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Life in the Fast Aisle
by Margie Cubertson

I hate the fact that my mother could comparison shop in the grocery store. She was good, seemed to come by it naturally. I am not so blessed.

Certainly some genetic snafu has taken place.

Not one to give up, I still try. Yesterday, I went to Kruger’s armed with a satchel full of newspapers, a large notebook, several calculators and some prayer beads. I proceeded to aisle three and set up camp. I was soon joined by several curious shoppers. After just a few minutes they were hooked.

Electricity was in the air, "Could you pass me the gourmet cleansers section from the Herald?" "Anybody want the absolutely-no-nutritional-value page?" "Hey, who cut out all the toilet paper coupons?"

I've come to find that one can meet truly fascinating people on the floor of the grocery store. But, stick with aisle three; never aisle seven--those people are weird.

Just as we were rounding the last corner of the store, the announcement came, "Attention Kruger shoppers, the store will be closing in 10 minutes". Oh no. I guess I never realized how many groceries seventeen people need.

Today this is no longer a problem. I have a system. Read on.

Margie’s Fail-Proof System for Comparison Shopping™

1. Buy one of everything you have ever bought or could ever imagine buying. Mark each item with a fancy marker: put down the price, the store, purchase date, item's weight when fresh.

2. Do not forget to take pictures of the items and attach the pic to the item. This is important in produce, as your sample avocado will eventually look like a large piece of tar and you may mistake it for that month-old chile you stepped on while baking brownies last night.

3. Get a large, refrigerated filing cabinet. About 7 X 8 feet in size should do.

4. Alphabetize your items, but don't double-alphabetize. It would really be embarrassing to search for your sample tomato, looking for it under the vegetable file, when you discover that the tomato should really be in the fruit subfile.

5. Repeat this process on the fifteenth of each month at every grocery store in your area. Do this for twelve consecutive months.

6. Once you get this system in order, all you’ll have to do is hook your filing cabinet up to your trailer hitch and let it roll behind your car as you drive to the store.

By the end of the year you will have a scratch and sniff version of what my mother held in her head: an example of all the food items you would ever be interested in buying...the WORLD at your fingertips. If this system is maintained for three generations or more, you will have a filing cabinet worthy of the Smithsonian...or the neighborhood nuclear waste dump site.

We might even be able to market this. Sign up three friends, teach them the system and then ask those three friends to sign up three of their friends. This thing could become big, really big.