Mike Litoris, Editor
Mike Litoris here. Welcome to the second issue of The Small Town times! We have some new writers here in Small Town who have contributed to this month’s newsletter. I hope you enjoy it.
The Small Town Times is a place to know about what’s new in town before your gossipy Aunt Martha does.
Margo Prentice, Writer
Old Man’s Shopping Club
There is a weird cult of old men who belong to secret groups of, “retired grocery shopper guys.” They have meetings in malls. In warm weather they meet at designated bus stops where they sit on the benches. The topics on their meeting agendas involve coupons, the best deals and where the sales are. They compare prices and are very competitive; trying to outdo each other with the amounts of money they can save.
My husband has an envelope of coupons stuffed in his back pant pocket. He carries flyers with him and circles the items he is considering buying. If ham is on sale at more than one store, it is outlined in red in different flyers. The store that has best price is where he goes to shop.
Like many retired older men, many decide to take over the grocery shopping. This is not an unusual or new phenomenon. A group of older men was sitting having coffee at the Mall. My husband told me he met these guys when he saw them looking at the food flyers at a big round table. He asked what they were doing. They told him and invited him to join them. He joined in and from that first meeting there was no looking back.
There is a secret ritual of coupon poker; I have only watched from a distant and heard a little. They bid like five card stud, only with coupons. “I’ll have two coupons and they pick from the pile.” The coupons are slid carefully across the table to the bidder. Then the bidding begins. I bid two Safeway orange juice specials; I’ll raise you, three Thrifty store beef specials. The best coupon poker player ends up with a table of coupons. He is allowed to trade them at a later time.
They have maps showing the best and fastest routes to the stores on their lists. It is extremely important that the “OMSSC” (Old Man’s Secret Shopping Club), gets to the store that has the best price as quickly as needed to get to a sale item while the supplies last. It is a slowed down type of feeding frenzy.
They have a telephone list and phone each other to notify members where and when to meet. The business of serious bargain hunting starts at these meetings; they drink coffee, scan through flyers and discuss sales. My husband says they are getting t-shirts made with, “OMSSC”on them.
I learned early in my marriage never to tell my husband that I like something. Honesty hasn’t been the best policy for me. It all started when I mentioned how much I liked Peek Freen cookies, the ones with the jam in the center. “Yum, I sure love these cookies, dear!”
His dedicated mission is to buy these treats when they are on sale. He will buy four boxes at a time. This has been going on for years and I can hardly stand them anymore. When I open my cupboard there is a whole row of Peak Freens on my top shelf. Storage had become a problem.
He tells me, I will save enough money for a holiday each year.” He does save but not enough for a holiday, maybe a visit and a good dinner in Surrey.
It is just too much of a good thing. I do have a strategy though, every week or so I donate boxes of Peek Freen cookies the food bank bag. He hardly notices they are gone. Maybe I should be honest with him and tell him I don’t like them anymore. I just don’t want to upset the ‘apple cart’ of his dedicated sale shopping. I wouldn’t want him to lose face with his secret club buddies either.
Mike Litoris, Editor
“Big Five” Introduce Robbie
In a move that has stunned townspeople, the Big Five banks have merged into one financial institution just for Small Town and area. The mouthpiece for the banks, Ms. Maureen Pawn, explains, “We’re very pleased to announce that we have a new Customer Service Representative to look after all your banking needs! His name is Robbie, and he’s a robot!”
The Big Five banks announced this past spring that they would be closing all their branches in Small Town and the surrounding area. The Town Council have been struggling to come up with banking alternatives. So when Ms. Pawn notified the town’s bigwigs about a solution, they were eager to attend the press conference. Myself, the town council and the town drunk, Nick, who was passed out and snoring something awful, all made an appearance at this historic event.
Robbie is stainless steel and looks like a cartoon. I brought up the similarity to Ms. Pawn who said, “Our best research indicated that we design him to look like Elmer Fudd’s robot in the episode Robot Rabbit so that our older customers would feel calm and reminisce about their childhoods. It’s a good way to distract them from our 12% increase in service fees.”
I asked, “Does he talk?”
Ms. Pawn said, “He’s programmed to speak in five different languages except English.”
“He doesn’t speak English?”
Then there was a loud crash, and we turned around to see that Nick had fallen off his chair.
Pawn didn’t take any notice and said, “But the robot speaks five different languages, it’s hard to find that skill level in an employee. Best of all, we don’t have to pay him because he’s a robot. He can just stay at the bank branch and work all the time. He’s a model employee so Small Town is actually getting the best of this situation.”
I asked, “How does that help the customers?”
Giving me the big ignore, Ms. Pawn said, “Robbie is programmed to deal with all kinds of situations. For instance, whenever there’s hostility from a customer, Robbie is programmed to stop everything and play soothing lounge music until the customer either calms down or walks away.”
When this reporter mentioned that ignoring the needs of bank customers in small towns is what the Big Five does best, Ms. Pawn started to hum lounge music.
From the News Desk
Everyone was anticipating who would win September 10’s tractor pull contest. Last year’s winner was Verna-May Litoris and she returned to defend her title. Her main competitor was Ida Thompson. Both ladies are known to pull their tractors several feet in under a minute. Yesterday’s competition was tense as both contestants were neck-to-neck.
Suddenly, the tension was broken by the screams of a man running between the two tractors being chased by the Wilson family’s dog. The man crossed the finish line first, followed by the dog. We never did find out the name of the man because he kept running away from the dog. So, first place went to the dog.
The Wilsons are very proud of their dog!
Here’s a picture from 5-year old Timmy Wilson:
Barton Frogmeade, Writer
Sunday School Doubles Attendance
Recently a worried parent spoke to Reverend Bertha Brackenridge at Small Town United Church. The parent was concerned that their child was spending a lot of time speaking and playing with an invisible friend.
After reassuring the parent that this was not unusual behaviour, the Reverend realized that this was a great opportunity to present her idea for the next Sunday School class. Reverend Brackenridge is asking all of the children in the class to invite their invisible friends to attend a special lesson this Sunday. At that time she will introduce them to “my invisible friend Jesus”.
If all goes well, attendance at the Sunday school could double.
Bad Poetry Contest
August 18 was Bad Poetry Day in Small Town. The winner was Santy, the runners-up were Barton Frogmeade and Gertrude Smith. There were two prizes. The first was publication in this here newsletter, and the second, was not having to take their cod liver oil for the day.
Santy, Winner of the Bad Poetry Contest.
His poem reminds us that winter is coming and we best be prepared. So get your stewing pots ready:
A squirrel is a many-splendored thing
A stew, a flying rat
The tail for a hat
A weird companion in the bath
Barton Frogmeade is the 1st runner-up
With poems I am ever so slick
just watch me write a limerick
it’s not like haiku
it’s three lines plus two
it’s the rhyming that makes it so sick
Gertrude Smith, 2nd runner-up
He played the drum, While trying to hum, and drinking rum
…too tired.Please submit for me. Thx. Goodnight.
We would like to say Thank You to our contributors:
Margo Prentice, Sean Dwyer as Santy, David Blair as Barton Frogmeade, Tabetha Farnell as Gertrude Smith, and Jessie Blair as Mike Litoris