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My Job Lot Hat Trick

Job Lot Findsby Katy Killilea

Ocean State Job Lot has many adherents. My husband’s family (they are native Rhode Islanders) considers it the intelligent shopper’s choice for sunglasses, gardening supplies, and anniversary gifts. I have long thought of it as an admittedly good place to buy cans of Polar seltzer, but overall it’s a hit-or-miss, tape’s-not-sticky, weird-brand, ugly toy, better-off-without-it kind of place. That is, until this afternoon, when I found myself in Job Lot with time to kill, and guess what? I hit the jackpot.

Here are my finds, proudly photographed in case you can’t believe it. And consider that I found them all in under 20 minutes!

1. Borlotti beans from Bob’s Red Mill (27-ounce bag for $3.29). I will use these to make thick soup for the chilly nights ahead. They are the prettiest, most luscious beans, and I have not been able to find them elsewhere. All the Ocean State Job Lots are now well stocked with every esoteric flour, grain, bean, and cereal Bob’s makes. I do not think the prices are especially low, but the selection is great. And unlike some foodstuffs at Job Lot, these are not on the verge of expiration: none of the packages I saw expired until 2009.

2. Green and Black’s organic chocolate bars (3.5-ounce bar for $1.00; 1-ounce bar for 40 cents). If I did not have a new Halloween Candy Austerity Plan in place (meaning I will not buy large quantities of any candy that appeals to me, but we can load up on Skittles and Starbursts), I would have purchased cases of the small bars for Trick-or-Treaters. If you like Green and Black’s chocolate bars, you know what an amazing price this is. The following flavors of the large bars were on display: bittersweet chocolate with hazelnut & currants, dark chocolate with mint, and Maya Gold (dark chocolate with orange rind and spices). The small bars were available only in the milk chocolate, but who’s complaining? One caveat: these chocolates expire in November and December.

3. Lyons Original Blend Tea ($3.99 for a box of 80 tea bags). I love this Irish tea. And now I know where it all went when the miniscule British Foods section at Shaw’s replaced it all with Barry’s Tea. It landed at Job Lot. Tons of it. For a very low price. The box I bought does not expire until May 2008. Heaven!

There were other things in my cart, but I already regret buying them. Little ghost votive candles (the paint is already chipping off all over my counter), Reduced Sugar Frosted Flakes with a Tony the Tiger pedometer (I got two boxes, but how will I keep the children from fighting over who gets the first pedometer?), a—pardon me—really crappy plastic piggy bank with a lock so hard to work it makes us all want to cry. Despite all this, I am officially a convert.

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  • Yes, ocean state job lot rules! Last winter, we went so far as to host a Job Lot pot luck after talking about it for years. All dishes needed to contain 90% OSJL ingredients by weight. We had a great selection of foods including foccacia, chicken and corn chowder, sauerkraut, dolmades, and chocolate bread pudding. A little short on veggies, but still a lot of fun. We plan on making it an annual event!