How Expensive Gasoline Made My Day A Little More Fun

by Katy on November 5, 2008 · 7 comments



I do most of my food shopping at the local Safeway. I’ve been going there for 14 years, and I like that they’re all union workers and have very little turnover. I know where everything is located, it’s relatively cheap, and I can zip in and out with minimal fuss.

But there are a few food items we pick up elsewhere. In particular are Asian foods. My sons are in a Japanese language immersion program, and as a result we’ve been the host family a few times for teachers who visit for the year. This got us hooked on a few key ingredients.

Without which, we go into withdrawal.

There are a few close-by Asian grocery stores, but they mostly sell for the Southeast Asian community. The one Japanese supermarket, (and indeed, it is super.) is pretty far from the house. A schlep for sure, that can eat up the better part of a day, and the better part of a gas tank.

I’m so much more aware of gasoline usage than I was even a year ago. So I’ll only go there if it’s combined with other errands in the same general area. And frankly, it’s located in the suburbs, and I have little to no reason to be out there.

However, there’s a new Asian supermarket not far from the house that I hadn’t tried yet. I knew it mostly served the Vietnamese community, but I thought I’d give it a whirl. 

The drive was ten minutes tops, which is a huge plus in my book. And parking was plentiful.

I walked in and knew I’d found something special.

It was huge, clean and super-de-duper cheap. I bought a three-pack of red peppers for $1.31, and an enormous head of green leaf lettuce for 88 cents. (We were able to make three family size salads from it!)

Of course I bought my staples — Asian hot sauce, vinegar, sweet chili sauce and furekake. I sprang for a packet of Pokky’s, which brought no end of delight to my kids that evening. And there were tons of Japanese products, as well as Korean, Vietnamese and Filipino.

It put me in such a great mood to know this wonderful resource was close to the house. Had gasoline been cheap, I would have been willing to drive way across town to grocery shop. And I would never have made this terrific discovery.

And should I want to batch errands with my next trip, there is a Goodwill up the road . . . .

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara November 6, 2008 at 8:29 am

I too love the produce section at the Asian Market I go to, which is also Vietnamese owned. The green are great stir-fried and a bag of super fresh mung bean sprout are only a 1.50. The produce at our store is only delivered once a week and sells out pretty fast so you have to get there when the getting is good. If you haven’t tried all the different Asian vegetables do so because you may find one you like . We tried fresh longan berries recently and became fans.


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl November 6, 2008 at 11:03 am

Sweet! I’ve found that I’m waaay more aware of where I drive now. Gas prices are falling in a delightful way, but I’m still being really careful about where I drive.


Heather November 6, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Hi Katy! It’s awesome to find a nearby place that supplies those hard-to-locate but essential items that make life worth living. 🙂 I love your bunching-errands idea, and I’m going to go one step further and put out the bike-with-a-trailer idea (or bike bags), if it’s close enough and time allows. There is a great resource in Portland that will tell you how to get just about anywhere safely by bike: Just select “Portland” as a region (for some reason, it covers Portland, OR and Milwaukee, WI) and then click on “Find Route.” You can even pick “normal” or “safer.” I loved this resource and am really missing it (and TriMet, too) now that I have moved to Michigan.

I love your blog and will continue to follow it from out here. My mom and I had a good drive out and she just flew back home today, so I started investigating some local possibilities for Compact-style living. I found out there is a freecycle group in Traverse City, so I’m looking forward to checking that out!

I did make a little blog, which is more of a travelogue at this point, but it’s at if you want to check it out.

Blog on, Katy! You are an inspiration.


Magdalena Julie Bragdon Perks November 7, 2008 at 1:36 pm

You make me want to move to the west coast! Since we are not driving right now, and I am definitely going to bunch the errands when taking the bus or on foot, I always carry a couple of canvas shopping bags in my backpack. Husband will go along if anything is going to be really heavy. For big items or a lot of errands, I use my old packbasket.


Marcy May 5, 2009 at 7:27 am

I’m in so much suspense; what’s the name of the new market?


thenonconsumeradvocate May 5, 2009 at 8:07 am

The Asian supermarket is called “Fubonn.” It’s in the photo above and here’s a link:

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


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