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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal

Thoughts While Running Krogering

J. D. Pendry

Su just told me to go to the IG and pick up a gallon of milk and some bananas. She meant the local IGA.

I can't get out of this detail even in retirement. It's ironic, however, because it's a lot like being a NCO in the Army. That's going with my bride to do the grocery shopping. How is grocery shopping with your wife like being a NCO? Simple. Occasionally you're in charge, but most of the time you just get to push the cart.

For those of you who intend to retire within a few meters of a military installation this probably won't be much of an issue for you. But humor me, you may be able to share it with one of your younger troopers who will leave the Army and give up that very important Commissary benefit. It's most definitely a benefit when your grocery bill stands to increase anywhere from 20 to 30 percent if you lose it.

There was only one period in our 27 years together in the Army where Su and I didn't shop at the commissary. We spent that four years in Erie, PA on a ROTC assignment. In Erie they have two seasons - winter and the 4th of July. Some of the locals refer to it as the mistake-by-the-lake. Anyway back to grocery shopping.

Shopping in the commissary most of our lives, we developed some bad habits - of course it only took one trip to the local grocery store to break most of them. Our usual trip to the commissary consisted of me pushing the cart and Su dragging her bale of coupons. We would travel most aisles and chuck stuff into the cart, rarely concerned about price. Our usual F-150 pick-up truck full of groceries, about $200 - give or take ten bucks. Now let me tell you about Kroegering.

On our first trip to the store to stock the bunker, we bought the usual brands we'd grown accustomed to over our years of commissary shopping. My chin is still laying on the floor somewhere near the debit/credit card swiper. Su just said "Oh my god." But being good soldiers we had an AAR when we got back home. We've now discovered that a can of green beans with the Kroeger label tastes just as good as the jolly Green Giant's - especially at a $.30 price difference. We're now smart enough to come very close to what our commissary bill used to be. We've also discovered places like Sam's Club. So what if you have to buy a whole case of toilet paper - it don't spoil.

Your commissary is a very valuable benefit and you should slug any politician that tries to take it away - or trade it to them for 30 percent pay raise. Y'all take are. Keep your sandbags full and keep improving your position. Next time I might tell you about this job I got.

© J. D. Pendry 1999