Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Today, we've had rain by the buckets. And since it was also my errand and grocery shopping day - and I really couldn't put it off, we were out of everything - it meant lugging Little Man around town in the wetness. Luckily, he loved the rain. Something about getting a bath, while still in your clothes, in Momma's arms, running through parking lots made him giggle.

Our first stop was the BX for things like shampoo and chewing gum [having quit smoking, Husby is now an avid gum-chewer, and I gladly feed his much healthier - and cheaper! - habit]. While we were inside, the downpour we had witnessed on our way in doubled tripled. What was once a steady rain became such a torrential downpour that I considered purchasing a sleeping bag or two and moving in. Doing so, however, would have left barren cupboards for Husby to come home to, and I just couldn't have that. But I couldn't brave the storm to get to my car, drive across town to my grocery store, and run through a wet parking lot again - my baby might melt!

That's when I remembered the unique design of this base's BX - the Commissary [read military grocery store] was actually adjacent - meaning that if I could suck it up and do my grocery shopping there, I would be able to waste time and hope that the storm has subsided - or at least let up a little - by the time we were finished, without having to get wet in between. Any other time I've been to a Commissary, it's been in a different building than the BX, with horridly disorganized shelves and a system that forces you to have a bagger - whom must receive a tip for taking your groceries to your car for you. I've not been a fan in the past, and thus have avoided shopping there whenever possible. The rain, however, wasn't going to let me out of it today.

As I made my way through the warm, dry passage from BX to Commissary, I was pleasantly surprised to find a neat, tidy, well organized, normal-looking grocery store! The cheese was with the other dairy products! Snack foods were all on one isle! Shelves contained brands I recognized! And, as an added bonus, most of the prices were less [even if not much less] than I would have expected at my normal grocery haunt. I was in Frugal Momma Heaven. Not only was I able to find everything on my list, but Little Man had plenty of ladies to flirt with [that boy's going to be trouble when he's older ...]. The only hurdle left was the bagger - I've been taking my own bags to my own car for years, thankyouverymuch, and I don't feel the need to pay someone else to do it for me. But, being the Commissary, and that I had more than 25 items and was thus shunned from the Self Check-Out lanes, I had no other choice. 

When I first got to the check-out, the bagger for my lane was still returning from his last trip to a customer's vehicle, so I had a moment to double check the going rate for bag tipping with the checker. According to her, the standard used to be $0.25/bag or $3/cart - I'm not sure how old her information was, so I went with it. Anything more than $3 sounded a little steep to me anyway [and my mother-in-law, who has seen her fair share of Commissaries, told me once that a dollar would suffice, so I felt like 3 was more than adequate]. One cart full of bagged groceries - and a significantly smaller tab! - later, and we headed out into the wet. The rain on the roof sounded like it had died down a bit, but we were greeted with large, slow drops when we stepped out the doors. Hurrying to the car, I popped the trunk and proceeded to help the bagger load my purchases. Being a gentleman [or maybe it was in his job description], he told me he would handle it so I could load my melting child into the car. 

Never having been a fan of tipping the bagger, I was more that willing to hand over those three ones on this rainy afternoon. And if I can save as much next time as I did today, I'll be willing to tip $5/cart to shop at the Commissary from now on!

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