Saturday, August 29, 2009

Searching for Back to School Savings in Southern New England

Article and photo (of Benny's) by Eric H.

Hard to believe that the school season is upon us, but that's strictly "academic" now.

With the abundant early season rain and oppressive late summer humidity making it hard to ever get any vacation momentum going for many of us in New England, the summer did indeed seem to go by too quickly. Now, with local school budgets unable to pay for many of our supplies, it's up to us to feed another retail cash cow in the form of back to school merchandise. In a recession, many people grumble about this extra cost -- as well as wonder, once again, what our tax dollars are going.

After an informal investigation into what local stores offer the best savings for back to school items, we found Benny's, a southern New England chain, to lead the pack. That's not to say that Benny's offers the best savings as we only checked out a handful of stores, but computing a list of several back to school necessities did suggest that Benny's is a strong contender. Plus, we like the small chain, personable feel of Benny's. It almost feels like shopping at a downtown department store from yesteryear!

Here is a list of items that schools typically require a child to have before returning to school, with an amazing total price following:

Two boxes of tissues
Two boxes of sanitizing wipes
A box of crayons (64 count)
A box of pencils (20 count)
A package of highlighters (three count)
A package of 10 markers (10 count)
Pencil sharpener
Cap erasers
Two lunch boxes

Total: $26.52 (not including tax)! That's a savings of about $10.00 from some other stores selling similar merchandise.

We certainly have no vested interest in Benny's -- nor are they advertiser's or personal friends -- so know the following statement to be "pure": time after time, we have found Benny's to offer what we are looking for at the right price. We also appreciate the old-fashioned friendly general store look. We generally like the hired help that prioritizes customer service and displaying the ability to speak and listen well. It's really no surprise that this southern New England chain survives quite well after being in business around 85 years!

You can find out more about Benny's (including store locations) by clicking on the link above.

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