Something for nothing?

Published 6:32 pm Friday, December 10, 2010

Anything really worth quoting was said by either Mark Twain or Will Rogers. So, I don’t know who said “You can’t get something for nothing.” Certainly not either of those two because it’s just not true.

You can get something for nothing.

The other day, I ran into the grocery store for one item – a loaf of bread. I had a five-dollar bill.

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When you shop the IGA-Piggly Wiggly (it was the IGA now it’s the Piggly Wiggly), they give you trade stamps and it take 10 stamps to fill a card. Then you can trade the card for a discount on specified groceries.

The loaf of bread I wanted was 99 cents but, with a filled trade card, you could get the whole, fresh loaf of sandwich bread for one cent – one copper penny. What a deal – if you had a filled card.

I whined as a child and it’s carried over to my mature years. I started whining to anybody within earshot.

“If I’d just brought my saver card, I could have gotten this whole loaf of bread for a penny,” I announced to a dozen people who didn’t give a flip. “One penny for a loaf of bread, now that’s incredible in this day and time.”

Folks just looked at me and walked on by.

I walked away from the bread counter carrying the loaf of sandwich bread like a heavy burden.

Then, I heard someone call my name.

“I’ve got a saver card,” said Suzanne Compton, opening her wallet and pulling the card out of the “bill” fold.

I graciously – but half-heartedly – refused but she insisted, “I’m not going to use it.”

She assured me that she was sure she had no intentions of using the card. And I sure was much obliged. A whole loaf of fresh, sandwich bread for one penny. One Abe Lincoln. Something for almost nothing.

As pleased as punch, I made my way to the checkout counter. I reached in my pocket in hopes of finding a penny that had been left behind. But no luck. A heavy sigh escaped by being. I was going to have to break a five-dollar bill for one measly, little penny.

But right about then, I thought I recognized the young man in line in front of me. Young men in baseball caps all look the same, so I wasn’t 100 percent sure. I leaned down to look up under his cap and squinted my eyes tight enough to get a good look. It was Glen Adkins.

I’ve known that young fellow all his life.

“Glen, do you have penny?”

He reached in his pocket and scramble around.

“No, ma’am, I don’t.”

“I just owe a penny for this loaf of bread – I’ve got a saver card and I just didn’t want to break a five dollar bill,” I whined.

He didn’t blame me and he wished he had a penny. We chitchatted a bit and he paid for his groceries. When, he got the change back, he reached back and handed me a penny.

I said my “thank yous” and he said his much obliges.

I handed the clerk the penny. She sacked the loaf of bread and I walked out of the IGA-Piggly Wiggly with a loaf of fresh, sandwich bread that had cost me absolutely nothing. Not a red dime. Not a single penny.

Something for nothing.

Come to think of it, maybe what I’d done was beggin’ sort of or maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it’s just the way people do when they live in small towns where everybody knows everybody and they’re not just neighbors, they’re friends.

So, those who want the hustle and bustle of big city life are welcome to it. I’m a small town gal and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In small towns, the best things in life are free and sometimes you can even get a loaf of fresh, sandwich bread for nothing – if you whine enough when friends are around.

Jaine Treadwell is features editor at The Messenger. Email her at