Column #338 Takin’ out the BIG FINISH – at the grocery!

Monday, December 1, 2008
Column 338
Takin’ out the BIG FINISH – at the grocery!

If you’re anything like me – married and male – you seldom go to the grocery, except to buy beer or, perhaps, on weekend game days to tag along with your wife and fill up on the sample products the little old ladies give away for free.

Shorty after I was married my wife handed me a list and asked me to go shopping for her. I agreed because, well, that’s what new husbands or husbands who’ve been married for almost thirty years do. We go INSANE, temporarily, in the middle marriage years and argue about such things but gradually learn that happily agreeing to any request is the only safe way to go.

I went to Kroger’s and pushed a cart around the aisles. I picked up item after item on the list, looked at the price and put it back on the shelf. NO WAY was I going to spend fifty cents for a loaf of bread! NO WAY was I going to spend $1.59 for a pound of hamburger! Hell, the damn hamburger cost forty cents MORE than a damn gallon of gas!

So I found the aisle with the generic products in the black and white packaging. It was here that I filled up my cart with everything from canned tuna to paper towels. I was proud when I arrived home with every single item my wife requested. I was pleased to have successfully completed my assigned task AND saved about ten bucks. My wife was HORRIFIED and promptly fired me from grocery duty forever and all time.

And, pretty much, that’s the way things have remained in the Dartoid household for the past twenty-eight years. My wife buys the food. My dog and I eat the food. It’s a good arrangement.

Still, occasionally, I follow along…

As we maneuvered our way along the first aisle this past Saturday it was I who was horrified. I was astonished at the prices: over FIVE bucks for a hunk of cheese, over SIX bucks for a package of sliced pastrami, almost TWENTY bucks for a sack of dog food!

But the more we weaved through the aisles and my wife continued to load the cart – red vodka spaghetti sauce ($8.49), V8 vegetable juice ($4.39), a package of hotdogs ($5.18) – and as I began to get PISSED OFF, I noticed something: not everything was so absurdly priced.

Seriously, what I was calculating is, HOLY CRAP, it’s costing me frickin’ sixty bucks a week to fill up my car so my wife can go to the grocery and spend frickin’ $250 bucks a week so I can eat and be strong enough to go to frickin’ work and, maybe, have a few frickin’ bucks left at the end of the week to buy a beer at darts.

So without completely thinking things through (men do this sometimes) I say to my wife: “I’ll BET you I can find a dozen things that each cost less than an out shot and eat fine for a week.”

She smiled. “Go get yourself a cart.”

So, damnit, I did!

It took about an hour, mainly because the little old lady in Aisle 5 wasn’t so little or old – and she was giving away slices of pizza – but I filled up my cart just fine. Not one product cost me more than a sweet t20, t19, bull finish (I opted to stick with my relatively expensive tin of Bumble Bee tuna because, even at $1.67, I rather like the surprising and tasty crunch of occasional bits of dolphin).

A can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup cost me a ton but only two other items ran me more. I closed a box of Rice-a-Roni quite nicely with a t19, t10, d18 and a small bottle of French’s mustard for a slick t20, 19, tops. The mustard was to go with my can of Libby’s Vienna sausages (which I nabbed without a second thought for a relatively comfortable 13, 18, d16). (Yeah – I missed the t13.)

As I rolled through the checkout counter and headed to the car to show my wife what I’d accomplished I was quite pleased with my day at the (grocery) line. In addition to the tuna and soup and rice and sausages and mustard I had some Bush’s baked beans (93 cents), a Swanson’s chicken pot pie (83 cents), a small bottle of milk (99 cents), a can of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti O’s (83 cents), a miniature box of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies (59 cents), a little bag of M & M’s (59 cents) and a can of Hunt’s tomato paste (60 cents).

Don’t ask me what the tomato paste was for – I’ve just always felt pretty good about laying one just under the d20 and then sticking my final dart. So I took this one out just because I could.

It was a successful shopping experience. At the end of the day I closed every damn number for less than the maximum finish possible. Moreover, for just $11.08 I’d scored enough food to feed myself for a week, possibly longer.

Proudly and enthusiastically I explained this to my wife when I arrived at the car.

She smiled. “So you’ll be fixing your own meals this week?”

“Damn straight,” I replied, “I’m going to CHOW DOWN and use the money I saved to buy more beer at darts.”

Again she just smiled. Into traffic we edged…

My plastic bag of food lasted approximately one day.

But I still have a can of tomato paste.

From the Field,


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Author of the column that since 1995 has been featured by Bull’s Eye News, the American Darts Organization’s (ADO) Double Eagle and numerous other darts publications and websites around the globe.

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