another penandpapermama site

stretching pennies

February 13, 2010

Well, I must look approachable!  Maybe it’s the smile I seem to have plastered on my face most of the time…  Because You love me, eh! ?

One day recently I was in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, and a man with a tired, worried expression on his face, came up to me and asked, “I heard they have cereals here for really cheap, like $2 a box.  Have you seen them?”  And I said, “I don’t know about cereals for $2 a box, but I can show you an even better way to judge the cost and value!”  So I showed him the self tags that give the price per 100 grams, and explained how that makes a difference to cost and value.  And he “got it” and was really excited.  Next thing you know, he was running up and down that long aisle of cereals, comparing the prices in this “new to him” way, and before long he was heading to the check-out with 2 or 3 really “good value” boxes of cereal in my grocery basket.  His comment as he passed by, “That really does make a big difference!” and the huge smile on his face that totally erased the worry lines, really made my day!

Then a couple days ago I was in the same store again, this time in the “frozen prepared foods” section (which I don’t often shop in, but I was looking for a “treat” for my hubby!), and a lady came up to me, also looking kind of worried, and asked, pointing at the shelf price labels, “Do these prices include taxes and stuff, or will I be charged extra?”  And she held out her hand, and I saw that she only had a little over $2 in change, all the cash she had to buy herself food.  So I explained to her about how “single serving” foods are taxed with GST but not family servings… and then explained about cost/weight as well.  Her face lit up and she started thanking me enthusiastically.  Then she showed me a package of wieners she had picked up.  They were “no-name brand” and cost $2 for the dozen.  She asked if “no-name” was as good as brand names, and I told her I couldn’t be sure without knowing the ingredients, but that I had seen brand name ones in another section of the store which were on sale for $1 a dozen.  So I took her over there, and she was thrilled.  “Now I have $1 left for juice!” she exclaimed, and starting heading for the no-name cheap pop section.  I told her that there was a sale on real juice, the one litre size, over in the juice section, and took her over there.  Again, she was delighted!  She was laughing and laughing, to be able to get so much food for so little.

Sometimes we assume that things we know are general knowledge, and/or we feel shy to talk to people we don’t know – but these incidents have really showed me how simple it is to watch out for opportunities to truly “help” people in simple ways by sharing our knowledge and our simple abilities (like my ability to stretch a dollar really thin, which You taught me by giving my so many kids, lol!)

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