by 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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