One Flatbush Lady’s Quest for Discount Watermelon

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Flatbush, Brooklyn, but Brooklyn may conjure up impressions of 1960s gangs or 2010s hipsters, or gangs of hipsters. Flatbush does have a rough time during Jouvert on Labor Day, and it can produce enlightened roughnecks like the Flatbush Zombies, but Flatbush, to me, is more about church ladies with Jamaican accents.

My wife and I were in our Stop and Shop a few weeks ago. The store offers lots of double coupons and deals, and is always busy. The man in front of you in the checkout might be buying 50 bottles of $1 two-liters of Sprite and Coke, no exaggeration, I guess to resell in his deli. The grandmothers pushing carts of 50 two-liters, I have no idea where they’re going.

It can also take about 20 minutes to get through a line.

So, a well-dressed older lady walked up to me with a coupon ripped from a circular for a watermelon. If you bought more than $25 worth of groceries, according to the terms of the coupon, the watermelon would only be $2. So, she was politely asking each person in line, who seemed to have more than $25 worth of groceries, if they would buy the watermelon for her. She had cash.

I thought this was both ridiculous and interesting, so I took her watermelon, coupon, and $2, and we small-talked. She was a really sweet lady. She had just come from a function, and had to get to a board meeting for a New York business college. She excused herself and went to the service window, where she waited in a line of five people to pay for her small basket of groceries.

Receipt in hand, she then waited at the end of our terminal for us to check out, and graciously received her melon. She joked with the clerk and the bag boy, she knew both of them by name, and then hurried away.

I walked by the watermelon display two days later, and the watermelon, without the coupon, was $3.

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