- Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store on Sunday, I had a sudden clear vision of a slogan. Red and white on a blue background, like a candidate’s bumper sticker or T-shirt. In bold letters it reads:
The Year We Stop Trying
I have no idea what it means. It does not even exist yet. But I crave it.
News of David Ortiz’s failed drug test hit Red Sox Nation last week. RJ and I watched the drama unfold on SportsCenter in the break room at work. Chris McKendry asked Tim Kurkjian if this news came as a shock to him.
RJ: At this point, would any name come as a shock?
Professor (thinking a moment): Cal Ripken, Jr.
RJ: … wow. Yeah.
Professor: If we discover that he was juicing, I’m giving up on baseball. I’ll give it a decade to sort itself out, but I’ll stop watching.
Back to the grocery store, sorry.
I like little fruit and gel cups with my lunch. The local grocery store alternates between putting Dole and Del Monte on sale; I’ll buy whichever’s cheapest. I’ve also started using coupons, too. A few weeks ago, I cashed in a coupon for 25 cents off any two packs of Dole fruit cups. As the cashier rung me up, she handed me back another coupon for 50 cents off any three packs.
I understand the marketing theory behind coupons: create brand loyalty by pushing a user over the marginal hump separating them from a new product. Give them a taste for that soft drink, or that frosted cereal. I don’t spend enough money on groceries to make coupon clipping a good investment of time, and I don’t have a lot of room to stockpile food.
But fruit and gelatin keep, so I used my “50 cents off three” coupon this past week. The cashier handed me a coupon giving me 75 cents off any purchase of $10 or more, courtesy of the generous folks at Dole. Nice of them. She also handed me a coupon for 75 cents off four packs of fruit cups.
In some dark basement, the medieval twin to my own Internet marketing agency, a hook-nosed drone studies me through grainy surveillance footage. He sees me tuck the coupon behind a refrigerator magnet as I unload my groceries. His greasy fingers play with a stack of loose buckslips of increasing denomination, culminating in “take $7.50 off any thirty-one packs of fruit cups. Expires December 21, 2012.”
“Go on,” he whispers. “What’s one more?”
- with mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage
- you will not back up an inch ever; that's why you will not survive