Now that I bring in significantly less income than when I was working full-time, I am naturally more price sensitive and am more aware of the price of things.

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney recently announced that agricultural prices are up 40 per cent year over year, and two of Canada’s largest retailers insist very little has been passed on to its consumers.  Are you kidding me?

A few weeks ago, I came home from grocery shopping at Loblaws.  I glanced at the bill and was mortified when I realized I paid $7.99 for a pound of butter! When I started my career in grocery merchandising (I acknowledge this was over 20 years ago, but still…), the retail chain I worked for had butter at an EDLP (or “everyday low price”) of $3.99.  So convinced was I that a scanning error had been made at the store that I was going to bring it back.  My husband – ever the “take action” kind of man – phoned the store and asked them to verify the price.  The employee who took his call was even surprised by how much I’d paid!  But he checked and confirmed that it was correct and that last year, the price was $6.99 – that’s a 14% increase, so don’t tell me I’m not paying more for food!

To add insult to injury, when I shopped at my local no frills a week later (also a Loblaw Companies retail banner), I noticed this same product retailed for $5.49!  Look, I get it: my background is in grocery retailing, so I understand about “price zone” fluctuations, but on a commodity item like butter, I should be paying the same price at any of the Loblaws sister retail banners within the same community.  One of my new favourite retro expressions would be most appropriate here: “What a gyp!”.

I’ve also become a semi-fan of the Wal-Mart Supercentre and this butter brand sells for $5.27 there.  Lesson learned for the person who now really cares about how much she pays for things (well, most of the time).  Anyway, I suppose I really should be using more margarine…