or rigatoni, for example. But we use a lot more elbow macaroni too; doing without ziti will just be one of the sacrifices the Apocalypse demands.

      Spaghetti is too long to fit in a 1 quart jar… But it will fit in a 2 quart jar, or you can either find the “pot length” spaghetti at least one pasta manufacturer has started selling, or make your own as you fill the jars.

  4. Monthly I donate around $250 in food to a local food bank. I have several lower price food stores I shop at for the best deals. I buy 2 to 3 months ahead, things I don’t normally eat, mostly canned and prepared stuff. I use this as my short to mid-term storage. Some of it will be given/traded to neighbors if tshtf. I always have it on hand, and it gets rotated out regularly. Win/win for all.

  5. Small town, so people at my favorite store know me. I buy by the case pretty often, but I never explain. If a clerk asks or makes a comment (which is rare), I just say I really like the food. Not long ago the store had a great sale on store-brand tuna (same as Chicken of the Sea) & sardines. I’ve never seen sardines that cheap & the sale lasted 2 months. I REALLY stocked up! I missed WalMart’s sale on canned salmon, so I’m hoping they do it again soon.

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