Sunday, January 11, 2009


If you haven't visited BJ Roan who writes on a blog she calls Serendipity, then I strongly encourage you to do so. When I say she is one darned talented writer, I'm just scratching the surface. When you have a chance go by and say hi, or better yet, sit a spell and take in a story or two.

BJ participates in a writing group that posts from a common word or expression once a week. I thought I'd finally give it a go this time around. The link to that site is at the bottom of this post.

Hope you enjoy.


"Good grief, a dollar forty-nine a pound!" With a detectable amount of agitation in her voice, Karen continued, "I can't believe how much a weekly trip to the supermarket costs anymore."

Even though the two women standing in front of the neatly displayed rows of organic vegetables had never met before, the second one knew Karen's words were intended for her ears. Obliging the invitation for a conversation, she offered up, "I know what you mean. It seems like everywhere you go these days the prices escalate faster than you can keep up with."

Karen, sensing she had gained an instant ally, nodded in agreement. "I remember not too long ago being able to fill this entire shopping cart with groceries, then hand the checker a hundred dollars and expect to get change back. Now it only takes a couple of bags to get to that point!"

The two ladies spent the next several minutes comparing notes on the prices of groceries, gasoline, trips to the orthodontist for their children's braces, and a host of other such household expenses. After exhausting their respective lists of immediate financial concerns, they decided it was time to get back to the task at hand, filling their carts with gold bouillon as they so eloquently described it.

Before parting, Karen extended her hand and said, "My name's Karen by the way."

The other woman shook her hand and replied, "Hello Karen By-the-way, nice to meet you. I'm Celia."

This garnered a good chuckle from both of them, and helped to lighten the air a bit. It also gave Karen cause to say, "Celia, thank you for listening to me. I really hope I didn't come off as sounding like a complainer. I'm not typically one to harp on the negative side of stuff, but it's been a tough month with the bills at home, and I guess I just needed someone to let it out with."

"Don't be silly," Celia quickly interjected. "I didn't get the impression that you were anything but a sweetheart from the get go, and I don't think there are many people out there that can't relate to having a rough stretch where money and bills are concerned. Lord knows my husband and I certainly endured enough of them when we were younger. Things eventually turned around for us, and they will for you too my dear, you'll see."

Karen fought back a tear as Celia's comforting words touched her heart. "I'm sure somehow they will. thank you."

The two women parted ways and went about their shopping, zig zagging up and back through the isles. They would occasionally pass by one another, and each time would exchange smiles or a pleasant comment. Eventually, they ended up at the far end of the store in front of the dairy case. Karen picked up two gallons of 2% reduced fat milk while Celia reached for a half gallon of organic whole milk.

Karen looked at Celia and said, "With as much of this stuff as we go through around our place, this is just one area where I can't seem to justify the difference between organic and regular."

Celia had too much passion to let this go with an easy 'I understand' type of response. "Karen, I'd like to be able to agree with you on this one, but I just can't. I've done too much research and read too many articles about the dangers of rbST hormones and other additives in dairy feed to make me choose anything else. I know you've already told me money is tight right now, but I'd really encourage you to do your homework before dismissing this purchase simply on the merits of cost."

Karen got a somewhat guilty look on her face, but insisted, "I'm sure what you're saying is probably true, but I'm afraid today's purchase has to be about dollars and cents. I really am being conservative with what I'm buying these days. That means no extras or unnecessary items that aren't on my list. That also means that with the things I do get, I have to be very conscientious of the price."

"I know dear, and I don't mean to preach. I just have very strong feelings on this particular issue." was Celia's response. "I've been pleading my case with the senior Mr Jacobs over the past several months to drop anything but organic dairy from the shelves, but so far it hasn't done any good."

"The senior Mr Jacobs?" Karen asked.

"Jacobs, as in Jacobson Market, where we're standing right now." explained Celia, "He's the founders son and current majority owner of the supermarket. His son Pat and Pat's wife have taken up much of the day to day operations of the business and will someday step in to take his place as the next owners. They seem to have some very progressive ideas about what to do with the store as well, but until then, the older Jacobs is the one who ultimately makes the decisions."

Celia wrapped it up by continuing with, "Well, perhaps that's enough of my soapbox moment. I should probably let you get going."

Karen looked Celia in the eyes and said, "Thank you for being so passionate about what you believe in. There aren't nearly enough people in the world who are willing to speak up for what they feel so strongly about, nor to do it in a way that is as easy to listen to as what you've just done. I do hope we'll bump into each other again here. It's been fun getting acquainted with you."

"Oh, I'm sure we will Karen. I'm in here pretty regularly. Take care." Celia made her way to the front of the store while Karen picked up the last few items on her list.

A few moments later Karen was standing at the check-out line herself. As she stood there waiting her turn, she saw her new found friend leaving through the front doors with a courtesy clerk in tow, pushing her cart of groceries out towards the parking lot. Another minute or two later and it was her turn. The checker began ringing up the groceries and Karen snickered a bit to herself as the register's display passed the one hundred dollar mark.

She had estimated the total would be around a hundred and fifty dollars, but was pleasantly surprised when the final number came up at just under one-thirty. What happened next just about knocked Karen off her feet though. When she handed the checker her debit card, the young woman standing behind the counter just smiled and said, "I'm happy to say that that won't be necessary."

"It what?" was all the astonished Karen could muster.

Still smiling, the checker said, "Mrs Jacobs has graciously picked up your shopping today."

