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Hints From Heloise: When to return fresh produce

DEAR HELOISE: When is it OK to return fresh produce or fresh meat to the grocery store? Obviously if it’s spoiled, but what if the produce has no taste? Example: A watermelon or peaches. Sometimes they have no taste, and peaches can be mealy or dry.

What if the meat is tough? I realize the grocers have little control over this. With peaches, if one or two aren’t good, I can return the leftover fruit. With meat, we eat it anyway and there’s nothing to return.

Wants to Do the Right Thing, via email

DEAR RIGHT THING: Great question! I have returned produce – some tomatoes, etc., that were just awful. The produce manager even agreed with me.

Most stores are happy to either replace or refund the price of the item.

Meat may be a different story, especially if you have eaten the whole thing. That’s a little hard for a manager to “swallow,” if you will pardon the pun. Something that is costly, such as meat, is a lot to ask the store to refund in this situation.

It may have been just that cut, the way it was cooked – there are too many variables. If this happens several times with the same cut of meat, from the same store, ask the butcher! That’s why they are there.

P.S.: Readers, want to weight in? How would you handle this situation, and has it happened to you? Butchers and managers, I’d love to hear from you and print your replies. That’s what this column is for.

DEAR HELOISE: I enjoy your hints in The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review. Sorting socks after washing was tedious, and losing one of a pair was common.

I solved both by keeping safety pins in my sock drawer. Simply pin a pair together and send down the laundry chute. Automatically sorted. No more lonely single socks.

Dr. William D.,

Spokane, Wash.

Send a money-saving hint to Heloise P.O. Box 795000 San Antonio, TX 78279-5000.