Have your hands gotten bigger? No, your ice cream's gotten smaller!


I've discovered that one of the joys of city shopping is that, rather than relying on one or two stores for all purchases, city shoppers get to go to dozens of stores, each of which carries one or two items. While some people may be able to resist the siren call of the specialty joint, I can't. Having discovered the perfect cheese shop or the best place for pesto, I always feel like I'm cheating myself if I go back to the supermarket. This, by the way, is one of the reasons that it takes me an insanely large amount of time to shop.

One of my specialty stores is the Indian market around the corner. They have great spices, outstanding flatbreads, superb desserts, and amazing samosas. The thing that keeps me coming back, though, is the almonds. The Naveen market's almonds are perfectly crunchy and have a great taste. Now that I've gotten used to them, I can't even imagine going back to stale almonds that taste like cardboard. Added to the great taste and texture, there's also the fact that the Indian store has great prices on almonds. When I first bought the nuts, they were going for $5.99 a pound and $8.99 for two pounds, prices that are insanely good for my area.

A few weeks ago, though, the market started trying to pull a fast one on me. Although their prices remained constant -- $5.99 for the small bag and $8.99 for the large bag -- they reduced the weight of their products. The small bag now contained 14 ounces and the large bag contained 28 ounces. Given that I was now getting a quarter of a pound fewer almonds for my $8.99, this was a markup of roughly 13%. I tried other stores and other almonds, but I eventually returned. The Naveen market was still charging the lowest prices and they still had the best almonds. I wasn't happy about it, but there it was -- I was stuck with paying nine bucks for the 28-ounce bag.