The picture to my left is a fancy coupon organizer.  I took it off Mrs. A’s Coupon Organizer website.  I had an incident last night that I have to share.  And, hey supermarket managers, listen up!

I got to finally do my grocery shopping last night, around 9:15.  The store was moderately quiet, the deli people were tidying up, the night shift was already stocking shelves, it’s usually a delightful time to shop.  Aisles are uncluttered, there’s none of the  hustle and bustle of “prime time” shopping.  After completing my shopping, which took a little longer than usual since my hungry college daughter is back home, and, frankly, I’d not shopped in a few days, and was low on most staples.  I headed for the cashiers, and saw two lines.  One was for those with 15 items or less, and that had a fair amount of customers, and the other had only one customer, and so, I aimed my cart for that one.  I had around 30 items anyway, and know my place.

I came up what was the largest shopping order of all time, I mean, a gazillion-billion items.  But to the customer’s credit, she was busily packing her items into canvas shopping bags.  I glanced at the clock and saw that it was 9:50.  I sighed, and got behind her.  Item after items was beeped through, and after what felt like hours, I could see the end was near. By now, about 5 customers were behind me, all looking to get out and get home, and get to sleep.  

Then, it appeared.  The pile of coupons.  I took a deep breath, glanced at the line I could’ve been on, and saw customers merrily moving along.  I’d already unpacked my cart; I could see my sugar-free Klondike bars start to soften.  I sighed again.  With the patience of a saint, the cashier swiped each coupon, carefully, calmly, ignoring the line of grim-faced customers forming.  I found myself with a sort of “supermarket rage,” that was hard to contain.  Coupon upon coupon, and not only that, if the customer had to buy 15 yogurts, the cashier had to check that 15 yogurts were purchased because you know, those coupon scanners are up to our tricks, and know we try to sneak a few illegal coupons passed the guards.  And, when the total was finally announced, the customer asked, sweetly, “did you take off my 12 canvas bags?” 

And there we were, trapped in a frenzy of extreme couponing at its most, well, extreme.  I could see the satisfaction on the customer’s face as the total dropped at least $75.  She packed her binder away, struggled with her overflowing cart, as I happily moved the divider from the beginning of my purchases, to the next customer.  When it was finally my turn, I told the cashier, in my most clear and calm voice, “No, I don’t have any coupons, and I don’t have any bags!”

I could hear the customers behind me sigh with relief, and I think one or two of them nodded in appreciation.

(To supermarket managers:  you might want to consider setting aside one cashier for those who do “extreme couponing.”  It’s the way the grocery shopping experience is going.  It’s like EZ Pass.  You either have converts or you don’t.  And separate lanes are the answer.)