While getting groceries yesterday, I was struck with a dilema in the produce section. I needed to pick up an onion. A single onion would do, really, since I only planned to use it for one meal and don't use onions that much to start with.
Spanish onions were $1.29 per pound, and getting only one of them cost me a grand total of $0.17. But yellow onions were selling at $1 for 3 pounds.
I was tempted to get the 3 pound bag of onions and just find ways to use them. I mainly wanted one to add some flavour to soup, and since I'm not a big onion fan anyway, adding more than just a little would probably spoil the soup for me. But I could probably add little bits of onion to other recipes. I'm planning on making a quiche next week, and I'm sure some little bits of onion could go in that. Normally Rachel pan fries potatoes with French onion soup mix, but fresh onions might be better, and it would be another way to help use up some potatoes.
And onion skins make a really good dye for wool yarn!
But did I really want that many onions around, especially when I didn't plan on using many. They could probably last for a long time in the fridge, I was sure, and 3 pounds of onions for only $1 was a good deal...
I hemmed and hawed over it for a while, but eventually decided against getting the bag, even though it was a much better deal. I only needed one small onion, after all, and although I was sure I could find uses for the rest of them, I couldn't guarantee it to myself. Likely some of them would end up being wasted and thrown out, so that would be wasted money as well as wasted food. Better to just buy the one onion when I need it and know I'll use it.
It taught me that sometimes what seems like a good deal actually isn't. It all depends on what use you'll get out of what you buy. The yellow onions were cheaper per weight, but when I didn't need that many and probably would use them all up before they started to go bad, it didn't seem like quite as good an investment. I got less, at a higher unit price, but at least I know I'm going to use what I bought and not waste any of it.
That, to my mind, is a better bargain.