Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Penny Pincher

I don't always pinch pennies with the likeness of vice grips, 
but when I do it's on necessities and comforts 
such as food and toilet paper. 

At one point last weekend, I set out to pick up a few things. 

Besides the extreme pressure and anxiety I feel during check out, I love shopping at Aldi. They carry almost everything I need, their selection has more than doubled in the last two years, they have unbeatable prices and the store is small and easy to navigate. Avoid that place on the first day of the month and it's an even better experience. I can reorganize stock in search of empty boxes with the the very best of them in order to get $1.79/gallon milk and Sunshine Bay Sauvignon Blanc at $6.99.
However, without fail I get so nervous during check out. 
Is there a cart at the end of the belt?
Should I push my cart around? 
Will I get my quarter back?
Is the cashier in a good mood?
Is there space for me at the packing counter?
Who is behind me?
Why are they buying so much beef jerky?
Why didn't he put a divider between our food? I am not buying his beef jerky...

"How are you today? $34.28. Cash back? Have a good evening."

Where am I?
Did I already pay? 
Before I know it, the cashier is pushing my cart out of the way and asking the Jerky Hoarder how his day is going. It always happens so fast. It's like the Soup Nazi experience of grocery shopping.

After my blood pressure lowered from my Aldi experience, I stopped at the Amish Dollar General to pick up other things I had on an imaginary list somewhat stored in my cray-cray head. The Amish discount store has a reputation for great prices on all items, if you can get past the cosmetic shortcomings...

Last summer I bought two coral Maybelline lipsticks, one each for Momma and I. They were only $.80 and looked great if you could get past how bad they made your lips burn. I also bought Cody a 50-count One-A-Day men's vitamin that was only a couple months expired. Fifty vitamins for $1.50, regularly $8.00! He has yet to break the seal on the vitamins, but I'm optimistic that 2015 is the year. He mentioned something about sterilization. I don't really remember. 

Anyway, while I roamed the aisles aimlessly like a lost child, I was thrilled to find Italian seasoning by the case, two pounds of butterscotch chips and bananas - none of which I had even thought of prior to entering the store. I came in to look around and went out with $.03 change from a twenty dollar bill. 

Minutes later (the real problem with each of these places: convenience) I reached the homestead and began to make trips into the house with my newfound treasures. 

I walked back outside after trip number one to see Cody staring blankly into the back hatch of my vehicle.

"Please let me you did not buy food at either of those places. Tell me you only bought cleaning supplies."
"Food and toilet paper," I responded, holding up my 18-double-roll-super-pillow-plush toilet paper purchase. 

"Linds," Cody said while studying the purchase, "that has tire tracks on it. It's been run over by something."

(UGH! He's such a details guy, I thought to myself.)

"I saw that, but I just need to reshape it then store it somewhere where with won't regress. It only cost like eighteen cents per roll. You can't put a price on that!"
"Yeah, I can. It's eighteen cents....on roadkill toilet paper."
"Oh, there are worse things," I continued as we carried the groceries in. I was trying to think of worse things, but the more I looked at our little flattened rolls of roadkill, I couldn't think of much. Between you and I, I'll never tell Cody that. How was I supposed to get those on the spool? 

"Uhhh, are these bananas?" he asked once we reached the kitchen.
"Uhhh, what else would they be?"
"Did you really buy midget bananas? They're already starting to brown. Why would you buy bananas with cheetah spots already?"
"Because they were thirty-cents per pound compared to sixty-six cents. You do the math." 
And then Cody said something under his breath that had absolutely nothing to do with math. 

That night we had had some good friends over for dinner. I opened the freezer and my two-pound bag of butterscotch chips hit the kitchen floor, busting open and scattering like hundreds of ants scurrying across the linoleum.
I - along with six others - dropped to my knees and started scrambling to snatch up the tiny pieces, one by one. 
"Do you want to save these?" Timmy asked as his long arms extended to corral the rogue candies.
Before I could even open my mouth, Cody yelled, "No! We're tossing them." I didn't even have a chance to ask everyone to put them in a bowl so I could rinse them off for a refreeze! Darn that Cody, always looking out for my reputation. The next few minutes were a haze. With every chip I heard ping into the trash, I simultaneously heard a dollar cha-ching!
Something like $3.00 down the drain. 

Days later and I've found that my pinching pennies did nothing for patience. Being run over by a Peterbilt should have been the least of our concerns when it comes to the toilet paper. These roles are somehow triple-layered, mismatched, uneven and basically a really big pain in the the....neck. One minute we're trying to get a few squares, the next it's like the entire bathroom floor is covered in shreds of paper and half the "value" roll is gone.

Oh, and - the 18-pack value pack only had 16 rolls in it. 
Darn those Amish, always doing things their way. 

The way I see it, I'll continue using my vice-grip-money-saving-practices, like buying a case of knock-off Windex with twelve broken spouts, until one of two things starts happening:
1. Some discount salad dressing that was a victim of an I-70 fender bender causes our hair to fall out or
2. Cody starts doing the grocery shopping. 

See you Saturday at the 
Amish Dollar General, Bertha Yoder. 


  1. Always look forward to Wednesday to see what story you will share, funny and so point on as usually!! Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Thanks for reading, Erin! I'm so glad you come back every Wednesday :)

  2. I'm not a regular reader, but everytime I do, I wonder why I don't start every Wednesday here...

    1. Perhaps the best comment, ever. Thank you, Josh!

  3. Love reading your weekly posts! First item on my Wednesday "to-do" list. Your sentiments always resonate in some aspect of my life. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing!

    1. Melissa, Thank you for reading every week! I really appreciate that. And, to hear that you can somehow relate only makes me feel better about myself :) Are we related?