Aunt Jean, Reruns and Leftovers

Limit Two Protocol

When I was at my Aunt Jean’s house a while back, I noticed that while she didn’t keep canned goods in the bathroom, she did have a stash of probably 25 or 30 giant Snickers bars. In the kitchen that is, not the bathroom. And it wasn’t even Halloween.

It was surprising to see so many candy bars because you never see her eat anything like that. Aunt Jean is tall and thin and regal and dignified and not given to self-indulgence. When I asked her about them, she said that when she was growing up, one of the oldest of seven very poor children, all she ever wanted was a big old candy bar all to her self. And now that she can afford them, she buys them because she can. But only when they are on sale.

Let me just stop here and say I would never have a stash of Snickers. Not because I’m not one to “stock up” on a commodity as precious as that, but because in order to have a stash I would have to have at least enough restraint not to eat them all. Whenever I get my hands on a Snickers bar, I chew off the paper with my teeth and then I toss it up in the air. And then I roll on it until I get the scent of Snickers on my neck. And then finally, I lay on the floor on my tummy with my feet out behind me and I gnaw on it and growl at anyone who looks my direction. So when she offered me one, I declined just to avoid that whole scene.

Anyway, apparently Aunt Jean really wanted her own liter of Diet Cherry 7-Up when she was growing too because when she sent me out to the garage to get something out of the extra refrigerator, I was confronted with an imposing wall of Diet Cherry 7-Up. When I asked her about it she said that Albertson’s had a super duper sale on them a while back, but it was limit two. “My goodness!” I said, “Limit two!? How on earth did you get so many?”

“Well, you know,” she said her voice trailing off. “I went to the store and I bought two.” She paused here to lightly pat her hair into place and then stretched her neck as though working out a kink. And then she evasively looked up and off to the left at nothing in particular. “And?” I asked. “Well, then I went home and…. I chaaaaanged clothes…. (cough) andthenIwentbackfortwomore (cough).”

In case you didn’t know, it’s in the fine print on the back of the bottles. In order to legally purchase two additional liters of Limit Two soda, you must have changed clothes. And not just in the car either. You must go home and change into a completely different color blouse. If we were to look at the grocery store surveillance video the week Diet Cherry 7-Up is on sale we would see my good and proper Aunt Jean wearing dark sunglasses, going in and out of the store carrying two liters of Diet Cherry 7-Up at a time. And you might think the video was on a loop until upon closer inspection you would see that she had changed clothes making it totally legal.

I then did a quick calculation in my head — four trips a day, four changes of clothes for seven days at which time limit two expires. And sure enough it adds up to a stash of enough Diet Cherry 7-Up that should last until the rapture at which time we will all be caught up in the air toasting the brethren with Diet Cherry 7-Up and Snickers.

And oh what a day of rejoicing it will be. 

* * * * *

This post was originally published in February of 2007.

The following is an excerpt from a recent email AD received from Aunt Jean:

“Tell AM that Albertson’s is having a special on their sugar this weekend and the limit is one. That leaves me with a problem. I am out of sugar and would like more than one bag.  I am considering several changes of clothes but I will have to change in the parking lot. If I drove home to change, the cost of gasoline would cancel out my savings on the sugar.  Life has it’s problems. But I love you anyway.  Love, Aunt Jean.”

My Aunt Jean cracks me up. Gotta love Tuna where clipping coupons is an investment strategy.

43 thoughts on “Limit Two Protocol

  1. I’ve met several people like Aunt Jean in my life. My dad was the third of five boys (all 1 year apart. No wonder my grandparents separated when he was 7). They were VERY, EXTREMELY poor, and had to wear hand-me-downs all the time. Well, once the only available shoes to go to school my dad had were some black Mary Janes. My grandma made him wear those, and before he reached the school he cut the straps so they wouldn’t look so girly. I used to cry when I thought about a little boy hiding his feet at school. I cry when I go into his closet and see pairs upon pairs of every style of masculine shoes you can think of, most of which have never been worn. He buys shoes and puts them away. Should he need them, there they are.

  2. It’s like those days when my mom used to send ME (as a 7-year-old) through a separate grocery store line. AS IF a grade-school girl just HAD to stock up on pork loin.

  3. I don’t know who’s funnnier – you or Aunt Jean! I snorted I was laughing so hard when you described your torid love affair with Snickers! Sounds all too familiar…! (Me with almost any kind of chocolate: “GetTheFrickAwayFromMySTRESS-RELIEVER!!!”

    Love ya AM!!!

  4. Share with AJ that when I see that limit, I just walk out of the store and walk back in. The limit only applies to the trips in the store. Or I take my whole family and they each make a purchase. You should see us all coming out of the store with our limit of eggs when they’re on sale.

  5. This is so fun. Wish I had an aunt jean. Glad she’s figuring in the cost of fuel. Remember the good ole days when you didn’t have to figure in the gas for changing clothes? Ya, those were the days!

  6. Oh my stars I have finally found my long lost relative. I knew there was another me out there somewhere.

    I’ll see you in the sugar aisle this weekend, Aunt Jean.

    I’ll be the one in the Hannah Montana wig and pink sunglasses.

