Overheard: Winning Big At The Grocery Store

BUSY WEEK HERE but of course I’ve been to the grocery store, source of all excitement.

Once there having collected what I wanted to buy, I found myself standing in the checkout lane with a family of four, soon to be five, directly in front of me.

Mom was holding the coupons while Dad and 2 boys, ages 5 & 7, were putting the groceries on the moving conveyor belt so that the cashier could ring up the items.

AS THEY DID THIS Dad occasionally pointed out to the boys that something was on sale, or that Mom had a coupon for this particular item.

He was, I believe, trying to instill a sense of frugality in his sons.

When all the items had been rung up the total was over $200.00.  Mom handed the coupons to the cashier then she went to sit down on a nearby chair.

This left Dad to pay for the groceries while the boys watched him.  Again, I do believe, that his intention was that this be another learning experience in money management.

ALL THREE MALES stared at the computer screen as the cashier swiped each coupon into the scanner.  The screen showed coupon savings while simultaneously the computer made a bell-like ringing-dinging sound with each subtraction from the total.

Apparently this sound reminded the boys of a video game adding up points.  The sound was so reminiscent of a game that the older boy, thoroughly impressed with his father’s game skillz, said:

“Wow, Dad. You did great. You got a really high score.” 

~ ~ 😆 ~ ~

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Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

117 thoughts on “Overheard: Winning Big At The Grocery Store”

  1. And all I can think of is the kind of post most people who were behind someone buying $200 worth of groceries and using an entire Sunday paper’s worth of coupons would write about this experience. Let’s just say that you are a potent portal of positivity and the patron saint of patience!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. teacherturnedmommy, thank you. There’s something about the people who shop in our local Kroger stores that I find entertaining. I agree that saving $200.00 would have been spectacular, but *alas* that didn’t happen.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Maggie, I like and use coupons but not like your son. I can only imagine how time-consuming it’d be. This family had it going on with their savings, but not in an extreme way. More in a funny way, actually.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve come close to stopping with the coupons except for really good savings. A lot of time and work (and you have to remember to take them!) and sometimes the savings are small. I was much more into it when I was younger and bought more groceries. Oddly I taught my husband how to effectively use them. He raised 4 kids by himself without coupons. I don’t know how you do that.

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    1. Kate, you make good points in that you have to remember to take the coupons with you to the store and it’s work to use them. 4 kids and no coupons? However could that happen? 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m always so happy when I see parents taking the time to teach their children life lessons. So many opportunities are lost. This is a great story (and I agree with nance that it’s good for the boys to see shopping as a gender-neutral activity). But, you forgot one thing… what was the final total?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janis, I agree with you. I like seeing parents tuning into their kids, teaching them something good by their parental actions. And this Dad was great.

      I didn’t see [or hear] the final total because I couldn’t see the screen from where I was standing. I only know the $200.00 amount b/c Dad said it out loud to the boys right before the cashier started scanning the coupons.

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  4. Ally, that tale made me chuckle too 😀

    I have new grocery stores to test out following the move. The staff in the most local are extraordinary friendly, although *all* of the wine, meat and fish have anti-theft tags on them, so I’ve no idea what that’s telling me!

    My previous primary grocery store was well-known for the regular wearing of fluffy slippers, occasionally combined with actual bathrobes :O I’m currently trying to work out if this is some kind of improvement.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deb, anti-theft tags on the meat? That’s a new one on me. I’ve seen wine tagged, but actual food– never. I look forward to learning more about your new lifestyle as you discover it. So you’re all settled into your new house now?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ally, I was agog.

        We’re pretty settled now thanks. Just pictures to put on walls and we’re there. This could be an interesting experience as Himself moved in to live with me after I’d hung pictures. He’s a minimalist, I’m a maximilist. I compromise, he tries to smile 🙂

        I’ll have to get him to do the quiz in your last post. It was spot on for me too (Naturalist).

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        1. I can see where you two will have your challenges regarding how to decorate your home. No advice here, but sending you positive thoughts and good wishes.

          You’re another Naturalist. So far that’s been THE personality type among those people who follow this blog. Go figure.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m vacationing Ally Bean and while waiting in the checkout at the highly overpriced island grocery the clearly stressed clerk had no problem telling everyone loudly that she was having a REALLY hard day and was counting the moments until she could sit with multitudes of alcohol and relax. I don’t often hear that at home 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deb, that’s funny and soooo honest. I’m sure I’d not hear that at my home Kroger store, but on an island… maybe yes. Hope you’re having a good time wherever you might be. 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great story, so cute. I’m trying to stay out of grocery stores these days but of course I have to eat, so that’s impossible. I guess I could have my groceries delivered but I’m not a shut-in and I like to pick my own produce 🙂 My husband and I go to the store super early to avoid crowds, like at 6:30 AM, and even then the music is blasting and the singer is screaming the lyrics. At 6:30 AM in the morning? Yes. Why can’t the modern world learn to live without screeching music everywhere? This is the conundrum I’m trying to unravel.

    All the best to you
    Susan Grace

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Susan, I wouldn’t like shopping with that much noise going on. I can see why you shop at the hour you do, but I don’t understand why there’d be loud music then.

      You make a good point about music everywhere– and may I add, there are TV screens everywhere, too. They bug me, flashing ads at me, showing me images I don’t want to see. Calm and serene is good. Preferable even. 🤨

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t like TV screens everywhere, either. Grrrr. I only try to stay out of stores because of all the loud music everywhere; otherwise, I love supporting small businesses, etc, and feel bad that many stores are closing because everyone is online.

