Cereal is, in many ways, the people’s food. It’s easy to prepare, utterly satisfying, and, though charged with being a breakfast food, it is suitable for lunch, dinner, and even dessert (it’s truly a 24/7 food product). Cereal is staggering in its versatility: in a bowl with milk (duh), as gorp, mixed with melted marshmallows and turned into treats, eaten straight out of the box during Sunday night TV. It even, arguably, has a nice range in healthiness: your Special Ks and Grape-Nuts are heartily at the bottom of the food pyramid, while your your Captain Crunches and Apple Jacks hang out at the top.
But there is one thing keeping cereal from claiming its place as a true food of and for the people: price. This stuff is ridiculously expensive. A standard, major-brand box can go for $3 to $6 a box. Even the knock-offs (your Nutty Nuggets, Golden Puffs, Krusty O’s, and Cinnamon Toasters, which we all know just isn’t the same) usually only goes for a dollar less! Bulk packaging is available, of course, but variety is the spice of life! A lifetime supply of Oat O’s does not a fulfilling diet make.
But: I have a tip for keeping you in your cereal habit, even if you don’t have cash to burn. Before I moved to New York my mother gave me lots of advice I conveniently forgot, but I remembered one thing she said that has proven to be most useful. She told me: “Lindsey, always buy cereal in drugstores.” That’s right: Rite Aids and Duane Reades and Walgreens aren’t merely for prescription meds and late night Pringles, they are also your number one resource for CHEAP BRAND NAME CEREAL. You heard me: In a drugstore, cereal is always on sale.
I’ve brought cereal boxes to bars before, because I just couldn’t help stopping into the CVS to see if they had my favorite brands on sale (and also: I wanted a snack). My roommate calls me a cereal hoarder, but he just doesn’t understand the deals I’m getting. Plus: Cereal doesn’t (really) go bad! Stale cereal is just as edible as a freshly ripped-open bag. I’m basically running an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet with the amounts of Corn Flakes and Bran Krisps I hoard.
The drugstore is your friend, fellow cereal lover. It’s a way for even the most broke of us to keep our shelves in boxes of sugar and fortified-vitamins. Two-for-one deals are especially common, in my experience, which means you’ll be getting your beloved Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms and Special K with Berries for around $2 each. That’s a price for the people. (You usually have to sign up for the loyalty card or whatever the heck, but you should do this anyway.)
Lindsey Weber likes cereal.