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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Grocery Store Police...

The Grocery Store Police

We here at the Grocery Store Police are writing this letter to warn you. You probably have never heard of us and didnít even know that we existed. Yes, we do exist! It is our job to watch shoppers and to be sure that no offenses are committed. You have grievously erred and are receiving this friendly citation as your last and final warning.

Grocery shoppers are notorious for their offenses. We work very hard on a daily basis. Produce is one of our most difficult beats, and it is there that we first noticed you. You started at the apples and picked only the very biggest and best. Do you not realize that when you choose the best produce only the smaller and less quality items are left for our other customers?

At the broccoli you actually reached over the wilted bunches which we had carefully placed near the front and reached all the way to the back to take crisp fresh broccoli. It served you right when the automatic produce sprinklers came on. You thought that was an accident, didnít you? And the bananas! You passed by the ripe ones and took the green ones! No one does that! Just because they will ripen by the next day does not mean that you should buy them.

We saw you turn over a basket of strawberries to see if there were green ones on the bottom. And you SQUEEZED a melon to see if it was ripe. You were saved only by the fact that you put the melon in your basket after the squeeze. Our swat team was ready to strike. You are very fortunate!

Moving along, we would like to cover a few other matters. We no longer have butcher counters where the butcher can select meat and pass it off -- er -- sell it without regard to quality. We saw you selecting the leaner cuts of packaged meat and checking for excess fat. This, again, is not permitted. Actually, these packages are all pretty much the same and poorer quality items are hidden under the good stuff anyhow. Now that we are wise to you, only the poor quality meat will be in the meat counter when you shop. You may have suspected that we are doing this already.

In regular grocery items, our agents saw that when cans of vegetables were three for a dollar, you were buying only two. When cans of vegetables are three for a certain price, you have to buy them all whether you need them or not. That is the rule. Never, ever, let us see you buying just what you actually need.

What took place on the bread aisle is a true atrocity. You squeezed several loaves to see if they were fresh before taking one. It is only because our agents are so busy that you manage to get by with this week after week. After all, if we took action against everyone squeezing bread, we would get little else done. (By the way, those rules about squeezing toilet paper are a fallacy. You are allowed to squeeze it. However, if your thumb goes through the plastic, consider it purchased -- it is yours!)

There are many other violations that we did not cover at all: the way you checked expiration dates on milk, instead of taking the jug in the front, the way you passed over the non-grocery items thinking, no doubt, that you could purchase them cheaper elsewhere. Do you not realize that these items are carried as a convenience for our customers? If you fail to buy them, they might be discontinued. Then what will you do when you need shampoo and donít have time to go elsewhere? See how this works?

In the checkout lines, remember the "no talking rule" and do not complain to your fellow shoppers about how long it takes to get out of the store. Those little last minute candy items at the check out lines are there to occupy you. Take advantage of the opportunity to run up your bill a bit more while waiting.

Finally, remember we at the Grocery Store Police are always on duty. You may look for our agents in overcoats and for cameras or mirrors in the store, but you will never see us. Changing stores will not help -- we are everywhere. We are taking notes and you are being observed. Consider this a warning. Change your ways immediately or you may never eat again!

Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss


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