Supermarket Stories

The Frozen Food Samaritan

It seems that every time I go to the market, I have an interesting encounter. On my last visit, it took place in the frozen food section. I was perusing the dinners when a well-dressed elderly woman decided to give me some pointers on finding the least expensive meal without sacrificing quality. If one can include quality and frozen food dinners in the same sentence.

“Those are quite good,” she exclaimed, while pointing at the colorful package containing an Italian steak stir-fry meal. “In fact, that’s my favorite. It’s also quite filling for me. Yes, it’s only me,” she said as her voice cracked.

She turned away and stared out into space, perhaps, into another time when one bag was barely enough for two. She looked back my way with a twinkle in her eye. “Yes, the steak stir-fry is quite good.” She studied the shelf below, where bags of tangy chicken stir-fry sat scrunched together in a row, as if the stock boy kept adding to a shelf that rarely had anything taken from it.

“Not my favorite. Don’t like really sweet things.” She directed me to the soy sauce dinner. “Now, that’s a good one, especially if you like Chinese food.”

“I like Chinese food,” I echoed, not quite knowing how to respond to my good frozen food Samaritan.

She squinted at the pricing below the shelf. “You see. It’s a much better price than that one.” She nodded disdainfully at the dinners in the casing next door. “Too expensive.” She shook her head. “I can’t afford that.”

“Who can?” I added.

She smiled then looked at my cart. “Looks like you have more than one to feed. The stir-fry dinners are enough for two. If you have more than that, I would suggest taking two bags.”

“That’s good,” I said, and began wondering if she was an emissary for a frozen food company. Maybe, the mother of a CEO who is quietly dispatched to local supermarkets to help drum up business. Brilliant marketing ploy but not far-reaching unless the company dispatches an army of elderly woman to supermarkets across the country. Now that would be brilliant. Who could resist advice from such a kind grandmotherly type?

I opened the freezer and grabbed two packages of the frozen steak stir-fry dinner.

“Good choice,” she said and walked away.

I guess the tangy chicken would have to wait for a change in the elderly lady rotation schedule.

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