Due to a major draught, the price of feed soared to the highest level on record this past August. Farmers can literally no longer afford to feed their livestock and sell it at a profit. While huge corporate distributors like Hormel and Tyson are still making a profit, many small farmers are not so lucky.

It’s not just a problem in the U.S. either. Russia, a major world producer of grain, has also been hit hard with draught. Canada leads the world in the exports of live piggies. That country’s two largest growers just went pork belly up.

In a rush to liquidate livestock in the U.S., 9.9 million hogs were hauled to the slaughter in early August – more than in any one month in history.   By the end of August, 31% more pork was produced that at the same time last year. September is also seeing record numbers. According to a whole slew of reports, this glut in “the other white meat,” is supposed to slash prices on pork products – for now.  Next year, prices are expected to skyrocket.

Bearing this in mind, folks are rushing out to stock up their freezers with bacon, ham and ye olde pork chops. if you want to join the herd, there are some good deals out there. There are also some prices that are not changing, and even going up already. My sister in Albuquerque noticed that a pound of bacon out there at local chain John Brooks went up precipitously. Not surprising maybe, since John Brooks cuts their own meat and buys locally out there.

Here in Los Angeles, Ralphs’ twelve ounce package of their Private Selection brand of Center Cut bacon is going for $3.99. Oscar Meyer’s Center Cut of the same size is $6.99. So is a package of Farmer Johns.

The pricing on Hormel is an interesting story. At Ralphs, Oscar Meyer and Farmer John were not on sale – a straight $6.99 – take it or leave it. Hormel, on the other hand, is $3.99, but it usually goes for $7.99. In fact, you can even get Hormel’s uncured bacon for the same price. Uncured usually costs more. Apparently Hormel is standing by its forecast of continued unprecedented profits in spite of the havoc in the wake of the draught. This quarter, the company enjoyed a 32% jump in operating profit due to the sale of Spam.

Smart and Final had the same pricing as Ralphs except that you can get two pounds of Farmer Johns or their First Street brand for $6.99.

Jons Market has Farmer Johns for $5.99; and, this week, they have a special (surprise!) on Farmland bacon of 2 for $6.

For my peeps around the U.S., the parent company for Ralphs is Kroger. In New Mexico it is Smiths. In other states it may be Dillons, Bakers, City Market, Fred Meyer, King Soopers and Frys to name a few of the many chains bought up by Kroger.

There you have it, folks. Make hay while the sun shines!  Later, we may all be eating Spam. 



These days, there are two reasons why it’s so difficult to buy clothes. First, when money is tight, a new dress or pair of pants ends up pretty far down on the priority list. Even though a person really could use a new outfit, other priorities take center stage and next thing you know, there’s none left for that look you want for your next audition, party, or event.

Second, you know how it is when you’ weigh a little more than you want to, so you don’t want to buy the bigger size than you’re used to because you know you’re gonna lose that extra; but, in the meantime, what do you do? Maybe you can’t even wear the stuff that’s already in your closet!

Well, all that describes the spot I was in when I discovered Karen’s Closet.

Everything in the store is $5.00, except for two things: accessories, which are $1.00, and shoes, which are $10.00. Got that! When I walked in, I wondered what the catch was.

I was greeted by the beautiful and friendly Shantal, and I fired all my questions at her. Why is everything so cheap? Are they irregulars? Shantal explained that the owners, who are plural, not female and not named Karen, are in the wholesale business downtown.

That’s how they can bring these great deals to their store at Pico and Mansfield. The inventory is overstock and could be anything from Arden B to Express to Lane Bryant to Charlotte Russe. You just never know what goodies are going to show up on the racks. A fresh batch of women’s apparel hits the store twice a week – Thursdays and Fridays.

Karen’s Closet gives no refunds and there are no exchanges. This naturally leads to the next question: Are there dressing rooms? Even though it’s only five bucks, I need for it to count. Shantal said, “No. There are no dressing rooms; but, you can try the clothes on.” Apparently, it was A-OK to find a spot in the store and go on ahead and try stuff on!  Whoa!

I looked around and saw that there were several ittle nooks and crannies…

There weren’t many people around…

I decided to go for it.

Lord knows, I’ve ended up changing in some crazy places, being in the entertainment biz, even though it’s supposed to be against union rules.

The thing for me was that I actually wanted to buy a dress, so this was going to be interesting. I tried the first one – so far so good. I was getting into my second option, when a couple came in. I backed up into the little alcove I was next to and struggled to get into some decent shape before they decided to head my way. The operation turned out to be a little dodgy, but I did manage to conceal the important bits without much attention.

The woman was busy singing passionately to the music that was wafting through the store and trying various articles over her own clothing to notice much. The mam was fixed on the racks of clothes as if on a mission to find something for his partner.

In light of all this, I would highly advise wearing clothes that you could try things on over when you shop here – maybe leggings and a camisole or something like that.

In the end, I came away with the perfect little day to night dress that could be made up or down for the unbelievable price of $5 – not irregular, nothing wrong with it – just a consolation prize for the scourge of overproduction.

Please note there are absolutely no refunds or exchanges. Plastic is accepted and there is no pesky minimum required to use it.

I have a feeling Karen’s Closet is going to be one of my top go-to places for fashion I can afford.


Karen’s Closet   5001 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, 90019  (map)

Phone: 323-930-1702

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. every day