I went to Fairway Market in Paramus today with a $10-off coupon I had received in the mail. All I had to do was spend $100, which I found easy by stocking up on some favorite items. And by making a list, I spent only $1.29 over $100, in contrast to the first time I tried this and went $10 to $15 over.
I bought seven jars of pasta sauce, on sale at $2.49 each; seven one-pound packages of salted cod, $8.99 each; about six pounds of Murray's drug-free chicken wings and three Murray's leg quarters, $13.45 and $3.50, respectively; a Fairway baguette, 99 cents; and Campari herbicide-free tomatoes, $2.99. Only the baguette wasn't on my list.
With the coupon, my total was $91.29. But I was torn about buying wings, because Fairway prices them much higher than Murray's thighs, legs and leg quarters. I bought the family pack for $2.49 a pound; smaller quantities are priced at $2.69 a pound, a full dollar above the other parts.
After I checked out, I asked a woman who identified herself as a manager why the wings were priced so high. She seemed surprised and said she didn't know. Maybe the chickens put up a bigger fight over their wings than over their other parts. Or maybe it's just a rip-off.
I still don't feel warm all over about New York-based Fairway opening a store in North Jersey, even though I shopped for years at its Harlem store. The Paramus outpost is six miles from my home in Hackensack, in the dowdy Fashion Center, compared to just over a mile to Whole Foods Market in Parmaus and between one and two miles to three ShopRites. And I can't help feel a chill from some of the snooty shoppers and the unhelpful store personnel.
On top of all that, Fairway doesn't have a large selection of antibiotic-free poultry and meats, compared to Whole Foods, and some of the items it does have are priced higher than such competitors as Trader Joe's. I saw three brands of uncured, preservative-free bacon, but they were all 12 ounces, not the 16 ounces sold at Trader Joe's for less.