My struggles obtaining discounted ketchup, oy vey*!

Modern American business now seeks to do everything via smart phone apps, websites, texting and gasp, “digital coupons.” Now, being fond of ketchup, especially on my “freedom fries,” hamburgers (free range) and even salmon (wild caught) cakes, I was exhilarated to discover ketchup on sale for .99 cents each, limit two.

The limit of two was never a problem, I would just go back a dozen times until my lust for discounted condiments was satiated.

I saw the digital coupon next to the normal coupons with the little dotted lines and a miniature scissor embedded in them as if the average shopper was too stupid to figure out that they should use a cutting implement of some sort to remove the greatest deal on earth from the newspaper insert. I just tore it out anyway. A more visceral move, because that’s how I roll.

Before I was allowed to even view the coupon I had to divulge my voting record, proof of citizenship and any affiliation with the Communist Party, aka extreme-liberal Seattle bunch.

Unfortunately my computer isn’t hooked up to a printer, so even though I saw the online coupon, saliva drooling onto the keyboard, I couldn’t take advantage of the offer.I decided to brave the experience anyway and go for the gold - the red-gold that is.

When I finally went to buy my beloved Heinz at the check out, I decided to be proactive and explain to the checker that “I did not have a computer” and see if that white lie would suffice.

Hallelujah, it worked. So I went back again and this time I went to a different cashier and I tried another method that I call “puppy eyes.” This involves appearing somewhat sad and turning your head slightly and giving the cashier that look like you are just a helpless little fuzzy thing and won’t you please help an old man out? Hallelujah! It worked again.

Not wanting to use the same system too often, lest I attract attention from the coupon police, I decided to employ a third method of getting my beloved “smashed tomatoes encased in a squeezable plastic bottle.”

It is called name dropping.

I made friends with a lady in customer service, we’ll call her Cathy. I diverted her attention by talking about lottery tickets and made small talk and then I struck for home. “I don’t have a computer or a smart phone, but I would sure like to buy this ketchup.” Cathy immediately sensed my devotion to the task and obvious love for one of 10 million products sold by this “ginormous” food store. I was dripping with sincerity and it went straight to her bottom-lined heart strings. She looked at me sympathetically and said, no problem, just tell the cashier that Cathy said it was OK.

That was it ladies and gents, I was in again ....the two-at-.99 cent-each ketchup was mine. Huzzah, huzzah! It would indeed be a happy Fourth.

Alas, the next day my wife said she was going to the same store. I explained my three no-fail methods to obtain the ketchup. She came home empty handed.

“There was some young girl at the register who just didn’t care,” my wife said. “Did you mention Cathy?” No. “Did you say you had no smart phone or computer?” Yes, but she just didn’t care and that was that. “Did you attempt the puppy eyes ploy?” I tried, but I just can’t look as sad as you.

With that I couldn’t argue. This technology-impaired graybeard wins again.

*”Oy vey” is a Yiddish phrase used to express dismay or exasperation, often abbreviated to “oy” (woe is me).

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