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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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"Free lunch bag," said the advertisement.
"Hum, that's pretty cute," I thought. "I wouldn't mind to have one of those. So, what's the catch?" 
I flipped the box over and read the conditions. Twenty boxes . . . that's a lot. I knew they were not giving away lunch bags for nothing.
"But, I can do it." 
The boxes I am talking about are frozen dinner boxes. Yes, I know, but I take a frozen dinner to the office for lunch most of the time. It started when I was on a diet. After I stopped dieting, I kept on taking frozen lunches. They are better than a baloney sandwich, and you have to do is grab one out of the freezer in the morning.  
Let's see, one box a day, five days a week - it will take a month, I calculated. That's not too bad, and I have to eat anyhow. Honey eats them too, so I could get his boxes. This is beginning to sound easier all the time, I thought, as I decided which one of the styles I liked best.
The pink one with big dots is really snazzy, "The Ashley - fun and flirty," it says. But I guess I'll go with "The Nicole - glitz and glam." A darker color will match more things. Not that it matters if my lunch bag matches my outfit. What am I thinking?
"Collect 20 unique codes (one code found inside each box). A few entrees a week will get you there in no time." Okay, so where is the code? Then I found out that not all the dinners have the code, only the more expensive dinners. That figures.
I sent my honey an email, "Save your frozen dinner box and bring it home."
"Bring home the garbage??"?
I had to explain the entire thing to him to get him to bring home the stupid box. Then wouldn't you just know it? It was the wrong kind, no code.
So, I ate chicken and rice -- rice and chicken. Some of the dinners are pretty good, but none of them are gourmet cuisine. How good can a frozen diet dinner
The boxes stacked up. I started counting. I had fourteen. When is the deadline? Oh, no, it's the 3rd. There are not enough days left!
I sent out an urgent plea to my co-workers. "If you eat frozen lunches, can I have your box? I'm saving for a free lunch bag. "Apparently no one ate the same brand of lunches as me. I got one lousy box out of it. Still, a box is a box.
Five to go.
Maybe I could buy new lunches and take them out of the boxes, I thought. I was starting to get desperate.
I went to the grocery store, and the specially marked lunches were hard to find. I dug deep and came up with five.
I've saved four more this week. One of my five was the wrong kind. Only one more dinner and I'll have enough. I have to go to the grocery store again. They better have some of the good boxes left, or else . . . Or else what? Well, I don't know what, but after saving nineteen of these things, I want that free lunch bag.
I did have one piece of good news. I read the fine print wrong. I have until the 31st to save my boxes, not the 3rd. I'm practically assured of getting a free lunch bag now.
Let me see, at an average of $2.88 per dinner x 20, the free lunch bag has cost me over $57. But that's not the point. The point is that I didn't have to pay extra, the lunch bag is FREE.
I really hope they don't give away anything else, though. I can't afford any more free lunch bags.

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

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