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Damn the grocery story planner!

I have not met the person who planned the layout of the local Kroger, but I know he or she is an evil, evil person. Planted right in the middle of the aisle between the frozen meats and the dairy section at the back of the store stands this:

Bakery Markdown!

The Manager’s Special Bakery Markdown cart! It combines two of my most favorite things: deals and baked goods! Sadly, there is no easy way to avoid the bakery markdown cart. It sits at the end of the organic foods aisle, so I see it whenever I go to buy healthy Greek yogurt. It lies in wait next to the dairy freezer, so if I want to buy milk or cottage cheese or eggs, I have to walk within sight of it. And the Manager’s Special Bakery Markdown cart does not haunt the aisles alone! As you can see, the big, fat candy table lies just behind it, piled high with Kit Kats and Crunch bars, oh my!

I have not yet purchased anything off of the Manager’s Special Bakery Markdown cart, but I have wanted to. Oh dear God, I have wanted to. Sometimes there are entire birthday cakes for sale at half price. Yesterday I saw a pumpkin pie with delightful dollops of icing carefully topping it. There are sweet breads and buns and cookies. You never know what will be on the cart, but you know it will be tempting. Still, every time I visit the grocery store I have managed to pass up the savings and cinnamon rolls. I fear someday I might crack, but until then, wish me luck!

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45 Comments

cathleen • August 31, 2009 at 9:08 am

Can you push it out of sight?

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NY,NY • August 31, 2009 at 9:47 am

Think about this….stale, week old gummy pumpkin pie and cinnamon rolls full of things that are really, really bad for you, and not found in nature. This is NOT stuff you want to eat. blech.

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Heather • August 31, 2009 at 9:51 am

Just make it off limits, as you’ve done so far. You won’t crack. That stuff always looks way better than it is. You don’t realize it until you’re about 1500 calories in, and then you eat another 1000 calories just to make sure, and then another 800 from sheer momentum, and then whatever’s left to avoid hurting the pie or cake’s feelings.

The fact remains: grocery bakery goods are usually not all that good. Really, if you have to put icing on your pumpkin pie, there’s something wrong with your pumpkin pie.

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Diane Fit to the Finish • August 31, 2009 at 9:55 am

In my morbidly obese days, I would literally buy half the cart, and eat most of it in the car on the way home. Messy to be sure, but then I didn’t have to tell hubby what I had done.

That’s assuming he didn’t notice the icing smeared on my jumper!

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Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit • August 31, 2009 at 9:57 am

Probably the best thing you could do is buy something and eat it. Nothing like week-old crappy pastries to put you off the stuff for good…

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moonduster (Becky) • August 31, 2009 at 10:07 am

I know exactly how that feels!

I read the words “cinnamon rolls” in your post and now my stomach is growling and my mouth is salivating. I’m going to have to think up a substitute recipe for a healthier way to have those!

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Rhonda • August 31, 2009 at 10:10 am

Send some of that resolve this way- wouldja?

Good for you!

Rhonda

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Bethany • August 31, 2009 at 10:35 am

I think you should take tkae fruits and veggies and put them on the cart for fun. if you do it often enough maybe they will move it. OR put signs and complain asking if the baked goods are dairy or meat if not they need to go to thier proper aisle.if they are infront of the organics start questioning the organic content of them if they are not organic make them move the cart back to the bakery where it belongs. I have a gluten allergy and my store put a regular cereal diplay infront of the gluten free foods sign and I made them move it because its mean and deceptive and I could have bought and eaten them by mistake adn been sick. same thing here. but I’m an angry consumer so not always sure how sane my ideas are

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Ishmael • August 31, 2009 at 10:52 am

All too familiar a temptation. Am about to bike my way to supermarket right now to buy the week’s veggies and snacks. I hope I can make it past the vegan baked goods section with the same resolve you get past the marked-down items. Your trigger is a sale and baked goods. For me it’s the word vegan and baked goods. Somehow I’ve convinced myself that if it’s vegan, it’s ok to eat it — even if it’s a brownie, full of calories and wacky, chemical-based oils (as opposed to calories and old-fashioned eggs and butter). The mind is so strange.

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Merry • August 31, 2009 at 10:53 am

I’m proud of you for not mentioning even once that the stand of Bakery Temptationy goods is parked right in front of what looks like an enormous display of chocolate bars.

(Which I really hope is not being put out there in anticipation of Halloween. There are some items you can buy early — food should /not/ be one of them!)

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Laura P • August 31, 2009 at 11:08 am

Ooooo, that is evil! I’m thankful that my grocery store at least has the decency to put sale baked goods in the back of the store somewhere.

I’ve been known to pick up a box of turtle brownies, wheel them around the store for awhile, then take them back. Unfortunately, I take them home more often than I return them/

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Katharine • August 31, 2009 at 11:15 am

What saves me from succumbing to temptations like that is doing my grocery shopping online. Magical calorie-, sugar-, and cholesterol-laden treats do not appear onscreen unless I actively search for them. And then friendly deliverypeople bring bags of groceries, minus junk food, to my door. I don’t have to stand on line (translation for those who don’t live on New York’s Long Island: stand in line) and don’t have to fight my way through the aisles. Too bad there aren’t grocery-delivery services in every part of the country.

