Economy Causing Problems At Checkout Counter

Saturday, November 8th 2008, 5:24 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- New numbers show how the economy is affecting Green Country consumers and it's hitting them especially hard at the checkout counter.

According to the latest News On 6, Tulsa World Oklahoma Poll, 54% of people say they've changed their food buying habits in recent months because of the worsening economy.

The economic downtown and the food price upswing is a double-burden for many families. The News On 6 spent Saturday afternoon finding out what they're doing to stretch their dollars.

Walking down the grocery aisle, regular folks are doing double-takes at the prices.

Grandmother Linda Blackburn says it's especially hard because the staples, milk and meat have gone up the most.

"Family, to have people over for dinner, just costs so much more than it normally does, so you have to think about what you can do, like casserole dishes, to make it go a lot further," said Blackburn.

Even her grandson seems to understand that the economy is pulling on our pocketbooks.

"I try to avoid junk food now, and stick to the basic products that we need. Milk, you know, juice for the child," said Blackburn.

The check-out sequence is tried-and-true, but these numbers are turning shoppers blue.

Kevin Ranallo says two years ago his weekly shopping list cost $100, now the same items cost $150.

"I'm looking at more generic items, the Best Choice, the Always Save. Some of the higher quality meats, you know, the kosher meats, definitely cutting back on some of that," said Ranallo.

The same goes for 94-year-old Loron Smith who says he relies on sales and weekly coupons.

One way Green Country is tightening its belt is on the conveyer belt.

All the customers The News On 6 talked to say they're hopeful food prices will go down soon because of the drop-off in gas prices.

Store employees say companies have to lock-in fuel rates for shipping well in advance so it can take several months before cheap gas on the roads correlate to cheap milk at the store.