Carts, Coupons, Cacophony

by Jeff Marshall


I am generally not a grocery shopping fan, although if I have to shop for something, I’d prefer it to be food as opposed to siding for the house or bizarre liquid household cleaners. Food is getting so gosh durned expensive – ugh! Meat, in particular. I’m going to have to become a vegetarian – although I have to have meat every once in awhile – I get a craving. I read somewhere that women crave chocolate and men crave meat. A defect in my gene pool has resulted in cravings for both. Being single, I have to eat them both alone. All this adds up to inevitable obesity.

Actually, I love cheese. Cheese is everything to me. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. Even the stinky cheese that smells like my dad’s feet. Put cheese on anything and it automatically becomes 47 times better – I don’t care what it is. Put it on your cereal, put it on your ice cream… How about a little shredded cheddar in your morning coffee?!?! LOVE IT! Someone actually made a movie called I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m tempted to buy it and display it just because the title alone is better than most movies in their entirety.

I have started using coupons a lot lately. I never used to, but with prices the way they are, every discount helps. I tend to base my shopping trips around the monthly coupon booklet that comes in the mail from my local market. I have to remember, though, that just because it’s on sale or just because I have a coupon, that doesn’t mean I necessarily NEED to buy it.

“Oh, look, kitty litter $2.00 off. I don’t have a cat. So what, it’s on sale, I’ll find a use for it. Maybe it’s high in fiber!”

“Oh, look, sauerkraut flavored Oreos –  buy one get one 1/16 off. I’d rather eat my shoe – BUT I HAVE A COUPON – it’s going in my cart.”


Although grocery shopping pleasures are few, there are some things I enjoy:

I love going to the section with dented cans and torn boxes. I have no pride. If a can of peas is dented but half off, it’s mine. I’ll just stick it in the cabinet behind a good looking can. That way when Martha Stewart and the food police come for their inspection, I should be safe.

Every once in awhile I see someone I would prefer to avoid shopping in the same store. I will follow them discreetly and make sure they don’t run into me. This is a lot of fun! If I’m in a crazy mood, I will even put on my sunglasses and pretend I’m in a mystery movie. I keep mood music on my iTunes for such an occasion. It makes it a lot of fun. Only once have I made a wrong turn and accidentally made contact with them.

Here’s a link to the music I use:

Try it sometime – such fun!

I do love the self-service aisles, although there’s something about someone else doing all the work that I enjoy. It’s like going to one of those steakhouses where you cook your own steak. Um, no. If I’m going out to eat, I’m NOT going to do my own cooking. Getting up to get my own food at the Chinese buffet is where I draw the line. And even that’s pushing it. One of these days, when the waitress comes to re-fill my Diet Dr. Pepper, I’m going to ask her to grab me another Crab Rangoon. If it works, I may be on to something.

Also, if I have a choice between a parking space close to the store OR a parking space a little farther out but next to the cart corral, I will choose the latter. Also, if I find a stray shopping cart blowing down the street, I will take the time to lasso it and put it in the corral. It’s the height of laziness not to take 14 seconds to wheel your cart into the corral. One of my pet peeves.

Like people who don’t use their turn signals. By golly, how much energy does it take to flip on a turn signal?! Finding the perfect parking place is a sign to me that I was meant to be there at that time, and I will continue with my shopping.

I will always use paper, not plastic. The paper bags come in handy for the weekly recycling. They hold a lot more aluminum cans and cardboard boxes than the plastic bags do.

I also insist, when at all possible, to grocery shop at an actual grocery store — not WalMart or some place like that. But I have a deathly aversion to WalMart in general, so that impacts my decision. The exception is Meijer. I don’t know if you have one in your area. We don’t have one where I live but there are stores in nearby cities. On the rare occasion I go out of town, I have to stop by Meijer. I’m not exactly sure why it’s an exception, but it is. Maybe it’s the thrill of doing something at a store that’s not in your area.

I also love to eat out somewhere that I can’t find in my hometown. Drove out of town recently with my parents and six year old nephew, and the little guy insisted on McDonalds instead of Sonic. We don’t have a Sonic where I live – but there are 847 McDonalds restaurants within a 50 miles radius. Let’s be a little adventurous! This is one of the things I will have to instill in him as he grows into a fine young man – just like his uncle!!!

Note from Sara: Today’s blog is written by guest author Jeff Marshall from Decatur, IL. Jeff is a musician, humorist, gardener, and uncle. Jeff is also my cousin and life-long dear friend. We grew up attending family reunions and church picnics together, went to the same schools and attended youth group together. He wrote and played the song I sang for Mike at our wedding. Now he is “Uncle Oscar” (my nickname for him because of his love of all things movie) to my kids. Our lives have been intertwined in the most blessed way. He has kept me laughing the entire time!

I am honored to I present to the world…Jeff Marshall.