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Flora • August 31, 2009 at 11:23 am

If you really take the time to taste some of that marked-down bakery stuff, you realize how crappy it is and how it really has no flavor other than sugar and cheap grease.

Sit down with a stale donut sometime and go through the whole mindful-eating routine: turn it over and feel the tackiness of the glaze on your fingers. Smell the aroma of stale shortening. Bite in and see if you can taste anything other than flour, the stale shortening, corn syrup, and that weird artificial perfume all grocery pastries seem to have. Pay special attention to the nasty, sour, chemical-ly aftertaste. And especially pay attention to how sluggish you feel after eating it.

Next time you’re tempted by the bakery cart, think of that aftertaste and of how you feel after you eat those things.

At least that’s what worked for me, a former bakery-case addict.

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Lyn • August 31, 2009 at 11:32 am

Those things never taste as good as you think they will.

Do a spin on MizFit’s sticky note thing. Put notes all over the cart, with messages to those teetering on buying stuff:

You don’t need it!

Take a deep breath!

You’ll wish you hadn’t!

Stuff like that.

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Danielle • August 31, 2009 at 11:34 am

Good for you for passing on the stale, almost-gone-bad baked goods. Grocery store cakes and cookies are never usually worth the fat and calories even when they’re fresh. And certainly not once they’re stale. They use cheap, icky ingredients. Soooo not worth it.

If you really want a treat, go out for a *piece* of cake with a friend. It’ll be delicious and fun, and there’s no temptation to eat the whole cake.

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gknee • August 31, 2009 at 11:56 am

If you must eat this- at least buy the fresh stuff! Punishing yourself for wanting it by only buying the “buy it before we toss it” items is a waste of calories- in my humble opinion.

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Leslie • August 31, 2009 at 12:23 pm

You can do it, PQ! I do recall how you love pumpkin…so do I, so I began salivating just reading your post. There will always be something to woo us over to the dark side, damn it! You continue to be an inspiration.

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Ro • August 31, 2009 at 12:25 pm

lol! Sorry you have to see all that. My husband is a baker for Fry’s. They are day old things well at least the baked things. But the manager does have a say exactly where they position the carts to entice you. Yep! your will power is being tempted big time.

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Ro • August 31, 2009 at 12:29 pm

@Ro – Oh yea and never go shopping hungry!! Oh man that’s bad!! lol!!

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April • August 31, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I know the feeling about sell items and something you really like to eat. It is very hard to pass up these bargins but I’m trying. I just started a new journey toward loosing weight and getting healthier. I’m currently reading your book and finding it helping to inspire me to keep going. I have just start my own blog and I looking for some support to help me. But the reason I can here is to Thank You!

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SeaShore • August 31, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Hold your nose, avert your eyes, and run! RUN! It’s what I do *sigh*

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Quix • August 31, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Just convince yourself it’s poison. I did that with fast food and now when I run by Jack in the Box on my running route the smell that used to entice me in now makes me nauseous.

Yeah, I dunno how I did that either. I wish it worked on other things in my life too.

My favorite trick is to go to the grocery store after a filling meal. I didn’t do that this weekend and ended up with extras and spent more on stuff I was drooling over.

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rebecca • August 31, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Good luck resisting the temptation.

By the way, have you been able to lose any of the weight you regained when you were attacked by the Killer Headache? Do you think you’ll ever talk about the subject? Since many (if not most) of us were drawn to this site by your book and or diet adventures, I think you’d have an eager and receptive audience. And, as a long-time maintainer of an 85 pound loss (more than five years, and holding…) I’d be interested in what you have to say about “rebounding.”

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Mary • August 31, 2009 at 2:47 pm

You are making me glad I’m not much for baked goods!

My worst temptation is seasonal — cheap candy corn, and its friends Indian corn, Mellocreme pumpkins and (the worst) harvest mix (all three in one bag). It is impossible to eat just one (bag)!

Good Luck!

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Thealogian • August 31, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Its totally a scam! #1 they totally use psychologist and anthropologist to plan their grocery store layouts and indeed, the discounted pastry cart is also located at the end of the organic section in my Kroger as well, so its not a matter of “magic” or the generic twinkie Gods lulling you into their evil web, its the EVIL CORPORATE WANKERS trying to break down your will. Or, since you just bought those “organic” not-pop tarts, you might was well reward yourself for being virtuous by buying 1/2 a birthday cake to Shelia that didn’t sell. This is conscious and deliberate on the behalf of the vampire heart of Kroger management, not a weird coincidence that you in Indiana and me in Kentucky totally have to pass the same damn discount cart (which even more evilly, my contains both discounted organic stuff AND pastries). Will-power, smill-power–just get angry.

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Alecia • August 31, 2009 at 5:59 pm

@moonduster (Becky) – Yoplait makes a fat free Cinnamon Roll yogurt :-) In fact I just had some, not quite the same but good for a fix!