  7. Hilarious! I have purchased “limited” items before, taken them to my car and immediately walked back into the store for more (usually going through a different line, of course)…but changing clothes! What a hoot! = D

  8. Too funny!

    And Reese’s Cups, not Snickers, brings out the animal in me! When I buy them at Halloween, I buy extra, “in case we have lots of kids come by”, and bury them at the bottom of the cauldron.

  9. Very few people would figure in the cost of gasoline with their stash — but it’s a huge factor these days. That Aunt Jean is shrewd, she is.

  10. that’s hilarious! i have many relatives who do the same thing!

    As kids, we were forced to pile in the car like a can of sardines and then go in one at a time, buy however many of the item we could, then run giggling back to the car and throw it all in the trunk. Then the next person would go in until everyone had gone (sometimes twice) and the desired number of whatever-it-is was reached.

    It was one of those situations where the frugal parents were thankful for the number of neices they had.

    We were also encouraged to bring as many neighborhood friends as we could for extra players.

    We take sales seriously in our family.

  11. We have our own strategy for overcoming the “Limit Two” rules, but I never thought to change my clothes. This would be a perfect mission for my 14-year-old daughter, who changes clothes about 6 times a day anyway.

  12. Holy cow, your Aunt Jean could be my great aunt Evelyn – only in a different set of clothes (and skin). LOL! She was such a dignified lady…proper, refined, no vices…oh! Perhaps not. I’ll have to blog about this myself.

  13. Aunt Jean is a kindred spirit. I love 2 fers and if there is a coupon involved it makes my palms sweat and my heart palpitate.

  14. OMG(osh), that was funny! I love your Aunt Jean and Tuna! I agree with Dev – been there, done that. Have taken friends to the store and each stands in a separate line and buys all the loot at once. Haven’t thought of that in years. Have also been on the other end of it… when I worked retail I had a lady similar to Aunt Jean keep coming back with a change of clothes to buy toilet paper (four was the limit). I totally recgonized her but I let her go – I was 16 and didn’t care much about rules… also figured if she bothered to change clothes, she deserved it!

  15. Aunt Jean is too much. Your post made me stop and think about what quirks I may have based on my childhood. And then a worse thought than that invaded my reflection..what quirks will my children have based on how I’m raising them???

  16. I love this. Aunt Jean should be a character in a novel.

    And I have wondered this before but now I’m going to ask: is it the same Tuna, Texas that was featured in the play Greater Tuna

  17. Aunts. They can be so funny. I remember a story about my aunt, who is now in her nineties. When the wristwatches with the huge faces became stylish (and, sometimes, inexpensive), she would wear two watches on her arm. One with the large face so that she could see what time it was and another dainty watch so no one would think she was too poor to own a “good” watch.

  18. Oh, thank you! I am sitting here laughing and crying – she reminds me of some of my dearly departed relatives, and it made me miss them just a little less to read your funny story. Cherish every one to those moments. Bless her heart, indeed, and yours, too!

    Your eloquent posts make me laugh, smile, go easier on my momming skills, hug my boys a little tighter, cherish the life we have, and wish I were gifted with your way with words. I bet my two would love your Sean. Happiest day, and thank you!

  19. This was a great post. My favorite part was your description on confronting her. “She paused here to lightly pat her hair into place..” What a character, your Aunt Jean!

  20. I used to look in my parents pantry and cabinets and they had stashes of canned food, detergent, tp, towels and coffee. I am no 65 and I have a better understanding of their cabinet overloads. I stop in the store and don’t have my shopping list and I begin to assume and pick up things I am sure I need. When I get home I am amazed that I didn’t need them at all and “my stash” has begun. I think it could be in the genes.:)

  21. I can’t keep a stash of candy bars, either. Loved your descriptions – they made me laugh. I don’t think I woke anyone up…

  22. I remember when you first posted this. I read it out loud to my husband and it took me a good 5 minutes to get to the end, what with all the pausing for the hysterical laughter and the trying not to wet the pants. He just gave me that look. You know, the mix between, “You are very strange and easily amused,” and “I love how she finds joy in the simple things.”

  23. well, not to be the bearer of bad news or anything, but that cherry 7 up will go bad on her. I’m just saying… Not that I’ve ever stocked up, later to find out that there actually is a parishable date on soda or anything…

    I loved this story the first time too. I too would have no stash because I’m on the floor with you honey. 😉

  24. Oh, dear AM, please put the missing photographs back up on your Tuna Tales! I do *so* want to see that photo of Aunt Jean and Cleo again…

  25. My widowed grandmother used to drive across town to stand in the line for a cinderblock of government cheese. I’m completely serious. She had a nice retirement and money in savings and her late husband’s Social Security as well. But you could trace her need to stockpile from her immigrant family’s hardscrabble life as new Americans…plus the notion that “you never know what tomorrow will bring” and to their way of thinking tomorrow might bring a huge shortage of cheese. Or at least, that’s how it looks from here.

  26. Thought of Aunt Jean today while at Kroger I got 2 of their buy 4 pepsi fridge packs for $11 deals. I unlike Aunt Jean didn’t run home and change clothes. I just seperated out the items and made 2 transactions. It worked! I laughed inside as I thought of Aunt Jean running home and changing clothes to get this deal for herself.

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