• 50°

Shopping trip teaches valuable lesson

As a guy, I am not supposed to care about things like coupons, discounts and frequent shopping cards. I head into the store, buy my few items and leave.

No browsing the aisles or strolling through the mall for this guy. I do not shop just for the fun of it. In my mind, shopping is not a recreational activity.

Golf, volleyball, softball and so forth are.

In guy code it is OK to spend quality time with the wife/girlfriend shopping while pretending to enjoy one’s self.

In this situation I’ll smile and look like I am having a great time but everyone knows this is just a front. We hate shopping, sales and discounts.

Does this sound like someone you know? Well then it’s time for them to get some attitude adjustment on this shopping thing. I sure did!

Yes, I’m a reformed non-shopper with an adjusted attitude. I’m not ready for a prime time shopping gig to Minneapolis’s Mall of America but I’ll go when Ohio State plays Minnesota in football. This is scheduled to happen in 2010 so a Mall of America road trip is on my radar.

I learned my shopping lesson a few years back while on the road escorting a school group with five bus loads of 7th- and 8th-grade students.

Imagine trying to keep these students supplied with snacks, soft drinks, fruit, veggies and other staples. It was time to restock and replenish so I headed over to the Gettysburg, Pa., mega supermarket with a fairly substantial shopping list.

It was in that store that I really noticed the price differences. With a “Giant” savings card I’d save $4 on a cube pack of Coke plus there were similar savings on purchases on my list. Yes, I had a list!

Quickly I did the math and discovered the benefit and value of shopping with a loyalty card. I marched over to the customer service counter and applied for my “Giant” card on the spot. Then I continued shopping.

While checking out I overheard one of the store employees comment snidely “why does someone from Ironton, Ohio need our card in Gettysburg, Pa.?”

I smiled and told the young lady that I was the Ironton guy and that I had 110 reasons for getting a savings card.

She was puzzled so I followed with, “I saved $110 off of my bill today.” That “Giant” card is now stored in my Gettysburg trip file and it travels with me every time I head to that part of Pa.

On a more local note your Krogers’ card is honored by various supermarkets around the country.

Chains like Fry’s Marketplace, City Market and Dillon’s honor your card. Look at the back of your cards and you’ll discover where they are honored.

My Kroger’s card made the March journey to Arizona in and saved me some cash.

I now have a collection of shopping cards almost as extensive as my casino frequent player club cards.

If it doesn’t cost me anything to join and offers some immediate savings then sign me up.

I admit they want a bunch of personal information but you’ll have to weigh the potential benefits.

I won’t give them my Social Security number, home phone or email account.

One strategy is to obtain a free Yahoo, Hotmail or Google account and use it only for reasons like I’ve explained above. That’s why all the special shopping offers and discount promotion get dumped into one mailbox.

Happy travels!