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Lainey • August 31, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Meh, tell yourself that the stuff on the markdown cart is probably stale. Then turn your nose up at it and walk haughtily away. ;o)

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Mary • August 31, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I know the cart well! and…speaking of Greek yoghurt, Costco now carries a 12 pack of greek yogurt (strawberry, blueberry and peach) for $12. Great price, and I’m on a mission to spread the word so they KEEP selling it. :)

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Jen S • August 31, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Girl, I hear ya!! I am also in Indy and I have to battle the marked-down baked goods too. Of course they stick it by the milk, which is something I buy every.single.trip.

And, stale baked goods are still mighty tasty. Well, I would usually eat all of them.

I just finished Half-Assed. Awesome book! I could really relate to it and recommending it all of my friends.

I loved how you said your obesity was in remission! What a statement! I am 10 lbs away from being merely overweight (as opposed to previously being morbidly obese) but will always have to think like an obese person to keep the weight off. It is so good to know I am not alone!

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Rahim • August 31, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Wow, I’ve heard of impulse items before, but that’s just down right evil. I patronize Kroger quite often myself. Have you ever seen the donuts that they put right up front before you get to the register? How about the apple pies that they sit out on Sundays? I run past those.

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Steph • August 31, 2009 at 9:34 pm

@Merry – She did. Didn’t you read the post?

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Shelley • August 31, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Oh, those stacks of candy. On the first day of school, my Kroger had all the school supplies shoved into a small corner to make way for the two aisles of Halloween candy that they need to put out, two months before Halloween. They know that people will buy it now, eat it, and then have to buy more. For the next two months. Evil.

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Kimberly • August 31, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Darn evil manager and his rack of delicious specials! There should be a law against such maniacal mayhem.

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gknee • August 31, 2009 at 10:56 pm

@Mary – wow– 2 each her own!! Those are things I never jones over. Now Licorice snaps– thats a whole ‘nuther story!

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Kellie • August 31, 2009 at 11:29 pm

@Lyn – Great idea with the notes! I would love to see a pic of that sign with your own “warning labels” all over it.

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Kellie • August 31, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Sometimes I think that donuts are following me. A couple of weeks ago at my WW meeting I decided that I wasn’t going to fall prey to the donuts at work anymore. After the meeting I went to the grocery store to get some produce and right as I walked in, there was a huge display of donuts! Then I went to use the restroom in the back of the store, which is located right behind the bakery, and all I could smell were the donuts. After leaving the store I drove past a billboard advertising a Dunkin Donuts! I then went to Starbucks for my latte and the first thing out of the cashiers mouth, was, “would you like to try a free pastry today?” I couldn’t believe it. So I just gave in and ate the darn thing.

Good for you for avoiding that cart. I don’t know if I could.

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Nutrition Guides • August 31, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Really it looks awful! damm!

I am happy for you avoiding that cart! in my case I will try my best to avoid as well!

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Olivia • September 1, 2009 at 8:21 am

Reminding myself that the backed goods on that cart are not fresh is what keeps me from buying. It may look tempting, but I’m sure it’s dry and stale.

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Kim • September 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Good for you!! I hate that cart too. There’s usually a table right when I walk in Publix. You HAVE to pass it to get in the store. And they always have cupcakes (my personal favorite) and those soft cookies that have the 1/2 inch thick icing. OMG.

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superpaige • September 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Good for you. I somehow can’t resist the bakery goods when they are on sale. I buy them “for the kids”. Ugh.

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Mary • September 2, 2009 at 2:04 pm

@gknee – Based how plentiful that stuff is after Halloween, I suspect I *am* the only one that likes it! Luckily, it is only once a year, and I have trained my sons to tell me I can’t have it. They adore bossing me around (two are 13 and one is 10), so that works pretty well. :)

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ChrissyS • September 2, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Had to write…Aug 22 I wrote the exact same thing in my (personal) journal! haha —

“I noticed the reduced baked goods at Walmart. Arggg, 2 of my favorite things..yummy baked goods, and a sale! But I resisted.

Thought that was funny. It wasn’t overly hard, bc the ‘new’ me wants the calories to really count. If I am having a treat, it has to be very worth it, maybe only a bite or 2, but certainly FRESH!

Good job, Jennette.

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FITYOUROLDJEANS • September 3, 2009 at 5:04 am

Everything in the grocery store is strategically placed to ensure that the customer sees and purchases these items. Coincidentally, it is always the foods that are the worst for us.

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Tiffany S. • September 5, 2009 at 1:44 am

Be strong PQ. Picture it covered with flies (do you need a shot of my bathroom b/c something crawled in there and died while we were having our house re-sided and we have a mega-fly infestation now. It’s the creepiest thing ever.

Now picture BAKED GOODS COVERED WITH FLIES.

*you’re welcome*

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Tiffany S. • September 5, 2009 at 1:45 am

Be strong PQ. Picture it covered with flies (do you need a shot of my bathroom b/c something crawled in there and died while we were having our house re-sided and we have a mega-fly infestation now. It’s the creepiest thing ever).

Now picture BAKED GOODS COVERED WITH FLIES.

*you’re welcome*

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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