February 04, 2010

Uber Budget Shopping

Last night, I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home because we were basically out of almost everything resembling food.  I should have known I wasn't getting away with anything when I only spent 40 dollars on groceries last Saturday.

I told Jan that I'd pick up something for dinner because I'm getting a little weary of our modified "South Beach Diet".  Maybe I'm not doing it right, but it seems like we eat chicken, rice and green beans every evening.  And I'm almost positive that this is not the way they do it in South Beach, Florida.  Maybe I got the wrong book and this is the South Beach, Arkansas diet.

When I entered the store, I made a bee line to the deli counter, where they had plenty of warmed over fried chicken, but I chose something called a "HyRoller" sandwich and two tamales.  After the nice deli lady had wrapped these items up and handed them to me, they had kind of lost their appetizing luster ... and I happened to see a big serving bowl of General Tso's chicken, so I asked for a big portion of that too.  Actually, I gestured at it after trying to pronounce "Tso", which the nice deli lady didn't understand.  How do you prounounce that shit anyway?  "TaZow", "Zoh", "Zoo"?

Anyway, I conquered the pronunciation barrier, and wound my way through the rest of the store and headed for the check-out lane.  There was one woman ahead of me, and she was in an earnest conversation with the cashier as she started putting her stuff on the belt, which is never a good sign.  But, seeing as it was the only full service lane open, I had little choice but to take my chances.

She was taking special care in what order she laid her things out and was studying her would-be purchases with, what I thought, great scrutiny.  The guy started checking her items, and about three-quarters of the way through her order, she made a chopping motion with her hand and he stopped, and took the remaining items off the belt and set them aside.  Then he called his floor supervisor and she came over and reset the register.  Meanwhile, the woman was writing her check, and looking a little self-conscious.

Normally, that would be because I was glaring at her for holding me up.  But I wasn't glaring ... I was just puzzled as to what was happening.  So much so that it got the better of me, and after the woman had taken off, I asked the checker about what had just went down.

Apparently, during the pre-checking conversation, the woman had stated that she only had "X" number of dollars to spend, and when the total reached that amount, to stop.  I'm guessing that she sorted her things on the belt into "must haves, sorta must haves and not really must haves".  I was hoping she had managed to get all of her "must haves", but I wasn't paying that much attention, so I don't know.

In retrospect, that's a pretty clever way to stick to your budget guns when you're buying food.  As for me, I probably would have used a calculator or something as I was going up and down the aisles, but seeing as this was a full service store, I applaud her for taking full advantage of the resources available.

By the way, General Tso's chickens must have been about 80 years old, because they were kind of stringy.  Pass the green beans and rice please.

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