How to make grandmas scramble

Last year's happy begonias.I was at Lowe's the other day to pick up some flowers and such before the mad rush of Memorial Day Weekend cleans out the place. I have a lot of containers in the backyard to fill, so I set about picking up some zinnias, some begonias, some pansies, some geraniums, knowing that was only about one-third of what I need, but it's a start.

Shopping on a Tuesday afternoon, when most folks are working, meant lots of older folks were roaming the aisles, lots of grandmas and grandpas ... some old enough to be my grandma and grandpa. I waited my turn in the checkout line amidst the other grandparents and finally made it to the counter, where the young cashier gal scanned my zinnias, my pansies, my geraniums. Then she got to the big hanging basket of begonias. Naturally, there was no barcode sticker on the basket.

"Let me look it up," the gal says, typing it into the register, then flipping through the cheatsheet notebook beside her. "Nope, it's not in there."

So I asked if she'd like me to run get another basket, as they were pretty close to the door. She said "yes," I ran and got the basket as irritation set in with the older folks waiting in line behind me, a look of sympathy for those irritated folks on the faces of the grandmas and grandpas in the line next to us.

I race back to the counter with the basket, the gal scans it. "What's it ring up as?" I asked. I hadn't even looked for a price when picking up the basket because for the past two years, I've had a cuss of a time finding begonias. Yeah, they're not the most beautiful or fragrant flowers in the world, but they love my backyard. And living in a crazy high-altitude climate such as I do, I've learned that if a plant loves my place, then I love it. So I felt I'd struck gold when I found basket after basket in the garden center at Lowe's and it didn't really matter to me what they cost.

"Well, it says $1.24," the gal said. "But that can't be right."

"No," I told her, "that's certainly not right. Do you want me to get another basket?"

Of course she said "yes," so I grabbed the one, raced off for another, grabbed it and returned as quickly as possible so as to minimize the daggers directed at me by all the other grandmas in line. One grandpa even moved from the line to lean against the racks just beyond the register, so he could act impatient directly in front of me, like it was my fault the cuss begonias didn't have a cussing tag.

"Nope, that one rings up at $1.24, too," the cashier gal said. To which I responded that if that's the case, if it's coded wrong and that's what it's ringing up as, there's nothing the poor girl -- who looked worried because she knew darn well it was a $15 to $20 basket -- then it's not her fault. "But ... if that's what they're ringing up as, I'll take that one, too," I told her.

The grandma in line behind me leaned in and whispered, "What are they going for?" So I told her -- and she nodded to her partner Grandpa and quickly headed to the outdoor display to grab a basket for herself as he held their place in line.

Then the grandpa impatiently reclining on the shelves nearby leaned toward me. "How much?" And I had no choice but to tell him.

Next I heard one grandma behind me say to the next grandma in that second line, "Begonias? For $1.24? I'm getting some." She headed out the door ... just as the first grandma to ask me tapped me on the shoulder and asked just exactly where they're located outside because she'd rushed off not knowing where she was going. I pointed, and another grandma raced to that area. Then another grandma in the second line asked her fellow customers about the price. "If that's what they're charging, I gotta get some," she said.

Murmurs of exclamation moved down both register lines, all the while my poor cashier girl looked concerned as she finished up my transaction. "If that's how they coded it, it's not your fault," I tried to console her.

"Yeah, I'll need to check that right away," she said.

"At this rate, there won't be any left for you to worry about," I said.

We finished up, and I pulled my big ol' cart of garden goodies past the grandmas scrambling for begonias. I felt a bit like a thief as I walked to the truck to load 'em up, pretty sure that at any moment I'd get a tap on the shoulder from a manager who'd proceed to tell my to get my tail back in the store and pay up.

Didn't happen. I was thankful to get such a deal but regretted putting my cashier gal in such an awkward position -- probably fearing for her job -- by sharing that deal with the other grandmas around me.

Most of all, though, I regretted not picking up another basket or two while the getting was good.

Today's question:

What's your most recent great deal, on a purchase or otherwise?