Costco just announced it was bringing back its procrastinator's delight -- the quick and easy, all -encompassing Thanksgiving dinner for around $36.
At four bucks a pound, it is billed as having enough food to feed nine people. It will feature a boneless turkey breast, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, fresh vegetables, poultry gravy, and herbed stuffing (sorry, no pie).
It seems like a decent deal, especially when you start shopping around.
Most other stores in the area (Smith's, Walmart, Target, Albertsons) offer all the Thanksgiving fare you would expect, but you'll have to prepare it all yourself.
FinanceBuzz.com compared some of the local stores and had some interesting findings.
The cost of a turkey was the single biggest expense at every grocery store, with pumpkin pie as the second-largest line item. Gravy and vegetable sides, such as green beans and corn, tended to be the most affordable. On average, we found it costs a minimum of $45 to buy enough for an 8-person meal.
The Costco meal mentioned above was not what most Thanksgiving eaters would consider complete (no green bean casserole, no salad, no pie, no rolls), and when adding the "rest of the meal," Costco's total plumped up to near $9 per person.
Here are some of the other stores' Turkey Day costs, with the meal including turkey, potatoes and gravy, stuffing, rolls, vegetables and pumpkin pie:
- Albertsons -- $45.42 total, about $5.65 person
- Walmart -- $32.91 total, about $4.10 per person
- Smiths -- $36.33 total, about $4.55 per person
- Target -- $48.00 total, about $6.00 per person
- Lin's -- $38.00 total -- about $4.75 per person
The good news with all that is this: experts say the costs overall for Thanksgiving are down nearly five percent from a year ago.
Southern Utah Theaters Celebrating Christmas (But Sadly No 'Elf')
I was pretty pumped when I read this news story this morning on the wire:
"In the spirit of the holidays, the Empire State Building is marking 20 years since the movie 'Elf' hit the big screen. Festivities celebrating the film starring Will Ferrell kick off today. For tonight only, the building will be lit in green and yellow to commemorate the anniversary. As part of the celebration, “Elf” is coming back to the big screen. Starting Nov. 17, the Will Ferrell Christmas classic will return to participating theaters in celebration of its 20th anniversary."
But the excitement was short-lived as a quick search of our local theaters (I looked at the websites for Pineview, Sunset and Coral Cliffs) revealed that none of the three will be showing the incredibly funny Christmas movie.
The funny tale about the human elf and his journey to New York City to find his biological father would have been a perfect flick to show on the big screen while munching on some popcorn and sipping a soda.
But alas, no go. However, our local theaters are bringing back some old favorites just in time for the holiday season.
At Pineview and Sunset, both owned and operated by the Larry H. Miller Megaplex brand, Wonka, Saving Private Ryan (a favorite of mine) and Monty Python and the Holy Grail are back on the big screen, while we can also expect to see Christmas movies like The Grinch, A Christmas Story and Because of Bethlehem.
Also, I will admit that a new animated movie, Wish, comes out next week and it has me looking forward to witnessing what it means by the tagline, :"Be careful what you wish for."
As for Coral Cliffs in Hurricane, I didn't see any hint of Christmas movies on their way, although Wish will be there next week and a show is playing right now called The Great Turkey Town Miracle.
Maybe if enough of us request it, we can get them to bring Elf back on the big screen. It's the least they could do for the 20th anniversary.
Bella? Luna? Max? Utah Lacks Imagination When It Comes To Dog Names
Utah is an incredible place, with creative, funny and unique humans inhabiting the Beehive State.
But you wouldn't know it from our dogs' names.
While Utah parents are great at thinking outside of the box in naming our kids -- think Zephyr, Jaxson, Steele, Lakynn, etc. -- we are miserable when it comes to naming our dogs.
It's not necessarily that the names are bad, they're just, well, common.
The top four dog names in the United States are Bella, Luna, Max and Daisy. The top four dog names in Utah are Bella, Luna, Daisy and Max.
Exactly the same top four.
Utah produces such unique kids names like Taylee, Mahonri, Boztin, and Bracken for our kids. So why are we so bland when it comes to our pets?
On the list of top dog names, compiled by USNews.com, Utah's list reads like, well, pretty much everyone else's list.
