In a country that worships the lowest possible price for almost everything, I’m something of a non-conformist. I’ve always reacted badly to cheap. Like Dickens, I don’t care for stingy people. I have trouble understanding penury. I don’t think low cost trumps everything when shopping. That could be why I’m not what one might call a wealthy man.
As a cook, though, cheap makes me crazy. When I see a deal on food that sounds too good to be true, my eyes narrow and I get suspicious. Knowing something about food and how basic ingredients are made into meals, I look at an ad for a taco or a hamburger or a chicken sandwich that costs $1.00 or less and I don’t squeal with delight at all the money I’ll save. I squeal with angst about the godawful things that the food chain must have done to make it so cheap. It’s either a loss leader to get you in the store where they can sell you more profitable stuff – like $2 or $3 for a quart of carbonated sugar water, or they’re actually able to make money on the $1 item. If the latter, then the cost of the ad, the building, the poster on the counter, the packaging, employees etc. all comes out of the dollar, leaving maybe $0.10 to $0.12 for the food, or less. If there’s meat in it, you’re probably not getting the best parts of the beast. And the parts you are getting have likely been processed in ways polite people don’t discuss on the radio.
If I want a burger, I’d much rather get one at a local burger joint – like the one on Whitesburg – where you can see the cooks grab a batch of meat and pat it into a burger, slap it on the grill and cook it. And where you pay more than a dollar for the result.