Grocery store

Are you talking to me?

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    As I made my way through the grocers on Friday, it appeared that I had broken out in the words, “Talk to me.” At first it seemed kind of random, and then it became kind of creepy. I am uncertain why people I don’t know like to begin conversations with me. Some of the conversations are to my face and some have been to the back of my head, and while I was leaning over to check the beef selections, there was even one to my butt. Each time, to make sure I was not being rude, disrespectful to my elders, I responded with the same question, “Are you talking to me?”
    Evidently, the older gentlemen picking sweet potatoes, was conversing with me. It seemed to be a burden on his mind that “people need to get right, because the end is coming near.” I looked to my left, then right, and even over my shoulder. “I’m sorry, are you talking to me?” He was, and the price of sweet potatoes triggered some mental flash in him that the end of the world is coming because both sweet and white potatoes prices were on the rise. After he left, I went over to make sure that one of the sweet potatoes didn’t have an image of the Virgin Mary in it. No, it was just random.
    Milling my way through the fresh produce and down the canned goods aisles, Grandma Mazur decided to stop me so I could help her find a can of red salmon. However, the conversation first started with how all the stores carried the pink and not the red. Not meaning to frown, I asked, “are you talking to me?” She was angry and frustrated and just wanted some red salmon. I pointed to the red can and even went as far to hand it to her. They were the only red cans of salmon, ergo, red salmon, so calm down lady.
    It just got stranger from there. I was asked did I know how to make weenie stew. I have never heard of such but figured it required beef franks instead of the normal hot dogs. Another lady wanted tomato paste in the tube; do they even make that? I was polite and told her to try Publix or fresh market since that was a specialty item. If she shopped in this store often, she could ask the manager to order it for her. “That’s what they did in the Tobacco Road store, they ordered me some polenta,” she smiled and continued, with unbridled excitement, “it came in real quick like too!” Yes, it was uncomfortable to me too. Even more uncomfortable was me bending over the beef bin and hearing, “yeah, that looks real tasty.”
    I turned to find a diminutive version of my grandfather eyeing the rump roast. Or was he eyeing my rump? I refused to ask if he was talking to me because the mental implication was just too creepy and gross to fathom. I am not certain what it is about me that prompts spontaneous conversation, but it happens to me all the time. I must have a friendly face or a Doppelganger that needs to learn to shut the bleep up. It is even funnier to me that although I am polite and answer, most people would leave me be, if the only knew what I was just thinking.



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Coupons, BOGO, and 10 for $10

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     It is not uncommon in the grocery isle to find someone with a notebook full of coupons. Men, women and grannies are all trying to save a few dollars. The rampant craze of extreme couponing has taken to new heights and everyone wants to get in the game. Beware bargain shoppers, the supermarkets are four steps ahead of you. The blinkies in the aisles, the double coupons, the buy one get one deals and course the infamous ten for ten dollars are all designed to suck you in. The grocery retailers are counting on you and your impulses. They are also counting on your inability to see through the muck. You also fail to realize you have been had until you get to the register and realized you have spent too much. Allow me to help you circumnavigate the grocery store maze.

    When you head to the store, make sure you bring along a pocket calculator and a shopping list. Your smart phone has the ability to be your best friend, but you must make it work for you. Instead of buying the biggest package on the shelf that is on sale, look at the medium size, divide the cost per unit and here is where you apply the coupon. It is just like shopping at a wholesale club, bigger does not equal better, especially if it will go to waste before it is all used in a household of two.

    Hot food bars and salad bars are very tempting especially if you are buying for a household of two. However, the snafu comes in these items are sold per pound. You can buy boxed mac & cheese then and add cottage & cheddar cheeses to make it taste gourmet. An item on a hot bar that requires eight or more ingredients to make like chicken parmesan is a good buy whereas buying ham from a hot bar is not. Equally a bad idea is buying packaged deli meat. It is far more cost efficient to buy a small turkey breast, cook it and slice the meat off for your sandwiches and salad for the week. The same can be done with ham and chicken. One meat, several meals is really the way to save money.

    Another item that people are usually wasting money on is bottled water. Invest in a water filter. You are paying your local government to pipe relatively clean water into your living space, it is drinkable as is, and you just need to get an inexpensive filter from Wal-Mart and you can refill your own water container. If you put it on your sink, it will also filter through to the fridge for your icemaker. You can almost calculate your savings.

    Finally, my favorite is the three for five and ten for ten sales. These sale items can be tricky. Ten apples for $10 sounds great until you realize you are paying a dollar for each apple. Just buy a bag for $3 and be done with it. Add the apples to salads, desserts and other meals to ensure they do not turn or go bad. You can find a really good deal is the bags of frozen vegetables at $1 each. Spending ten or twenty dollars for frozen veggies can stock you up for a month.

    I have found that the best ways to really save is to have a coupon on the items that you are buying one and getting one free. This is doubly valuable it you have double coupons. It also works well to have a game plan and review the weekly circulars to match your coupons with the best deals. Look for coupons that save you $1.50 when you buy two and if it a buy one get one, you have just racked up. Shop smart and make these sales work for you.