Grandma's Tales

September 23, 2006

Are you an efficient buyer?

Filed under: Consumer caution — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 10:36 pm

The major advantage in shopping at a department store is that you get to pick what you want to pay for. You walk into the aisle that stacks your stuff, pry it off the shelf and drop it in the basket. Ha, but when you do that you lose the advantage.

The next time, check the “best by” date. Department stores invariably place the older ones (with the least number of days / hours before expiry) in the front of the deep, horizontal row. A consumer activist confirmed it is standard practice. For instance, the shampoo I singled out yesterday was manufactured in March 2005. This is printed on its standing space. “Best before” date is 3 years from the manufacturing date. Which means a year and a half of its shelf life is gone. Do we need to buy fresh shampoo? Yes. Shampoos, talcums, foundations and gels go down in quality if kept long. So do flashlight cells.

Now think about the bread, milk, paneer (cottage cheese), prepared idli batter and chappatti that you pull out in a hurry. The next time, before you do that, pause. Push aside the first and the second, and get to the packets behind. Make a long arm and take out the fresh ones. Check the manufacturing date and the “best before” date. Shouldn’t you be choosing the loaf of bread baked today? Paneer that was pressed today? If the dates are not printed, don’t touch them. They are harmful. And illegal.

At one outlet, I asked the assistant if the bread had been delivered for the day. She pointed to a bin full of loaves. They were kept away from the aisles. She was going to stack them before the shop closed for the night.


  1. Am bit more than surprised.. I was taught to do exactly the same thing whenever I went shopping with my mum ! Is this some kind of mothers recipe ?? 😉

    Comment by Gayathri Chakravarthy — April 4, 2007 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  2. In this case, a dad’s recipe! My husband taught me this.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — April 4, 2007 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

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