Nearly all of us have dropped into a TJ Maxx or Marshalls hoping to peruse the aisles and find that one bargain that makes us feel like the ruler of wholesale pricing. These outings usually end with a new pair of shoes for that gym we joined yesterday, a set of heavily-discounted cookware for when we need to give a gift to someone we don’t know too well, and a Miami Dolphins T-shirt for so-and-so’s nephew that’s turning 11 next week.
But what happens to all of the treats that stare at you from the checkout counter? You know exactly which ones we’re talking about – those chocolate-covered licorice ropes and citrus cayenne jelly rings that make you wonder just how long they’ve been sitting on that shelf. At least one of those has got to be worth the calories, right?
We got curious (and hungry), so we headed out to our local TJ Maxx and picked up a few bites that were each under $5. Here’s what we thought:
1. Mandy’s Simply Sugar Cookie Thins
Super disappointing. These seem vaguely reminiscent of Ritz crackers with sugar, rather than salt. Since they’re supposed to be cookies and not crackers, they clearly missed the mark here. They eventually start to taste like a shortbread cookie, but that’s only after you’ve eaten 7 in a row because you figure you already spent the money on them. We’d only choose to eat these if we were stuck in standstill traffic and they happened to be sitting in the back of our glove compartment.
2. Lisa’s Sun Blushed Tomatoes & Herbs Organic Potato Chips
These were pretty good, and nearly exactly what we expected, except for a small sweetness. They’re crisp and airy and exactly what a chip is supposed to be. But, there was no “wow” factor. We probably wouldn’t seek these out as a go-to snack.
3. Anastasia Confection Key Lime Coconut Patties
Bad. Just completely awful. First of all, they’re as hard as a rock and so artificially lime green that they must have come from a line of Shrek merchandise circa 2001. (They also taste like they’ve been on the shelf since 2001.) Second, there is such a coconut/key lime/chemical vibe going on here that it’s overwhelming and offensive. The only conceivable way these could be eaten is if the consumer is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and clearly can’t tell the difference between right and wrong.
4. Hardbite Drop’n Mad Beets Handcrafted-Style Chips
Interesting, and not what we expected. These chips were very sweet and chewy, which typically isn’t a quality that’s sought out in a chip. Then again, if you’re the type to pick up a bag of beet chips, you’re probably up for the adventure. Weirdly enough, for a chip whose only ingredients include beets, oils, and salt, there’s an unpleasant chemical aftertaste. Although, to be perfectly honest, the chip’s biggest drawback is how stained it leaves your hands as soon as you reach into the bag.
5. i heart keenwah Almond Clusters
Wow! Incredibly yummy! We were already fans of quinoa, but these treats take the cake. These little clusters of fiber-packed love are exactly what we’d want as a pick-me-up snack. They’re sweet, but not overwhelming. They taste natural and healthy and actually are. Even though they’re so awesome that you wouldn’t want to stop sticking your hand in the bag, we were full and satisfied after just a handful.
Our favorite? The quinoa clusters, hands down. We’re already on our way back to TJ Maxx to scavenge for another pack.