Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Commissary is for Brave People

I have not been inside a commissary for years. And I don't remember it ever being quite so insane. The checkout line wrapped around half of the store perimeter. I kid you not. It was Thursday after lunch. So, there's no reason for the madness. Almost everyone had carts filled to the brim like a hurricane is going to hit tomorrow. It didn't help that the aisles were as tight as the parking lot. We could hardly maneuver the cart without knocking shelves and shoppers down. At one point, my friend parked the cart at one end of the aisle and we just walked to down to get our items because it was that crowded.

Coupons plastered on products made me want to buy everything. Not to mention all the great sale prices. The variety itself is amazing. I could never find Sue Bee honey. Now I know every single one is at the Commissary. Did you know Cascadian Farms makes jams and jellies. It's only $1.86 there, so $0.86 with the $1 coupon that comes out often. They also have Earth Grains bread from $1.99-$2.41 with a tearpad coupon for $1 off produce when you buy bread. During checkout, we realized that as long as you bought some produce, be it a bunch of $1 turnip greens, the coupon will work. So we didn't need to have the same number of different produce for the number of bread.

There was even an announcement over the intercom about a deal on Kraft cheese: "Buy 6 get $3 off. Only $0.75 each with the coupon. Aisle 13, limited number of coupons." I turned to my friend with my eyes bugging out. Go ahead, she says. First I was on a mission to find Aisle 13. I saw the cheese ahead and asked every shopper around, "Where is the coupon they announced on the intercom?" They stared at me with blank looks, "What are you talking about. We just ignore those announcements." So I walked around and around looking at everyone's hands for the coupon. This little old lady I interrogated had one and she pointed to the endcap where it was. A lady stood there in nondescript clothes with two coupons left stashed in her back pocket. It was her I needed to find and not a tearpad. Wow, they must crack up seeing people get all bent and twisted up looking for coupons.

When we paid, to avoid the line that wrapped around half the store, we did self-check. That was a circus show all by itself. In the end, I paid $11 for 5 loaves of bread, 6 packages of cheese, and mustard greens. Not bad. Even with their low prices, I still saved 42% with the coupons. But, for now, I'll stick with Publix and Target where more elbow room makes for saner shoppers.

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