One of my duties as the man of the house is to do the grocery shopping. Yes, I know. That is a role normally reserved for the little woman. About the time that the last kid left home, my wifey-mate decided that she was retiring from the shopping and cooking thing.
Don’t worry. It’s OK. I have discovered a new world in grocery stores. Wednesday mornings are particularly good for shopping because several stores give a 5% senior citizen discount on that day. On Wednesdays, I believe the shelves are loaded with merchandise that is old enough to be pulled from the shelves. That is why there is a discount, and old folks are less likely to complain to management about green meat and purple tomatoes, especially those like me that are color blind.
All of which makes Thursdays a wonderful day for shopper watching. You see, housewives have broken the code that the good stuff goes on the shelves Wednesday nights, and are likely to do their weekly shopping on Thursday mornings, right after their tennis lessons or gym workouts. Those tennis skirts and spandex tights vouch for their devotion to athletics and strenuous shopping.
Coupons are getting my interest, too. When I was young, rich, and working I pretty well ignored coupons because they rarely applied to stuff I liked. Plus, my wife does not use Tide detergent or other popular, coupon generating products. I have been stuck on Campbell’s soup all my life, along with Peter Pan peanut butter, Keebler saltines… Well, you get the message.
There is a program on one of the cable channels called, “Extreme Couponing“. The program features different fanatical coupon clippers who sit around all day, every week going through newspapers for their gold. They will find coupons for, say, 50 cents off on a bottle of aspirin, or $1.00 off on a bottle of detergent. They will get as many newspapers as they can from neighbors, friends, and recycling companies. It can take a ton of papers to get a good coupon harvest.
On double coupon days at their local grocer, they will combine the local store sale price, online coupons, and newspaper coupons to convert some items into cash positive transactions. They will clean the store out of that item as in one episode where a woman bought over 100 bottles of pain reliever, which gave her over $50 cash credit to cover the grocery items for her family’s consumption.
The problem is that you have to have the 100 coupons to do this, and they cannot be expired. Coupon organization and management is a big thing with these thrifty souls.
It was not unusual for some people to ring up almost $2,000 in grocery items, and pay less than $10 cash for the whole kit and kaboodle. For example, they would use their Kroger card to get the store sale price, and various coupons for others. Occasionally, somebody would wind up with a week’s groceries and not pay at all, even receiving some cash in return.
My question is, where do they find all those coupons? I looked in the Sunday paper, and didn’t find squat. Maybe I am not looking in the right places. When the paper advertises that it has $200 in coupons that day, a lot of them seem to be for stuff you don’t always want to buy, like garage doors, carpet, or other major household items. There are no double coupon days for those things.
I guess there is a lot to learn from my fellow shoppers. Maybe I should spend more time talking with the ladies than gawking at them.