Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stalking the Meat-Reducing Man is a Competetive Sport

I know the title sounds a little quirky... the "meat-reducing man" part of it, but I couldn't come up with anything better.

Bright and early this morning, and by that I mean as soon as Daniel left and I got dressed, I zipped down the road to Food Lion. Now in order to hunt out the reduced meat deals, you have to have a few good hunting strategies and skillz (yeah man, you gotta have skillz!):

Get there first.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes - you may have to do some standing.
Be patient.
Act nonchalant and look like you're simply browsing the aisles.
Be aware of other hunters - they are your competition!

I arrived there at 7:20am. Few people were in the store, so I made a straight line for the meat counter. There were no reduced goods. I noticed that only a few lights were on in the meat room behind the meat section, so I figured that the Meat-Reducing Man hadn't arrived yet. I would scout out the store and collect information for future hunts. A good hunter always knows the lay of the land and the habits of the creature being hunted.

I looked at a lot of things while waiting. I found a wadded up coupon that had been tossed on the shelf. It took a little bravery to carefully un-wad the piece of paper that could have easily contained a booger, ear wax or a used piece of gum, but in case it was a perfectly good coupon I took the chance - and won! A $.50 of any 1 Breyer's product coupon that doesn't expire until mid-December!

About 8 o'clock I started noticing Mr. Orange Doo-Rag. He was a little anxious in his hunting and wasn't sporting good huntsman-ship skillz. I guess he was dressed comfortably - he looked to be in dingy, dirty work clothes. I wondered why he wasn't working this morning. Maybe he takes his Reduced-Meat hunting seriously because he was wearing the color of a hunter - orange, in the form of a doo-rag. Or maybe he was having a bad hair day, or his head was cold. But it made him very easy to spot - and notified at least me, his competition, that he was out there waiting to close in on the kill.

While I did my stalking and waiting down adjacent aisles, he walked back and forth from one side of the store to the other. The first couple times he had a basket. Then he had an item or two in the basket. A couple times later he was minus the basket and items. After a few more passes - some taking him directly past the meat section where he would look in the case - he had an item in hand. Then it was gone. Then it was back. It was like he was pretending to shop and collect items. I was simply looking at items and being very still and not quick or sudden in my movements. When you're hunting you need to be still, silent and any movements carefully calculated and made slowly so as to not scare off or warn the target of your presence or approach.

Finally, the Meat-Reducing Man comes into the clearing with his box of meat and his "Price Reduced" scanner/label gun thingy. Mr. Orange Doo-Rag steps up his pace, pretending to look at donuts across and to the right of the meat case. Then after another trip to the other side of the store he comes back and strikes up conversation with someone in the deli. The Meat-Reducing Man is slowly making his way into the target area, carefully doing his job and hopefully unaware that I am stalking his every move and waiting for him to get to the ground beef. I'm pretty sure that he was aware of Doo-Rag - you couldn't NOT be aware of him.

About the time Meat-Reducing Man gets to the ground beef (8:22am), Mr. Orange Doo-Rag tells Deli-Person "hang on, I'll be right back" and all but runs past the meat section (looking in on his way past I'm sure) to the other side of the store. He returns in the same fashion carrying an item - probably a prop. But, ah-ha, he made his move a little hastily and too early. Meat-Reducing Man has not quite made it to the ground beef. I slowly meander my way in his direction, knowing that he would soon have worked his magic on the ground beef (if any magic needed worked). I study the price per pound on Country Style Pork Ribs, Fresh and Frozen Tilapia Fillets, and then compare those prices with some other items. About that time Meat-Reducing Man has completed his work on the ground beef and is working on the next items in line. Under the guise of checking prices per pound on different meats I simply walk up to the unsuspecting Meat-Reducing Man and stand beside him looking at the ground beef. I quickly notice that there are no bright orange stickers - that means there's no reduced packages. Of course I can't just walk away, that would give away that I'm an Undercover Hunter. So I check prices on the different kinds of ground beef and contemplate them seriously. Meat-Reducing Man asks if I'm finding everything ok. I tell him "Thank, I'm just looking around", contemplate a few more prices, and move on to another section. After I have browse enough to make it look ligit, I meander down aisle 5, and once I'm out of the sight line of the target area, I walk out the store. Not passing go and not collecting $200. My mission was over. My collected data was stored in the memory bank for future reference. So even though I didn't make a haul on reduced ground beef, I have some very vital information to help me improve my hunting skills.

I think my skillz are better than Mr. Orange Doo-Rag's skillz. Even though neither of us bagged anything, I think that by getting to the meat immediately after Meat-Reducing Man had finished his magic, I won.

Should I wear sun-glasses next time?


Delighted Mom said... [Reply to comment]

That's hilarious! And yes, you should wear sunglasses next time. And maybe a matching orange do-rag to let the other hunter know you mean business! :)

Mary said... [Reply to comment]

I am still laughing! I will have to be more aware of my "competition" next time I go reduced meat shopping too. Though I have to admit, I would not be near so patient. Somehow I think a Mom w/ 4 children "wandering" around in the store would surely give it away. Maybe I just need to dress my kids up as hunters and have them take turns going past the meat counter so no suspects that it's really ME. : )

Phoebe said... [Reply to comment]

Crackin' me up!

But, yes, I agree...the orange doo rag is a must next time.

Fo' Real! Let them (the competition)know you got skillz! And you're not afraid to use 'em!

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

This is a real hoot!! I can hardly believe it, but then, with you, I can believe it. Are you sure you didn't forget to tell us about your stolen Food Lion apron (that you only "borrowed" from the employee break room) to make you look like part of the store?

I have a lot to learn from you in the arts of shopping without spending money. Thanks for all the lessons!

RochelleS said... [Reply to comment]

Your posts ROCK! I didn't know there is a "Meat-Reducing Man"!!! I'll have to look out for him and all the other hunters. I've been following your blog for a few months now. Your post on lunch meat yesterday got me thinking of pork roasts. Love them!!! They are on sale now ($0.99/lb) due to open hunting season in our area. They're very economical. We make them for roasts, BBQs, sandwich meat, and the bone makes some of the best soups!! I love your money saving tips and all the updates!!!

Ashley said... [Reply to comment]

That was so funny!!!

But I know exactly what you mean! I think all of us have been there done that!


Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

Great post...sooo funny!

Judi said... [Reply to comment]

You are hysterical!

Get to know your meat man. My co-worker talks to him and actually finds out when they mark down.

Another tip is to check the labels when you're shopping throughout the week, you'll probably recognize a schedule about how often they put out the meat. Take note of when the labels will be close to their date and plan to go back the day before or morning of.