In fact, Bella is the top dog name in 38 of the 51 states (we're counting Washington, D.C. here too). Luna, Utah's No. 2 name, was the top name in eight of the remaining 13 states. Only Charlie (Nebraska and North Dakota), Copper (Alaska), Boo (Hawaii) and Lucy (Iowa) had top names that weren't Bella or Luna (Bella was actually second in Alaska and Iowa and third in Hawaii).
Utah's No. 5 name, Bear, was a bit creative and is just the 17th most popular dog name in America, but I like Hawaii's list.
In the Aloha State, Boo (or Bu) is No. 1 and means buddy or good friend. Buddy was No. 2 in Hawaii, followed by Bella, Koa (Hawaiian for "warrior") and Coco (actually Koko, which means "blood" in Hawaiian).
But bonus points definitely go to the Klondike State. Alaska's Copper was not on any other state's top five list and didn't make the list of the top 100 names in the country.
Now that's unique.
By the way Wyoming, what's up with dogs named Chloe and Murphy? Sounds like characters from a 1980s sitcom.
Utah Costcos To Limit Turkey Purchases
Let's face it, if you're buying stuff at Costco, you probably are getting more than you need.
The old joke goes: "Hey I stopped in to Costco to buy a $200 gallon of milk." (In other words, I just needed a gallon of milk, but ended up buying $200 worth of other stuff, too).
But all joking aside, no matter how big your crowd is going to be, Costco had you covered.
Want 50 gallons of milk? No problem. Need 120 giant muffins? Go for it. Interested in an 83-inch television and 300 pounds of beef brisket? Costco has your back.
However, if you want a lot of turkey, well, you may have to shop around as Costco is limiting turkey purchases to 10 birds per customer.
With recent bird flu problems and supply chain issues, Costco is telling consumers to keep their purchases to just 10 turkeys.
However, according to Yahoo Finance, you can expect the best birds in the business: "In general, Costco’s quality of meats is far better than what you may find elsewhere,” consumer analyst Ramhold told Yahoo! “Often, the cuts are better and more consistent, and considering the name brand may be something like Butterball, you know what you’re getting. With the smoked turkeys, they’re Kirkland Signature brand, which is one of the best quality store brands out there, mostly because they often involve partnerships with the huge name brands familiar to many.”
As far as the rest of Thanksgiving dinner, well Costco is likely your best bet. Again, from YahooFinance.com.
10 Costco 2023 Thanksgiving Deals You Shouldn’t Pass Up
1. Echelon Foods Bacon-Wrapped Turducken
- Price: $119.99 each
According to this year’s Wells Fargo Thanksgiving report, turkeys are currently selling for about 16% cheaper per pound than they were last year. That’s good news for traditionalists, but for those looking to shake up the main attraction at Thanksgiving dinner, a frozen bacon-wrapped turducken roast (turkey/duck/chicken) filled with Italian sausage stuffing can be delivered to your door. This roast feeds up to 12 people and has a $30 manufacturer’s savings valid from Oct. 23 through Dec. 17 (while supplies last).
2. Kirkland Signature Roasted Turkey Breast
- Price: $4.79 per pound
If you missed out on Costco’s Thanksgiving meal kit (pre-orders had to be in by Nov. 5), you’ve still got options. And when the options require no prep and little cleanup, these Kirkland pre-cooked breasts offer a great and succulent substitute. Cheapism has these listed at $4.79 per pound but prices will vary depending on your zip code.
3. Eco-Foil Half Size Deep Steam Table Pan
- Price: $12.49 (30-pack)
Well, you’re not going to throw the turkey right on the rack, right? This 30-pack of American-made, 100% recycled aluminium pans has been reduced $2 through Nov. 16 online. That could last you the next 30 Thanksgiving dinners, but these steamers can be used for any large meat and veg feast in the oven or as serving dishes.
4. Chicken Broth
- Price: $11.99 (6 x 32 oz. cartons)
Purists will shy away from any shortcuts when it comes to gravy or stuffing, but if you’re in a pinch or need a reliable flavor boost, you can look to Kirkland (who else?) to lend a hand. Six 32 oz. cartons are available with 2-day delivery from the Costco site for just under $12.
