I suppose many of you already know about Trader Joe's. While we were gone it moved into Charlotte and won the hearts and wallets of all our friends. And now mine. As if it weren't cool enough already, let me tell you about their customer service.
My mom and I went in the other day, and she picked up about $30 of groceries. When we left, we realized that Tim had the car keys in a nearby store. We tucked the groceries under the the front of the car and we went to go find Tim. When he returned 5 minutes later, they were stolen! Can you believe it? I hope it was someone who needed the food badly. When we went in to ask at Trader Joe's customer service if perhaps someone had turned in some groceries (yeah, right), they offered to replace them!
The whole thing was probably a good lesson for me. I definitely did not think putting the groceries under the car was a good idea, but I tried to tell myself that I was being paranoid and unreasonable after living in a culture with more delinquency. It appears that was not the case. Note to self: Charlotte is not a utopia.
So on to the Giant Penny. This place is an independent grocery store 1 mile from my house. It's the kind of spot that has a sign on the door about not allowing concealed weapons or bicycles inside. And it sells Hannah's Pickled Pigs Feet. We went in search of chicken feet/backs/necks for dog food (they're on a raw food diet because of Taza's allergies-- look it up! very interesting!). If anywhere in Charlotte would sell them, it was sure to be the Giant Penny!
Lo and behold, the Giant Penny was overflowing with weird animal parts. Chicken feet turned out to be prohibitively expensive-- $1.69/lb.-- since our two doggies consume almost 3 lbs. a day between the two of them. Backs and necks were a steal, though, and after chatting with the butcher, we worked out a great Giant Penny bargain. Yesterday I went and picked up a 40 lb. box of chicken backs for $20. That gets Ellie through 16 days of raw chicken goodness and lands our dog food budget at about $45 a month (roughly the same as in Peru). Pretty good for 145 lbs of doggies! Oh, the Giant Penny. Just make sure you lock your car when you go in.