Our supermarket flyer arrived in the mail on Saturday morning.  As I perused its pages, I noticed that several items I needed were on sale. Ken and I are planning a small family get together in a few weeks and this seemed like a good time to stock up.

I like when Ken shops with me.  Our strategic plan is to split the grocery list, go in separate directions and end up at the check-out at the same time.  We have it down to a science.  But, science was not working in our favor during this trip.

On the ride to the supermarket, I began listing all the items I needed and their sale prices.  After 42 years, I’m still not sure whether or not he enjoys these “recitals,” or if he just knows how much I enjoy the process.  

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“Cantaloupes are 99 cents this week.  Last week they were $3.33, so we’ll get two.  Oh, and Pillsbury cake mixes are also 99 cents each.  I can make a cake for when the family visits.  I can’t believe they’re selling four Pepsi 12-packs for $9.  You know how your family devours Pepsi.  We definitely need those.  And lastly, we need water, and they have cases of Poland Spring 3/$9.”  In my mind, I was already stashing away my savings for our next trip.

We entered the supermarket and to the right was a huge display of cantaloupes with a big 99 cent sign.  I picked the best ones and was on to the cake mixes.  Ken had already taken off in another direction.  There, on the shelves in the cake mix isle, all the Pillsbury cake mixes were listed as $1.79 each.  Hmmm, did I misread the flyer?

I met up with Ken as he was loading heavy cases of water into his cart.  The sign over the display read 3/$10.  Wait, I thought the flyer said 3/$9.  I was getting frustrated, and I couldn’t possibly ask him to unload the cases just because of $1 difference.  Could I?  

“Would you hold up a minute while I run to the soda isle?” I asked.  As I approached the Pepsi display, I spotted a large sign which read, “Pepsi 4/$11.”  What the heck is going on here?  Did I pick up the wrong flyer?  I was positive I had read, Pepsi 4/$9.  I went back to the water isle where I found Ken waiting not so patiently.  

“I’m sorry Hon,” I said.  “We came here specifically for the prices in the flyer and the only item with the correct price is cantaloupe.  I’m just gonna run over to Customer Service.”

On the way, I spotted a display of little Table Talk Apple Pies, which Ken loves, and I picked up a handful.  

 “Yes, that’s a digital coupon only, so it won’t be listed on the shelves,” the Customer Service lady said to me as she handed me that week’s flyer.

“A digital coupon?” I asked.  

The manager of the store happened to be walking by and asked if he could assist me.  I explained my dilemma and then explained that some people don’t do digital, don’t do apps, don’t always carry a phone and some don’t even own a phone.  I said that I just wanted to walk into a store and get the best prices they could afford to offer me; then asked him if the cake mix and soda were also digital coupons.  He informed me they were not, but that I could just take the item over to the scanner to see what this week’s price is.  

My easy in, easy out food stop was taking way too long, and Ken was still waiting for me in the water isle.  

“At one time your store eliminated all coupons and the prices were already supposed to be at their lowest.  Why does it have to be so difficult just to buy some groceries?”

He was a nice man and gave me all the sale prices without coupons or digital apps.  I was a bit chagrined as I thanked the manager for being so accommodating.  I’m aware that we have all been conditioned to look for the sale prices; after all, isn’t that what gets us into a store?  I’ll admit to not being as patient as I once was when I spent  mornings clipping coupons, and I really appreciated when this particular store chain eliminated them; so to go back to cutting coupons and having to learn about digital apps is a bit  frustrating for me.  The upside to this whole experience?   The 99 cent cantaloupes were the best I’ve had all summer.

joannfrancella@aol.com