When I was a little girl, my parents separated for ten months. While my family never really had any extra money, it became even more difficult during those months as my mom tried to maintain the household bills and the necessary peripherals alone and on a tiny salary.
One day she and I realized that we needed to do some grocery shopping and that we both were having a craving for canned peaches. That was going to be our little “treat.” I remember the topmost shelf of peaches (which was third from the bottom) being just about eye level for a child. My mom looked at the cans of Del Monte yellow cling peaches in light syrup with their $1.50 a can price tag (plus or minus a few cents). Being low on funds, she quickly realized that we couldn’t get the four cans we had planned on and said, “Honey, these cost a little more than I thought, so we can only get two cans and we’ll share. Okay?” I was standing a few feet away, also looking at cans of peaches—the house brand. The cans were the same size and contained the same product. They were also less than half the price of the peaches mom was pricing just a little way down the aisle. With logic far beyond my years, I looked up from the shelf tag and asked, “Why don’t we get these, Mommy? We can still get four if we get this kind.”
She stared at me (in what she later told me was disbelief) for a minute before telling me to grab four of the house brand cans and put them in the cart.
That day I was just trying to help my mother get the items on her grocery list and happened to spot a bargain, but looking back on this memory twenty years later while struggling with my own finances I realized it had a lesson to teach me:
You can’t always have the name brand peaches, but that doesn’t mean that the ones you can afford are lesser for their labeling …