Friday, October 19, 2012

Such a Deal

I found out I am more out of touch with the real world than I suspected.

I have been getting Groupon offers which, for those who aren't on the internet, are usually great discounts on all sorts of things.  Groupon sends out special deals every day, anything from a big discount on a fabulous trip, or a special on massage, or a bunch of other things that I'm not interested in.  But there are a lot of food options too.  I've purchased Groupons for Mel's Drive-in in San Francisco, where we eat from time to time when we are in the city of a show.  I've purchased Groupons for local restaurants.  I once purchased a huge discount on scanning photos and transferring to a CD (I'm gradually working my way through the Lawsuit history on Groupons).

But when my Groupon offers for today appeared in my mail box, I simply couldn't believe it.

For only $29 (50% off the regular price of $58), this company will send you -- every week for a year -- a meal plan and shopping list for your nightly family meal.  I simply could not believe that someone would PAY to have someone draw up a meal plan and write out a grocery list.  And, if the ad is to be believed, some people are willing to pay almost $60 for the service.

Heck, I've been planning family meals and making up my own shopping list (usually simultaneously as I walk through the supermarket) for more than 50 years.

Well, I shook my head, laughed, shared the offer with Walt, he shook his head and laughed and I posted a message on Facebook.

Imagine my surprise when the comment I read was this:
that seems pretty cheap.. I don't know how much time you spending making your menu plan and list (although its probably a lot less time than it took 50 years ago), but for someone who hasn't done that very much, it could take a couple hours a week... So to save an hour of your time, you'd pay less than $1 an hour...
A couple of hours a week?  I can't imagine planning 7 days worth of meals taking more than 15 minutes tops, and that's stretching it.  More often, I base my "meal plan" (such as it is) on what I see when I walk through the store. What looks good? What's on sale? What's fresh? What will go with whatever I have in the fridge or pantry shelves at home?

But I guess I am part of a dying breed...people who actually cook dinner every night.  I watch commercials which show products which are frozen meals, and show Mom putting them in the oven and then serving her family a "home baked meal" (the operative word being "baked," not "made.") and how excited her family is.  This is advertised as "eat at home one night a week."

Used to be that you had tubes of cookie dough that you cut off in slices to bake for "home baked" they come in little cubes because I guess cutting off slices was too complicated.  How can you eat cookie dough if your cookies come pre-formed and ready for baking?

We watch a program called "Check, Please, Bay Area," which I just love.  It's on the San Francisco PBS station and there is a moderator and 3 guests.  The guests submit the name of their favorite restaurant and all three of them visit all three restaurants and talk about them on the show.  We've found some great restaurants that way (that fabulous crab restaurant in San Francisco that we went to several months ago, for example).

On a recent show a guy recommended his favorite restaurant where he eats breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.  We do go out to eat from time to time, but not more than once a month (if that), and I can't even imagine eating 3 meals out every day!
But, as I say, I'm a dying breed.

I also watched a news report today about two guys who have come up with what sounds like a fabulous idea.  They are taking abandoned freight train cars and turning them into low-cost, energy-efficient homes.  Really cool.  One end is the size of a double bed with a bit of space on either side of it.  In the middle is a tiny kitchen, and at the other end is a small bathroom.  They look very nice when finished and the idea is to move them somewhere where there is a need for low income, affordable housing.

Wanna know how much they will cost?


Yeah, I know that is probably a great deal by today's home prices, but I can't help but remember that we paid $21,000 for our first house, which was about 1800 square feet and had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an attic and a basement and a yard with a detached garage.  Yeah, it was 1972, but I can't relate to $25,000 being low income housing.

Of course my mother remembers when her mother-in-law talked my father out of buying a house in San Francisco because it would cost a whopping $2,000.

I think I'm going to go to bed now


Mary Z said...

I'm with you on ALL counts! I always did my meal planning the way you do - on the fly as I go through the store. I only have a list for things I don't buy every week and have noticed I'm about out of.

Harriet said...

I cook for myself more often than not; I can't believe how often the rest of my household eats out. If they actually cook something, I just get out of the way, because there will be a meltdown somewhere, but it ain't gonna be mind.