Inyo Register

Not stressing over getting a good gas deal at the store


Ah, the good old days.

Remember when the gas price surge just had started surging way back in prehistori­c times? Yes, that would have been around April of this year. As others clutched their pearls and alternatel­y swooned or snarled as gas prices motored past $5 a gallon, I got to work plotting a plan to get cheaper gas. No, it did not involve a siphon hose and several five-gallon gas cans.

Instead, I went to the grocery store without a shopping list. I became a “hunter-gatherer” franticall­y going up and down every aisle in Vons. The store offered a crafty promotiona­l program that doubled or tripled the number of “points” awarded to shoppers picking up certain food and goodies. As a confirmed cheapskate and skinflint, I was determined to have those “points” pile up and get me a whooping 10-cent a gallon discount on Vons gas. The math was easy: “earning” 100 points meant I “earned” the dime off gas.

To do so, I abandoned my shopping list and hunted down whatever carried the most “points.” That meant I ventured into virgin dietary terrain to score a discount. Soy milk and granola were points stars, so into the cart they went. Boxes of macaroni and cheese. Gulp. Points over healthy eating. God smiled and put extra points on Oreos, Coke, pretzels, peanut butter and cheap ice cream.

I hit the checkout line carrying the prospect of clogged arteries in return for lower gas prices.

Apparently, I was not the only one scouring the store and picking up broccolini for extra points. That goofy little marketing ploy quickly disappeare­d. I assume the grocery gurus finally understood they didn’t have to entice people to buy gas since it’s more of an essential than a 12-pack of Snickers bars.

But have no fear. I am still reaping a hefty gas discount at the Vons gas station even though the “point” system is back to its original incarnatio­n that “pays” you 1 point for every buck you spend. Spend $100 on groceries, get a dime off a gallon of gas. Easy math, even for me.

While in the “early days” I had to roam every aisle in the store to get essentials and “points,” now my shopping trips are much more leisurely. I have returned to my old dietary habits. I casually peruse the offerings and lean into buying the cheap stuff (still stingy) with no regard to how many or how few “points” come with each purchase.

So a typical trip to Vons involves getting bag of lettuce (not even organic); a pound of coffee (a generic brand – just make it extra strong, load in the sugar and cream and it tastes like an exclusive blend of organic, hand-picked beans ground by rain forest elves); a couple of cans of beans and corn (a complete protein when mixed, I think); plenty of butter; soy milk (it’s not bad and is Bomb Shelter food since it takes a year to outdate); instant oatmeal (to ensure good poops); several packs of cookies (Pecan Sandies, not Oreos); a dozen eggs (chicken in a shell); a bulk pack of burger patties (not “lean” because fat equals flavor, so it 15% fat); a half dozen chicken breasts (without regard of what they were fed or where they roamed); and yes, the aforementi­oned 12-pack of Snickers.

Then I just smile at the checkout because I know I will “earn” a stress-free gas discount because, thanks to the big jump inflation that has jacked up food prices on everything I eat, virtually every trip to the store ends up costing me $100.

(Jon Klusmire of Bishop is not exactly a “foodie.”)

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JOn KlUsMIre

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