Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)
TITLE: Marketing Maneuvers
By PamFord Davis
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My earliest memories of grocery shopping are pleasant. Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Alex owned and operated Rice’s Grocery, a small neighborhood store. Dad pocketed Mom’s shopping lists and allowed my sisters, brother and I to tag along. Wandering around inside, we peered at toys and candy. We usually returned home clutching a treat. Why did something I frequently enjoyed become a chore I came to dread?
My parents stepped up to super-market shopping, because the chain stores offered Green Stamps. Mom exchanged filled books of stamps for many nice gifts. Dad worked hard to provide for his family of five children; and the bonus of trading stamps drew their weekly business. Mom learned to appreciate the wider selection at supermarkets.
I overheard their frequent disagreements concerning money problems. Mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance premiums and the high cost of groceries caused family conflict. My mind faultlessly recorded those messages for re-play. The lack of money and grocery shopping were intertwined. Going to the market with limited funds resulted in stress, and put those on a budget in a tight squeeze.
I grew up, met my Prince Charming, married and moved far away. I no longer went to the store only to observe others shopping. Now my husband and I pushed a cart or two and tried to stretch our dollars. My eyes and our needs were bigger than our meager bankroll. I learned very early in our marriage that it is no easy feat to keep staples stacked in kitchen cabinets. I developed an aversion to grocery shopping that still influences me today.
There are ways to diminish my suffering. Well prepared shopping lists help a great deal. Lists shorten the length of time I need to be in the grocery store; and keep me focused. It curtails impulse buying. I returned to my rural neighborhood roots. I do most of my shopping in smaller stores. First: It takes less time to walk through the building, allowing me to finish faster. Second: Smaller grocers primarily carry essentials. I spend less and pocket the savings.
I use other tactics in my shopping battles on a regular basis. Divide and conquer. I attack my list and maneuver a stop at a Dollar Store before I go to the grocers. I can quickly purchase most of my listed items at a bargain price in Dollar Stores. The list is cut down to size; and it does not take long to pick up any remaining items at the grocers. We have also found substantial price reductions at Dent & Bent groceries. You never know what you may find on their cluttered shelves. Two items that really surprised me were canned Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans and Tetley Tea. Both were popular in the North East where I grew up, but not normally available in the Deep South.
Many people clip and redeem coupons. I’ve tried that; but often the store brands are more affordable than coupon prices. My Brother-In-Law is the shopper in their home and he profits by the use of coupons. We each need to see what works for us. I know some shoppers read colorful mail out and newspaper circulars, and go from store-to-store. They are in search of treasures and make shopping an adventure. It would just stretch out my misery.
Children do not understand the responsibilities of keeping food on the table. They are always famished and thirsty and want favorite foods and beverages. It is a challenge to purchase snacks plus provide nourishing meals. My sister and her husband separated, sharing custody of their three growing children. On one occasion the children were at the home of their dad. They went on a scavenger hunt, trying to find something in the kitchen to eat. Single men often live meal-to-meal and they were having a hard time finding anything that looked appetizing. They discovered a loaf of stale bread and the youngest boy Tommy exclaimed: “Oh gwaite,’ gween bwead!” Interpretation: “Oh Grrr-eat, green bread!”
I have come to accept the fact that there are some things we do not enjoy doing. In reality there are certain duties we delay, dislike or detest. Be brave; grab a shopping cart.
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