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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cafeteria Ladies and Other Ladies: A Frugal Resource

After my post about recognizing an old friend in a book, I had to take a few days to recover. it is truly awful to re-experience all the conflicted feelings--pleasure, affection, anger, insecurity and so on--that emerge when reading about an unresolved relationship from college days. Not that I knew it was unresolved.

Now on to my next topic: cafeteria ladies. There is a wonderful cartoonist--Lynda Barry--who has a cartoon somewhere or other that shows two scornful high school students on line in the cafeteria. They look upon the ladies dishing up the food and one says "She coulda been a brain surgeon."

Doesn't that just capture the scorn of high school students and their assurance that they will get what they want--and that people who don't just didn't want it.

I do try to be mindful of the complex interplay of class, race, ethnicity, gender, and so forth in the pursuit of happiness and prosperity. I must be doing something right (in the mindfulness department), because several times at school open houses over the years, Mr. FS and I have been approached by cafeteria ladies. They wanted to thank us for the fact that our children thanked them. They would beam, "Your kids are among the few who say 'Thank you.'"

So even though my sense of etiquette is shaky (to put it mildly) and I violate many rules written and unwritten, I at least encouraged my children to thank cafeteria ladies.

And, now that I think of it, you do get something back. Not from cafeteria ladies, though a good relationship might assure you of getting lots of crusty top on your macaroni and cheese. No, from other ladies.

Like the lady who puts out the food at Big Lots, which, of late, has been a key component of my frugal life. She always points me to the best deals. She also told me that a BIG shipment will be coming in next week.

Now the Goodwill ladies are not allowed to do special favors for customers. But Donna, who puts out the books, is always happy to see me. She said, "I put out a lot of books yesterday. I wondered where my little friend was." That's me, by the way, even though I am about 5 inches taller than she is.

The lady at Walgreens always helps me figure out the proper order of checkout, when they have those confusing Register Rewards.

My late father, with his PhD, always had long chats with cafeteria ladies and other ladies. I guess that's where I get this predilection.

So let's all remember to appreciate cafeteria ladies and other ladies.


Over the Cubicle Wall said...

When you do something nice for someone else, you do something nice for yourself.

Duchesse said...

Good for Miss Em and Frugal Son! Only hope my sons do the same. T

Frugal Scholar said...

@Cubicle--So true!

@Duchesse--I'd bet that they do.

Northmoon said...

Nothing to say that Cafeteria Ladies can't have just as happy lives as Brain Surgeons. May-be even happier. I've seen an awful lot of rushing, angry people in BMWs lately!

A happy polite attitude goes a long way toward getting an extra large helping from life!