5. Amylu Cranberry & Jalapeno Chicken Meatballs
- Price: $14.79 (46 oz. package)
If you need something to nosh on before the main event, Costco’s got you covered with these delicious cranberry and jalapeno chicken meatballs. Containing no antibiotics, nitrates or gluten, they’re the perfect snack or side dish that can be thrown in the slow cooker, away from the busy command center (oven and stove). Warehouse shopping will save you a bit of money on this item, claims the Costco site.
6. Fresh Gourmet Crispy Onions
- Price: Around $7 per package
Green Bean casserole has quietly become a favorite among Americans chowing down for Thanksgiving. However, if the dish isn’t topped with crispy onions, can you even call it a green bean casserole? Used as a topper for salads, burgers, veggies and, yes indeed, casseroles. Delicious on their own too!
7. Kirkland Pumpkin Spice Loaf
- Price: $9.99 each
Pumpkin pie is the standard, but this autumn alternative has become beloved by Costco holiday shoppers. Ready to serve, the Spice Loaf is seasoned exquisitely and topped with cream cheese icing and white chocolate shavings. Honestly, this is a new Thanksgiving tradition waiting to happen.
8. David’s Butter Pecan Meltaways
- Price: $33.99 (2 x 32 oz. tins)
You’ll probably find pecans on a casserole or in a pie as you gorge at Thanksgiving, but these stand-alone butter pecan meltaways from David’s will melt your heart. From now until Dec. 17, you can save $6 on a two-pack of 32 oz. tins (about 64 cookies per tin).
9. Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Dog Food
- Price: $54.99 (35-pound bag)
You treat your four legged furry friends as part of your family. So, why should they get saddled with table scraps during holiday meals? A 35-pound bag of Nature’s Domain Turkey & Sweet Potato Formula will give your dog a Thanksgiving meal that could rival your own, at a fraction of the cost of other brands.
10. Ziploc Seal Top Freezer Bags
- Price: $15.99 (4 x 54-count boxes)
Sending your loved ones home with leftovers is a noble gesture, but hosts with the most deserve keeping some of that delicious food for themselves too! Store and protect your goodies in Ziploc seal-top, one-quart freezer bags without worry. And getting 216 total bags for $15.99 ($3.80 off manufacturer’s savings valid through Nov. 19) means you should have enough left over for Thanksgivings to come.
Sick Of Self Checkout? These Stores Are Listening
The complaints are numerous when it comes to self checkout lanes in stores.
"It's too impersonal."
"It always glitches out."
"I hate having to scan things myself."
"Why is it telling me that I have to bag my gallon of milk?"
It won't take my discount/coupon."
And the list could go on and on.
Finally, some stores are listening. Led by the British supermarket chain Booths, retailers worldwide are starting to rethink the idea of self checkout.
Along with our complaints, many retail stores are finding the incidents of theft on the rise, or more accurately, the incidents of undercharging. Basically, some customers are getting more expensive items than they are paying for by purposely scanning the wrong bar codes.
Slowness has also been a problem, especially when it comes to buying items like alcohol or tobacco that require age verificati9n by a store associate.
In the United States, Walmart, Costco, Wegmans and other chains are revising their self-checkout strategies.
Walmart has removed self checkout lines in many of its New Mexico stores and promises more nationwide in the future. Costco is adding more employees in the "self checkout area" to expedite the process and Shoprite stores are also making moves to take out self checkouts.
The Atlantic sums it up nicely.
You know how this process actually goes by now: You still have to wait in line. The checkout kiosks bleat and flash when you fail to set a purchase down in the right spot. Scanning those items is sometimes a crapshoot—wave a barcode too vigorously in front of an uncooperative machine, and suddenly you’ve scanned it two or three times. Then you need to locate the usually lone employee charged with supervising all of the finicky kiosks, who will radiate exasperation at you while scanning her ID badge and tapping the kiosk’s touch screen from pure muscle memory. If you want to buy something that even might carry some kind of arbitrary purchase restriction—not just obvious things such as alcohol, but also products as seemingly innocuous as a generic antihistamine—well, maybe don’t do that.
All these moves do not signal the end of self checkout, but at least retailers are recognizing that the system as it is does not work. It is broken and needs fixing.
What that will take is anyone's guess, but at least they're acknowledging there is a problem.
Some common (and funny) memes about self checkout: