Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I hustled into my local Supermarket around 1:45pm, hoping to get through with my shopping well before the Secondary School in the area released its charges.
I had a set budget in mind, a short and detailed list and a hope the trip would be swift and easy. I picked up a cart and headed down past the bread aisle, looking wistfully at the over-priced gluten-free wraps and taking a deep lungful of the scent of fresh-made bread before heading to the fresh produce aisle.
This was the area where I expected to spend most of my 39 dollar budget. I whizzed past the grapes and picked up the most handsome bag of apples I could find, before hemming and hawing over which oranges were not too big, but not too small. I finally bagged four and continued on.
Carrots and potatoes were next to be successfully plundered. I was adding the total as I went along on the calculator on my phone, ensuring that I would not get over-zealous and be defeated at the register.
I spent several long minutes by the broccoli picking through the mountain of green trees to find ones that looked fresh. As I did so, I recalled an episode of Extreme Cheapskates where a woman broke off the stem of the broccoli, so she did not pay the weight for something she wouldn't eat. It seemed capital idea in theory but I didn't feel brave enough to try it.
I had a inner debate about the ethics versus the savings but was freed from making the decision when I spied a tray of broccoli that had been pre-packaged, and was a lovely forest green. Luckily the price was just right and the stem had been cut off. Double bonus!
With my morality intact, I surveyed the tomatoes and had a sticker shock: six tomatoes for 11 dollars, their loveliness could not justify the price. I was disappointed because I hadn't managed to get any tomatoes last week either. I soldiered on, looking for Kale next and finding only wilted baby bok-choy.
Two strikes now and I was determined to go home with something dark-green and leafy so I picked through the large bok choy until I found one that passed muster.
My spirits were lifted when I discovered local,reasonably priced tomatoes and yard-long beans. Both were added to cart and I took a moment to recheck my list to be sure I had gotten everything before going in search of paprika, white pepper and a pack of kidney beans.
It took not but a few seconds to secure the spices as they were the next aisle over and in under a minute I was adding the kidney beans to my cart as well.
List completed, I rolled over to the cashiers making sure to pick the one with the shortest line.
As I waited, I was tested by the treats on either side of the checkout, trying to bribe their way into my cart. I almost gave in to the Oh Henry chocolates on special, but I resisted in the end as they would have put me over budget and also make me fail the No-Buy November challenge.
I began placing my groceries on the belt, feeling quite self-congratulatory. No canned or processed goods in this lot; Nope, not one.
When I got to the Chinese cabbage, I felt a nudge to check it again and I noticed that the leaves were turning black around the edges. It was swiftly returned to the basket.
The monitor that faced the customer was out, so I had to wait for the cashier to tell me the total.
Moment later I pressed the prompt on the card reading machine with a flourish. Is your total of $36.48 correct? Indeed it was and to make this victory even more profound, the time on the bill was 1:59pm. Mission accomplished and in less than 15 minutes.
Victory is sweet.