a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Copy-Cat Holiday Treats:#7 of---7!

Keeping You Posted on Chocolate and Other Good Things to TR-eat—for yourself or others.

For what they are worth: Two final and potential copy-cats coupled with a suggestion and an observation.  It may seem like I am bashing the catalog business and I guess I am.

Please, before you order anything,  always find the details in the fine print!

In 1996 a long popular gift “basket” mail-order house sold really cute little metal pails, decorated for the holidays, filled with chocolate treats—foil-covered balls, Santas, etc.
These really cute pails sold for $6.50 each.

The fine print: The pail was only 2-1/4 inches tall. The 2-1/4 inch tall pail, filled to the brim and beyond, held between 3 and 4 ounces of foil-wrapped candies. 

You can do the math.

The very same year, the very same company featured a “Chocoholic’s Survival Kit” for $19.95. This kit was packaged in a cute dark chocolate brown (what looked like cardboard) box stenciled with it’s name and “a chocomaniacs” dream come true.” It contained 2 pounds + two ounces of Hershey’s kisses, M&Ms, chocolate balls, buttons and stars, malted milk balls, bridge mix, and foil-covered balls. Each type was individually bagged.

I am not a math major but I believe that works out to eight different types of chocolate weighing a total of 34 ounces.

Let’s do the math:

34 ounces divided by 8 (the number of different types of candy) = 4-1/4 ounces as the average weight of each bag.

$19.95 divided by 34 ounces = 59 cents per ounce

59 cents x 4.25 (average ounces per package) = $2.51 per 4-1/4 ounce package

$2.59 is probably close to the regular price (in 1996) for 14 to 16 ounces of each type of candy (and hopefully you could find at least some of it on sale!).

The Fine Print: 59 cents per ounce x 16 ounces (a pound) = $9.44 per pound for the contents of this gift kit.  Even at 2011's prices you can beat that!!!

In case you want to double check my figures, because of the fractions involved, my total works out to $20.06 for the price of the candy in their survival kit — 11 cents more. Also, I did not factor in the container and in all fairness that would make the candy cost a little less than 59 cents per ounce or $9.44 per pound. Still, you could make or buy a very nice container (even at non-garage sale or thrift store prices) and come out way ahead.  Oh, yes, once more, don’t forget to add shipping and handling.

IF time is more of a premium for you than money, then these catalogs offer a great service. Their products are usually high quality and the convenience is unbeatable. For many, however, financial savings is the most important and for others the joy of “doing it myself” is the great reward.

With the many years we spent on a budget just about as tight as it could get, doing whatever we could for ourselves was an absolute necessity. The surprise came when we discovered the great satisfaction that accompanied the doing. Money isn’t as tight now but doing-the-best-we-can-on-as-little-as we-can is a habit, still a great challenge, and still a source of much satisfaction.

And now, that I have spent many days showing you how to make “things and stuff” for holiday giving and eating, I hope that as the season approaches you will find time, make time, give time, in seeking for the true spirit of the season. 

‘til we eat again,
          Simply, Gail

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