At the same time she was saying this, another courtesy clerk had made his way to the check stand and placed two gallons of organic milk in her basket. The checker continued, "Oh, and she asked to be sure and give you these too."

As soon as she gained her composure, Karen darted to the front of the store to thank the woman who she'd struck up a conversation with in the produce section only a half hour earlier. The courtesy clerk that had taken Mrs Jacobs. . .er Celia's groceries out was already heading back inside. Karen quickly asked, "Excuse me, where's the woman you just helped out?"

"Oh, Mrs Jacobs?" he replied, pointing to a black Mercedes puling out of the parking lot "That's her leaving over there."

Karen stood there and watched as her generous friend raised a hand through the sunroof and waved as she drove off.


To find the Sunday Scribblings sight simply click on the name.


Finding Pam said...

Jeff, have you been spying on me in the grocery store? Your story sounds just like me when I am shopping. I mean word for word. I never meet a stranger and I love to help people too. I am going to start looking over my shoulder for you. Ha!HA!

That is a wonderful story that your wrote today. I enjoyed it very much. You must grocery shop to have such a good feel for the subject. What a man!

Mike Golch said...

Jeff,great post.thanks for sharing it.I'll be leaving to go and check out the blog.

Mel said...


What a cute ending!

Well done, sir.

BJ Roan said...

Thank you hardly seems adequate. I popped over to read your post for Sunday Scribblings and was blown away by your kind compliment. Let me just say, right back at you.

As for your Scribble, excellent! Loved the ending.

The pressure is on and I'm having trouble with this months POW pics!

Thank you! Thank you! And thank you again!

laughingwolf said...

nicely done, jeff :)

and yes, betty is a superb wordsmith :D

Desert Songbird said...

Heh. I try to buy organic, but then again, it's easy 'cuz I shop at Trader Joe's.

I wish someone would pick up my grocery tab once!

Jeff B said...

Pam- When you see the guy with the camera looking for new blog material, that'll be me.

Mike- glad I didn't scare you off with that last post.

Mel- Contrary to popular belief I do have a softer side on occasion. Just don't tell Gene.

BJ- You are more than welcome. I really do hope some of those that are unfamiliar with your blog will venture over for a look see. Your writing is always top notch.

I have an idea for my POW story, but have yet to pick up a pen to get it on paper.

Laughingwolf- Indeed she is.

Songbird- Wouldn't that be nice?

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Great story Jeff - surprse ending. A

Sandi McBride said...

Wow Jefafa...I loved this and you want to argue talent? You've got it in spades!

Jay said...

Oh, that was fun! I didn't see the ending coming, either!

I must have a go at that Sunday Scribbling thing.

floreta said...

i really like the twist in the end. i didn't even see it coming. :)

Akelamalu said...

I love a happy ending! :)

I was just reading about the kindness of strangers over at Linda's (Are We There Yet)what a coincidence!

Jeff B said...

Anne- Glad you enjoyed it.

Sandi- Thanks for the nice compliment.

Jay- I'll be right there with you. I enjoy finding different writing prompts to participate in.

Floreta- I hoped I could keep Celia's true identity hidden until the end. Thanks for stopping in.

Akelamalu- Perhaps it's in the air today.

Bond said...

Interesting story and well done as always

buffalodick said...

What a great story! She didn't even make it a PR moment... Rich people aren't always jerks, they are just rich people..

Dr.John said...

All of that from the word " organic".
I marvel at your ability.
I need more words.

Ron said...

BRAVO Mr. Jeff!!!

What a great story!

LOVE...LOVE...LOVE the ending!!!

Hey...and I'm on my way to check out BJ's blog this instant!

Thanks for sharing, bud!

Later gator!

missalister said...

The ending here’s a cool surprise to the breeze your writing is! I love easy reading and this is that. It carried me happy the whole way! The only thing that bothers me is Mrs. Jacobs. I sure hope that Mercedes was a brand new S 320 CDI BlueEfficiency ;-)

Vodka Mom said...

that was really incredible, and brought a tear to my eye. I had a sneaking feeling it was going that direction, and even when it DID, I STILL cried.


Jeff B said...

Bond- Thank you

Buffalo- Trying to restore hope in everyone, no matter what the social economic class.

Dr John- Sometimes an idea just flows. On the contrary, I'm having a heck of a time getting anything to gel with the POW this month.

Ron- Thanks buddy. I think you'll like BJ's place. Do go back through a couple of stories too.

Missalister- I would like to think so, but truth be told, I just picked a Mercedes out of the air. I haven't seen the 320. Did see the 180 and was surprised at how much it didn't look like the old school diesel burning variety.

Vodka Mom- Ahhh, ya went and got all misty eyed.

jennifer said...

Thank you for the well wishes on my anniversary post. It was great to hear from you.

This was REALLY well written. You have some serious skills Jeff.

Dianne said...

what a wonderful story! the conversation was so natural and endearing

and the ending made me happy

Starrlight said...

Where was Mrs Jacobs when I was just at WinCO?!?

Lovely story, it made me smile =)

Jeff B said...

Jennifer- You're welcome and again, Happy Blogaversary!

Dianne- I know life's throwing you a bit of funkiness lately, so I'm glad to know I brought a smile to you.

Starrlight- Amen sister. I've been looking over my shoulder a Haggen lately to see if she's around.

Kelly H-Y said...

Nicely done, Jeff ... you have quite the talent for storytelling!!!

Jeff B said...

Kelly- Thanks. Some do Soduko to keep the brain active, I like to write.