Steve and I like to shop at the “Bent Can Store.” That’s just a nickname we call it. In Portland, OR, the actual name for this kind of store is “Everyday Deals.” There’s one in every town. You can google them under the category “salvage groceries.” Also called damaged, bulk or surplus groceries – the category name is a little fuzzy. That’s why we like to call it The Bent Can Store. A couple websites try to keep current lists of all salvage grocery stores by state and city.
Anyway, what you get is the most amazing, fun shopping ever. We never go there to do our regular shopping. We never go with a list. We only go there on what we call grocery treasure hunts. You never know what wild and crazy things you will find.
On our last trip, we got classy, name-brand wines for $3 a bottle!!! Regular price $10 and up. Steve got thirty!! bottles, all different types. He’s set for a whole year. Regular price, $300. His price, $90. I found humongous, fresh blackberries for 25 cents a box. Regular $4.50. A treat I rarely allow myself. I got four boxes for a buck. Savings $18. Now tell me this isn’t fun! I could go on and on about our outrageous buys. We cackle going out the door hulking over our booty like thieving pirates.
Now before we go any further. . .all you squeemish people out there?. . .I can hear you loud and clear, gasping about expired dates. Just hear me out, okay?
If you are a stickler about eating food out of date, just check. Many items are just dented or scratched, not expired. We make a point never to buy any dry goods, like cereal, flour, bagged potato chips, etc. These go stale quickly, and may – might – transport critters to your pantry.
If you’re worried, buy things you can see and squeeze, like produce. You’ll be amazed at the fantastic buys on produce, cheeses, kombucha, fresh yakasoyba noodles. It’s different every time. If you go back for seconds, it likely will be gone. They have great buys on blended spices, like seafood and steak rubs. I got a $20 bottle of saffron for $5.
Bent can stores can have lots of exotic foods from gourmet stores — things you could or would never afford, usually. But regular shoppers around here are on hard times and shopping basic. They pass right over the exotic stuff like saffron, wine, balsamic vinegar. We find alot of organic items, including delicious soups. I got some teas packed into cute silver foil sticks or wands. Just drop them into your cup of boiling water and twirl. In two minutes you have a lovely cup of tea.
By the way, how do you transport 30 bottles of wine down the highway without having a vino catastrophe? On the drive home from the store, our bottles were clanging up a storm. We could tell that any serious bump or hard braking would be disaster. The bays on our bus are full.
So I went to my sock drawer, pulled out all my white summer tennis socks and gave each wine bottle a snuggy sweater to wear. Now we are packed and ready to go. Don’t you agree. . .we RVer’s as a group are darn inventive, problem solving types.