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Do nothing and get rich quick

The grocery clerk ran my check in the amount of $57.53 through the register, grasped the receipt and smoothly circled an amount printed on the bottom.

“You saved $11.46 by shopping with us today.”



Not bad work, I thought. All I did was walk around the store with a cart for 20 minutes, and I managed to save $11.46. We certainly could use the money.




In fact, with all the bills we have piled up around the house, we could use a lot more money. So I went to the store down the street and piled my cart high.

The grocery clerk ran my credit card through the machine, and I signed a promise to pay $147.55.

But I cared not a whit about the size of the tab. I wanted to know my newfound riches.

“You saved $37.42 with us today,” the clerk said.

The fellow who said the world is filled with abundance knew what he was talking about. It wasn’t noon and I had $48.88 to show for my lack of efforts. Even if you factored in the $205.08 I’d spent – many financial experts in this post-Enron era suggest this as the conservative approach – I’d made a heckuva return on my money.

I considered devoting the rest of the day to more grocery shopping, but decided that there’s no place for greed. I should leave some money in the store for my neighbors to share.

Still, we needed bath soap at home. Overcoming my good resolution about greed, I made one more little bitty stop at the store and bought $118 in cookies. With the cookies, I got coupons good for $4 in gasoline – free gasoline! Imagine! – filled up the car and headed for Reno.

Now, if you need soap, I’ve learned that there’s no sense checking into one of those budget motels. Why, all they have is those bars of soap no bigger than a man’s thumbnails. You’re a lot better off to check into an expensive hotel where they give you not one, but two, big bars of soap.

Now that I had my $48.88 in cash, two free bars of soap and $1.27 worth of cash left in the car, it was time to rack up some more money down at the casino. With my frequent-gambler card, they give me a free soda every time I show up. Spend a couple of hours at the slots, and I might get comped for a free dessert at the buffet, too.

The night was dark as I drove home, weary but thrilled at my ability to tap the monetary stream of the universe. Why, at this rate I should be able to retire in three or four months.

If I don’t go broke first.

John Seelmeyer is editor of The Union, and his column appears on Saturday.


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