A few months ago I received a call from my Marketing Director T and she had just learned a great new secret while shopping at her HEB.
It seems that all HEB's work this way... if you find something on their shelf that has expired--meat, bakery items, cheese, deli items, etc (anything with an expiration date) they will give you a free one that is not expired.
Yes, that's correct.
They see it as a way to ensure they don't sell something that isn't fresh and they are willing to compensate you for the trouble. That may not be their philosophy exactly, but it is how it works.
I've heard from at least two of the sisters on this topic, not that they are nuns, but that they are related...and they have regularly benefited from this policy. In fact K's boys love to work through the bakery section and see what sort of baked goods they can find. For these boys it is an adventure that is not to be missed. She says they almost always come away with something.
Their family has also benefited from finding out of date sausage packages.
T witnessed a customer with multiple cheesecakes from the deli section that had expired and she walked away with quite a bit of free product. Which after she explained it all to T, she was planning to put into her freezer for a later event.
So how do you make it work? If you find an expired item, place it in your basket along with a fresh one. When you get to the register (please don't do this in the express lane) explain to the cashier what's up and they may need to call the CSM over, but then your fresh item goes into your bag, the expired one goes away.
I called K this evening after I noticed some hams at Randall's were getting along toward their expiration date. Randalls does not have this policy that I know of. However, if the hams are getting old at Randalls they are likely getting old at HEB too. Easter was all those weeks ago; ok only two.
If you don't think it's worth all the trouble and time of looking through the hams. The spiral hams are already $10 off, with a yellow store coupon, so you could purchase a half spiral ham and divide it up into weekly sized packages and put them in your freezer.
Think it sounds complicated? Nah... tear a bunch of pieces of wax paper about 6"in length. Then cut the ham off the center bone, it's already sliced. So then just place 5-6 pieces of ham on a strip of wax paper, fold over and place in a ziploc bag.
When you are ready to have a sandwich you can take out a package, because of the wrapped wax paper, they wont stick together in the freezer with the other packets and it won't go bad while you use up those few slices. When you are ready for more, back to the freezer you go.
How's that for a budget stretcher? I have yet to find anything at my store, but I am far from an early bird at my store. I'd guess there are people who live closer who know about this already and take appropriate advantage. Or perhaps the store employees are working their shelves more thoroughly than other stores.