Posted by: namesconnie | November 26, 2011

Bargain Memories with Mom

I was raised with four brothers. Mom and I did most of the shopping together. It was a fun event for us. We would start out early in the morning, have some lunch together and be back at searching out the bargains and then perhaps stop for some dinner together. Mom taught me how to find a good bargain. There were the bargain basements of the big department stores. There were the clearance racks at any stores. There were the thrift stores, the swap meets and the garage/yard sales. All of these places to scope out good bargains.

As far as eating went, my mom was good at finding bargains in the grocery stores, too. She made friends with the butcher and the produce workers. She would ask the butcher questions like,“So you have any meat you want to mark down to feed my 5 growing kids?” And of course the reply would be,“Sure, let me go see what I can come up with from the back here for you.” The butcher man would be back with a huge package of meat marked down much lower than the regular meats. It could have been my mom’s blonde hair and blue eyes that did the deal, but it actually was her intelligence, charm and wisdom that helped us all survive some tough old times.

When we went to the grocery store, mom would say to the produce guy, “You know I have all these children to feed, do you think you could set aside some fruits and veggies that may have some little spots on them into a box for me and I could come by weekly to pick it up if you could offer me a little better price than the regular prices?” And sure enough the produce guy would say, “You come back here weekly and I will always have a nice box ready for you and it will be either free or only cost you a little bit”. Back my mom would go weekly to get a huge box of fruits and veggies. Mostly they would look like there was barely anything wrong with them but a few little spots we gladly cut out. We made some nice fresh fruit salads and had some nice salads with each meal, too.

Then there were these huge shoe warehouses her and I would go to. We would get all kinds of nice shoes for the boys and also for ourselves. The shoes would all be marked down at very low prices. Sometimes my mom would let me even get 2 to 3 pairs if she saw how much I liked them. She would say, “You know all 3 of those pairs are cheaper than just one pair at a regular store, so you go right ahead and get those for yourself” and I would beam with joy.

It was the same for my little dresses I wore as a little girl. I would go to the little clearance rack and get to pick out many more dresses than if I just went to the regular priced rack. Even with little money, we did very well.

Then there was trash day. When I grew up, you could throw anything away on trash day. Couches, tables, chairs – you name it. So my mom would drive around “before” things got hauled away by the garbage men and find us these really nice things. She would fix them up a bit and no one knew the difference about whether we got them on the side of the curb or at a fancy shop. She reupholstered things, polished things, used scratch and dent Old English polish to hide scratches on woods, stenciled things, and spray painted or painted things. And they were all as good as new when she was through with them.

At holiday times, she would use her great strategy on finding bargains for gifts. She would go to the toy section, find some toys in dented boxes and then ask the manager “You think you could discount this toy, it has a dent on the box and I feel I ought to have a discount on this one? Probably no one will buy this one and you will just take a loss, but I would be willing to buy it for a discount.” And viola’ she got her bargain.

She would buy the newspaper and scour all the ads for the stores, searching out the best bargains. If you were only allowed “one per customer” she would have each of us kids go in line and buy the item. With 5 kids, she got 5 extra items for a good deal.

I am proud of my mom for being so clever and helping our family with all her bargaining ways. I am happy that I still think of mom with each bargain I get today. I trust she is looking down saying, “That’s my daughter,” and that makes me feel good.

                       -By, Connie Webb



  1. What a lovely story Connie, I really liked it so much. Your Mom sounds like an amazing woman with her wisdom and good bargain shopping. I am very sure she is looking on from Heaven at you ever so proud. 🙂

  2. I really can’t help getting teary eyed when I read your writing. Your mother was a very clever woman hunting for bargains like that. Thanks so much for sharing your story dearest Connie. Every time I read, I feel like I get to know you a little better. I really look forward to sharing in more of your experiences 🙂

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