This “best buy” a Trojan horse



Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.” –  Matthew McConaughey

The darker colored meat was carefully sandwiched and concealed in the larger mountain of red fresh beef. There were three shelves of the product on display for sale. This was the “extra lean” selection.

S O  W H A T ‘ S   I N S I D E   Y O U R  B E E F  P A T T Y  ?

My partner Susan has chosen “Best Buy” as the photo prompt for our alternate website “Weekly Prompts”. Many times the challenges she chooses for the site are intuitive and uncanny in nature. This one is spot on the money!


Monday night is the day of the week I enjoy grilling and munching a juicy hamburger decked with onions, ketchup, cheese and green pickle relish. A side bowl of green lettuce complements the meal.

I have enjoyed grilling my burger on this night for many years and appreciate the fact that my extra lean beef is exactly that: “extra lean”.

Over time I have discovered that one store’s meat department fudges the truth about its extra lean rating. When I  pop the meat on the heated grill the unit’s drip tray fills with fat.

This empirical approach has taught me that one market is a tad more honest than the other. At least I thought it was until this incident took place. It now appears they are equally duplicitous and conniving.

This past Thursday in the early afternoon I shopped at my favorite Safeway super market  and purchased a package of product that provided the exact amount I needed to make my burger.

The color was perfect ( see the photo) and I told myself that I had been fortunate to have discovered this best buy for myself.

That evening after supper I put on my disposable latex gloves, carefully opened the package and began to make my burgers for this coming Monday’s meal. I removed the plastic wrap covering the container and started forming the hamburger patties.

As I soon as I separated some of the meat I noticed that the color of the meat inside the mountain of beef was darker than the exterior which as you can readily see was a bright red.

The inner parts of the product were black and looked totally unappetizing. I immediately felt I had been duped by someone in the store’s meat department.

It appeared to me that the discolored beef was carefully placed inside the outer curst and that a massive amount of the healthy meat completely covered the less than desirable inner part.

Early Friday morning I returned to the store with the meat and spoke with someone at the service desk. I wanted to report this situation in case another customer had bought beef from the same lot and became ill.

The woman behind the store’s customer service desk gave me attitude and assured me that the discoloration of the produce was merely part of an oxidation process”. She assured me the off-color meat would eventually regain its healthy red color.

At that point her demeaning approach and flippant attitude began to irk me a little. I told her that “oxidation” may be a part of the overall problem but also added that appeared that this beef had been exposed too long in the grinding area.

I politely informed her that the discolored meat would never return to that robust and fresh state again. I do expect a bit of oxidation but not as much as someone tried to cover up in this instance.

I also asked this same “know-it-all” why the darkened meat was concealed from customers in such a mountain of healthy beef.  She did not answer the question herself. She became evasive and aloof.

At that point she referred me to the meat department supervisor whom she had paged over the intercom to answer my questions and concerns.

The department manageress was courteous, friendly and knowledgeable. She assured me that this type of problem had never been experienced before. She added she would look into the situation for me.

“The store’s meat products are prepared according to standards” she told me.

I assured her I did not question the stores meat preparation standards only the person who had tried to conceal this less than acceptable meat offering from the buying public.

The customer would not be able to visually detect this problem in the store. Sometimes meat departments use sleight of hand to promote a sale at the customer’s expense.

It seems that once the product is out the door sales have been met for the week. Product returns are another department’s problem.

I returned the beef to the store and got my refund. I could have simply asked for a refund with no questions asked but that is not my style.  —  gc



Photo Challenge Best Buy




  1. You did the right thing taking it back. We all know beef is better for hanging awhile and slight discolouration does not necessarily mean the meat is off. I rarely cook fresh beef that looks as though it walked to the counter! 🐂

    I agree , this was a deliberate attempt to conceal darkened meat. Let’s face it, customers would not have purchased it if it had been on view. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly Susan. As I told you the price was not discounted, the “best By” date was three days away and the regular-lean-extra lean choices all had that bright red glean. Buyer Beware and complain a lot!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You did, and I’m glad you took it back.

        As you know my late father-in-law had a butchery business and it was sad to watch the big supermarkets take over his trade.

        There is nothing finer than buying fresh meat from the local butchers down the road.

        We still have plenty of them left, weighing out the exact amount you require and packing it into a bag in full view. 🐄🐖🐑.

        So often though I go for convenience simply because all is under one roof. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • My uncle owned a small neighborhood grocery store years ago ( and I do mean years). His cuts of meat were choice ( a best buy), his fruits and veggies top notch and of course you could return a purchase if dissatisfied no questions asked. He allowed credit to his customers and was well known in the area. The mega markets and malls ended his business. The convenience of having things under one roof is that the quality suffers and customer dissatisfaction tends to dip. Good article Susan. xx

          Liked by 1 person

    • Your view is 100 per cent correct. I had been told by a few of the department heads ( meat and veggie sections) that district managers encourage their staff to promote the old items first and just tell customers “just bring it back if you don’t like it.” As you indicated a very sad state of affairs.


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