We were twenty minutes into the mission at Wal Mart. I was in the lead, directing us down aisle after aisle, list in hand. Daniel brought up the rear, dragging his feet and occasionally emitting a sigh. We entered the cereal aisle and Daniel’s sighs started coming fast and furious. I didn’t say anything and finally Daniel interrupted the Muzak.
“Can we get Fruit Loops?” he asked.
“We are getting Fruit Loops,” I replied. Daniel shook his head.
“No, I mean real Fruit Loops.” Now it was my turn to sigh. We’ve gone through this before. We buy a lot of generic items at the store: bags of frozen vegetables, gallons of milk, my allergy medicine. If the only difference is the container, I don’t see why we should pay more. The “Fruit Spins” taste just like the real ones and we save $1.30 per box.
“We never buy real stuff,” Daniel complained. I looked down in the cart. We had several cans of Campbell’s soup because it tastes better than the generic versions. We tried Sam’s Cola once (once) and now we buy Diet Pepsi again. And while Great Value potato chips cost a lot less than Lay’s, they are hardly a “great value” when no one eats them. I admit if Wal Mart sold its own diet bread, I’d consider buying it. Since they don’t, I buy the name brand. It costs twice as much, but I save half the Weight Watchers points. Daniel wasn’t convinced by any of this, of course. I knew he wasn’t interested in the price, or taste, or calories.
“Daniel, if I told you we’d buy the real Fruit Loops, but you wouldn’t get the toy, would you still want them?” I didn’t get a verbal answer, but Daniel looked down at his feet and I heard another small sigh. In the end, we found a “compromise” cereal. Wal Mart had Frosted Flakes on sale. These were the real Frosted Flakes with Tony the Tiger on the box. On sale, they were close to the price of the generic box. Even better, they were the reduced sugar version; I could eat a full cup serving rather than ¾ cup for the same number of points. The additional benefit of being able to get the eight box tops required to get the official Star Trek USB drive that much quicker did not weigh into the decision at all.