Cheap turkey tempts former Alaskan

Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- It's been a few years since Scotty Dawkins left the 49th state, but he still remembers the great turkey prices offered by Alaska stores at Thanksgiving time. So he ordered one.

Dawkins, now living in Leland, Mich., grew disgusted with the high local cost of turkeys -- over $1 per pound at two supermarkets and 59 cents at a third. So he called Carrs in Eagle River, learned turkeys were going for 33 cents a pound, and ordered a 20-pounder.

That was before he found out that the overnight shipping, the only way the turkey could be sent, would cost $123. He canceled his order.

''I wanted to make a statement but not that much of one,'' he said Tuesday from Michigan.

Dawkins, a former resident of Juneau and Palmer, worked for the Department of Law's consumer affairs division, which was later eliminated.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of turkey nationwide is 99 cents a pound.

In Alaska's larger communities, turkeys start as low as 27 cents a pound with qualifying purchases at Fred Meyer and 33 cents a pound for Club Card members at Safeway. Many supermarkets sell turkeys at low prices to entice people into their stores.

''Prices vary regionally,'' said Sherrie Rosenblatt, spokesman for the National Turkey Federation in Washington, D.C. Turkeys are plentiful this year, Rosenblatt added.

Bill McKenzie, a meat cutter at a Fairbanks Fred Meyer, said price doesn't seem to be very important to some shoppers. Fresh turkeys, which cost a lot more than frozen, have been very popular this year, along with flame-crafted hams that sell at $5.98 a pound.

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