        I love your take on life!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love how kids view the world with their unique perspective. My younger daughter was wont to blurt out embarrassing stuff at the store, many times comments on people’s size or appearance. It was embarrassing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Margaret, yes kids have their own ways of interpreting things. Despite what the parents are trying to do. Kind of funny to watch from afar, probably less funny when you’re the parent in the moment.

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    1. dawn, I hadn’t thought of that but you’ve got a point. There was no anger in this family, just lots of focus on numbers. And what they meant, which is to say different things to different people. 🙄

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  8. Very cute story! Nice that there was a spot for mom to sit down. We don’t have any chairs near our checkout counters. I used to coupon all the time but now I just go online and add the coupons for the things I buy routinely and they are loaded on my Safeway card. So much easier.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet, I think there might be something similar with Kroger and its loyalty card, but I still like and use the paper coupons. Yes, I’m a Luddite, proudly clutching my little pieces of paper as I shop the store so I got what this family was up to.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Ah, the lessons we learn in the grocery stores. I find it extremely irritating that the healthier we try to eat the higher my video game checkout score is. Sheesh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura, I agree. Healthy = expensive, but it’s great that you can play the video checkout game so well. I’m sure the little boy I overheard would be impressed with your score, too.

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  10. That was cute…..and great that the parents were trying to instill money skills at such a young age, even if they did interpret it as part of a video game! I believe they are now about to make money management and budgeting part of a high school life skills class now here, which is long overdue.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joni, this Dad was quietly, calmly just mentioning the price of things, how they’d save money. A casual teaching moment. The boys were listening, but not getting the intended point of things. Money management needs to be in a life skills class. Smart that your high school has caught onto that.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That’s fantastic! I loved that — great observation!
    Makes me grateful to sorta be down to two kids after having four. And ooh, girl, there was that one summer my eldest daughter had to take steroids, and lawd did she EAT. Ooh.
    I will now complain about how high my grocery bill has been all summer, and how there are rarely any leftovers for The Mister’s lunch, which in turn means he eats less wonderful food in the cafe at work, spending even more money. But we let that boy save, and that’s good. Two more weeks, Ally Bean, two more weeks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joey, ok I’m laughing here. You’re good folks to let the boy save. No doubt you’ll get back to your 2-child normal soon enough, although as I remember teen girls can chow down with the best of them. Or at least my friends and I could. Still, leftovers for your husband’s lunch is a [lofty?] doable goal. And won’t it be lovely to not win big on your grocery bill when the video game adds it up!

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      1. And also another example of how much can be gleaned when we take the time to observe and pay attention /

        We briefly met the family of this nurse we know – they are all from Kenya and one of the guys said that people in the US and Britain are all “busy busy”
        And I know wha he meant –
        And at times I feel that “busy busy” hustle
        And your post was opposite
        It was prego mom sitting down on this family time to the store with our author not being busy busy so she could pay attention and give us this vignette

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Junieper2, this little conversation made me smile. I get what Dad was trying to do and I get why the kids thought what they did. If you’re going to wait in line at the grocery, might as well get a story out of it!

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  12. Mom and I used to compete over who could rack up the highest “score” (discount) at the grocery. I still brag about anything over 20%.

    Teaching frugality, the dangers of: When #4 Daughter was wee, she would ride in the seat part of the cart while I did the shopping. On one trip, I began hearing thumps and mutters from behind me while I looked at the shelves. I turned around to find her jettisoning items from my cart, saying, “Too ‘spensive. Too ‘spensive.”

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Haha. Cute. This sounds like a story I’d have on my blog, except, of course, there would be Chex Mix. 😉 Any idea what the savings were? $200 is a lot in groceries. I hope the coupons added up to more than, like, $2.

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    1. Betsy, I don’t know how much they saved. From where I was standing I couldn’t see the screen. I only know the beginning amount because Dad said it out loud to the boys right before the cashier started scanning the coupons.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ally – I once wrote a post mentioning the “horsey ride” at the grocery store. I can remember going many years ago when my parents did the grocery shopping. Our Meijer grocery store has a horse ride for one penny and though the modern generation of kids is so different from when I sat on one of those horses, the delight is exactly the same. Our store has the theme from “Bonanza” while the ride is going on. It makes me smile whenever I watch those kids. One of the U-scan clerks has a pocketful of pennies and if a kid wants to ride and the parents have no spare change, she’ll deposit the penny and help them get on the horse and watch them while the parents pack their own groceries … (something different with that picture too when you think about it).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’d forgotten about those horsey rides. Loved them, when I could get my mom to slow down and let me ride one. I agree that there’s something different about the current Meijer scenario you describe. Shouldn’t the parents be with the kid while the employee packs the bag?

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Very cute! I like seeing the numbers go down at the grocery store. I don’t clip coupons, as they are usually for things I don’t buy anyway, but I do belong to a few grocery clubs where they are automatic when you put in your phone number.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. J, I suspect most adults would like to see the numbers go down when checking out of the grocery. We have that phone number thing going on here, too. Any way you can save is a good one.

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    1. Kate, I agree. These parents were doing what I think is a good thing by quietly demonstrating frugality as no big deal– but important. When this kid came out with what he said however, I could barely keep from laughing out loud.

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