An Exciting Discovery!

I ordered some clothes for my children from a cheap online local retailer, and to save money instead of paying extra for home delivery, I had it be delivered to a pickup point in the nearest city. When went to pick up my package when I was anyhow in the city for an appointment, I got a pleasant surprise.

It was a brand new store, and guess what? It is a scratch and dent store! It is closer to me than any other scratch and dent store. When I was there that time the proprietor showed me around his store, and while he had lots of different types of items for really low prices, the part that spoke
to me was the food, because we need to eat, and cheap good food is my game. He was apologetic that he didn't have so many different types of foods, and mentioned that it depends on the shipments that he gets, but that the supply keeps on changing.

I told him that I knew exactly the type of store his store was; I am very familiar with them and how they work, because I try to make shopping at these types of stores a regular part of my routine. 

The shopkeeper started showing me what he had in stock and then tried to explain that the dents and packaging don't affect the inside and the food is still good. I had a good laugh about that, honestly, because I've even written a blog post explaining that exact information to readers back in 2016. I know that expiration dates aren't regulated and that bulges in cans are dangerous but dents are only a problem if they dent enough that they crack, even slightly. And none of the food there fit into that criteria, so we were good to go.

Of course, since I wasn't exactly expecting to go grocery shopping (I was just picking up a package, after all) I only came with a backpack and no wagon, so I was limited in what I could take, especially since cans aren't light. I filled up my backpack and put some stuff in grocery bags and brought these home.

What did I get? As you can see, lots and lots of canned apricots. These, actually, excited me the most. I don't generally see these being sold, and they make me think of childhood, for some reason. Also, the cans were quite large, and upon searching for how much these generally cost locally, I found that they go for approximately $2.50 per can. And all the cans at the scratch and dent store cost 95 cents. I felt that I should probably buy a little more variety and not just canned apricots, so I also bought cans of corn, peas, baked beans, and pickles. These generally cost anywhere from $1.75 to $2.50, so 95 cents was great.

I got them home and my family really enjoyed them, because when someone in the family wants something to eat and I am not able to prepare something right then, they can and have just opened cans and helped themselves. Canned apricots were a big hit with my kids.

Last night, though, I suddenly had this craving for something sweet and fruity, and went over to the shelf to get some canned apricots and noticed that we were all out, and helped myself to an apple instead, which didn't do the same trick, not at all. 

Today I went to the city to go to an appointment and on my way back I decided that if I was anyhow in the city I might as well make a small detour to check out the scratch and dent store again. Ok, confession. I had one scratch and dent store along my bus route, right near where I needed to transfer buses, and I checked out their stock and they didn't have anything that remotely appealed to me, so I was hoping for better luck at this store.

I was not disappointed. 

I was happy to see that their supply of cans had been replenished (I pretty much emptied out the shelf the last time I had been there) and that they had more canned apricots, so I could finally satiate that craving that I had.

In addition to apricots they had apple sauce, tomato paste, mushrooms, corn, and peas and carrots, all being sold for 95 cents a can instead of their usual $1.75 to $2.50. I got the limit of what I thought I could carry. 

They also had canned pineapple, which wasn't as cheap as 95 cents per can, but only $1.40 instead of their usual $2.50, so I got two cans of them.

They had Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal being sold for $1.90 a box if you bought 3, which is a decent price, but I wasn't sure if my kids would enjoy them, but then the proprietor told me to take them for $1.40 each if I bought 4, so I figured, why not.

Taking them home... well, let's just say that I learned my lesson about going shopping without a wagon.

My backpack had had a rip along where one strap connected to it, but I'd been using the other strap to hold it. 

I filled my backpack with a bunch of cans, and double bagged another bag with some more cans, and then had another bag filled with the cereal.

It wasn't long after I started on my way home that the second strap on my backpack ripped off  90% of the way. I started holding the backpack from the loop at the top and then that started making small ripping noises!

Then to add insult to injury, the double bag of cans ripped, letting cans tumble everywhere. I tied the hole shut, trying to see if I could make it home a bit further, putting a few cans into the bag with the cereal to keep the weight off the already compromised bag. Then the knot opened up and they tumbled again. Fortunately, the second time tying it actually stayed. But then the bag holding the cereal decided to rip open and fall all over. At this point I asked someone walking nearby if she had a spare bag and fortunately she did, so I put the cereal bag inside that bag and very carefully, making sure not to hold the bags for too long, lest they rip, but also putting it down very gingerly so scraping the sidewalk wouldn't weaken the bag...

I made it home with the groceries and then wrote up this post... but next time, only shopping with a wagon, no matter how great the sale.

I keep discovering new scratch and dent stores this way. People ask me if I know of scratch and dent stores in their area, but I only know of ones in my city because people tell me about them or I stumble across them. I'm sure there are ones all over, because obviously there is a market for this type of thing, but I don't know how to find a list of such stores so I can help people find them in their locale. 

Do you shop at scratch and dent stores? How do you find these stores?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Maybe there are scratch and dent stores in Scranton, but we don't have them here. But grocery stores have a section where you can buy dented cans...and if you ask, store people here are really helpful.
    The local thrift shop has started leaving out a table-full of canned goods for people to just take. It's a great idea and means that nobody's embarrassed. (There's some food shaming going on here, by people who can afford top-quality food and restaurant meals against those who can't. Sigh. Some people need to work on empathy.)

  2. What a haul! Your trip home sounds like one of those days. But how great to find new stores. I didn't know that dented cans were safe, I thought it was dents or bulges, so thank you!

  3. I wish we had scratch and dent here in Nova Scotia Canada but they don't. We have clearance stores. However nothing like scratch and dent. I just have to wait for major sales. I need to start a price book again. Hard though where prices keep rising here. In season on sale we pay 2.99 for a cauliflower off season we pay 6.99-7.99 per head. Crazy right. Meats are crazy too so I am using more beans in our diet. I have gotten a lot from your posts. Thanks for sharing. Sorry you struggled with the cans. I have done that so many times lol. Hang in there momma, you are doing a great job.

  4. Oh I feel your pain when bags break, hauling heavy groceries without a cart, oof!

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