It sounded like the woman in the grocery store was mumbling something about our country’s economy being in trouble. I spotted her strolling down a store aisle pushing an overloaded shopping cart while, of course, chatting on her smart phone.

Instead of her hands being on the cart handle, one was holding the electronic gadget to her ear and the other had a flyer that touted the store’s special prices for the week. This woman was slowly and miraculously guiding the cart with her hips and part of her upper torso.

Quite a dance and quite a sight to behold. But her phone conversation topped the physical performance.

On the canned food aisle, where I spotted her, she was telling her phone buddy, the cans looked about the same, but then she exclaimed that every one she reached for seemed smaller than the last time she bought it.

Ms Shopper didn’t bother to read the label that would have confirmed her suspicion, because two full ounces were indeed missing from what used to be, and the price had not lessened to reflect this diminished amount but had instead increased.

Canned goods didn’t make it into her cart which was pretty much filled with non-nutritional items. There was lots of bottled juice; well, let me correct that statement, there was lots of fruit juice cocktail touting something like 12% juice.

The juice cocktail was listed with the specials in the weekly flyer, but it wasn’t really much of a bargain when its 12% juice content is compared to a bottle of 100% juice.

Just as the shopper slapped her last can of corn back on the shelf she sent a loud burst of profanity into her phone.

One of her beautifully-decorated 1/2-inch acrylic nails chipped off a finger on the hand that was holding the flyer and at the same time moving items around on the shelf.

The economy is tough on folks and it’s even tougher for folks who are faced with the dilemma of having to arrange priorities and to cut corners when they’ve spent a lifetime doing as they please.

The cost of repairing that broken nail is considerably more than the increased amount for the can of corn.

The cost of maintaining those nails may be pretty close to what the grocery bill is for the month.

And smart phone unnecessary chit-chat is another cost too many folks haven’t yet realized they could live without.

Yup, the packages in the markets are smaller and the cost is higher. No, juice cocktail is not the same as juice.

But If we don’t start paying closer attention to what we’re spending our little bit of money on, the trouble our national economy is in will be nothing when compared to the havoc we’re creating in our own households.


  • Grocery shopping requires TOTAL CONCENTRATION Get off the phone
  • DON’T BUY weekly specials if they aren’t what you need
  • READ labels for ingredients/lbs/oz/additives
  • PRIORITIZE to determine if manicured nails trump the necessary food items
  • MAKE a grocery list and don’t buy what’s not on it
  • LEAVE the little ones at home. Thank goodness the above shopper wasn’t balancing two toddlers, the flyer, the smart phone conversation and the grocery basket.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. -Nate

    As usual , you’re right on target here .

    I wonder why Home Economics isn’t a mandatory 9th grade class….

    I’m old and poor but I always live within my means , I’d rather be healthy & well fed than drive a flash car and have snappy clothes .


  2. Thelma T. Reyna

    Hi, Shirlee. Right on target! So often, common sense is the least common of our human traits. I agree with you. Note to that shopper: If your nails aren’t manicured and you don’t have acrylics, your life will be just fine. Cleanliness and simplicity are just fine, too, and that’s all our nails need.

  3. Donna Gate

    How true and how observant you are Shirlee. This reminded me of a time when a co-worker told me that her son was falling behind in school and when I suggested that she hire a private tutor she said,” I can’t afford that.” I then suggested that she use the money that she was using to get a manicure that day, she went off. I’ve worked over 20 years as a nanny and many parents are offended when I say that I believe that a parent should stay home to raise children. They say that it takes two incomes nowadays. I say that it takes two incomes to maintain the lifestyle that they’ve become accustomed to. There sure is a priority problem.

  4. Jean Troy

    I so agree with your feelings Shirley, we do seem to put luxury before what is necessary. I too try and live with in my means which means manicures on special occassions, when I’m given a gift certificate. Making sure I buy plenty of fresh fruits andd veggies which is cheaper than the juice cocktails, and the canned goods. But I do admit to having to have that taste of Ice cream now and then. I do take my hat off to the shopper I could not manage all three shopping, talking on the phone and reading the specials. I would have caused a wreck in mid isle, so I do one thing at a time.

  5. Bill Allen, Jr.

    Dear Shirlee,

    You are right on target! It is QUITE OBVIOUS that “Society” does NOT care if we eat or starve…live or die! Sounds quite caustic—-but it is unfortunately true. We’ve just seen in the news how one of the most expensive grocery stores on the west coast (Whole Foods) (a.k.a. “Whole ‘Paycheck'”) has been CHEATING people out of the prices of correct weight/packaging. As if the food were not expensive enough! And how unfortunate, but the less nutritional foods/juice cocktails are “cheaper” and the “good” food is “sky-high.”
    “Plenty sits still; hunger is a wanderer.”
    —–South African Quote

    I guess if things get any worst,then we’ll all be “wandering” all over looking for “bargains.” It is true Shirlee, that there are “rules” to follow when doing grocery shopping.Thanks for sharing them. As for the lady shopper with the chipped acrylic nail—-well, people have to use common sense; and set priorities in terms of HOW one wishes to survive.
    “Not to know is bad, but not to want to know is worse.”
    —–Gambian Quote
    May we learn how to become “full,” as we share our “meals” of invaluable knowledge with each other…on strategies to survive (and hopefully one day…to thrive).
    —–Bill Allen, Jr.

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