Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Review: Pick Another Check out Lane

A Book You Can Buy From Me

Book Title: Pick Another Check out Lane Honey

Authors: Joanie Demer and Heather Wheeler

Authors' web site:

Publisher: Aviva

Date: 2010

ISBN: 0984149783

Length: 251 pages

Illustrations: cartoons by Hugo Camacho, and some diagrams

Quote: "At first glance, you might think you can only find cou pons for processed foods.How do you think we Krazy Cou pon Ladies stay so tri m?...We've even couponed milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, carrots..."

Prompting the same reservations I felt when posting about how I've stayed in the same dress size, if not jeans size, all my life. (I did, because I care about dieters who may be blaming the wrong culprit, but the reservations are in the post too.) Many factors affect weight con trol, some of them genetic, and some of them activate when women hit midlife.

And that's what's not to love about Pick Another Check out Lane, with that Infallible Snark Indicator, the usually abusive term "honey," smack in your face on the front cover...Well, Gentle Readers, when a book has the potential to be as useful as this one does, the publisher can get away with alienating readers who see that "honey" and say "There's no way I'm paying the publisher's price for that book!" People are selling it used, now, and they're asking very close to the new price...and they're getting it. If you don't recover the cost of whatever you pay for this book, within a year, you're not trying.

Yes, they do assume that all readers are going to be ladies, and then they proceed to talk to us ladies in the flippant tones some of us may be accustomed to hearing from fellow Red Hats, but none of us should tolerate from anyone who's not obviously over age 50. The subtitle, "Make the gro cery aisle your catwalk," and the silhouette that seems to have been traced from an early Barbie-doll catalogue, set a tone the writers sustain throughout the book. It's annoying all right...but it's meant to goad you into achieving new heights of Creative Tightwaddery. You can use these twerps' tips, add your own, and save even more m oney than they do.

Women have fought hard, even gone to court, to get the use of phony endearments recognized as a display of disrespect, and we need to keep it that way. I now feel that I made a serious mistake, twenty years ago, when I allowed a few relatives who were over age seventy to call me "honey" in public. Any endearment, coming out of anyone who's not a close relative in a public place, is an insult. "Honey" is especially bad because it literally means "body secretions from certain insects" and thus has the slang meaning of "body secretions, in general." What's dipped out of outhouses is "honey." What's found on used tissues is "honey." Human beings should never, never, never answer to "honey" with anything milder than a demand for an immediate "I'm very sorry, Sir/Ma'am." And the emotional temperature in a public place needs to drop measurably even if the honey-dippers in this world try to up grade to a bogus "Buddy," a phony "Friend," or a stinky "Sweetie." We need unity on this one: If you do in fact belong to one of those religious sects that used to teach that members shouldn't use courtesy titles like "Sir" and "Ma'am," the way to address people in public is by eye contact alone.

What makes the twerps worth listening to, or reading? They've done some serious research. They've gone beyond the basic tightwad tips we learned from Heloise, the Tightwad Gazette, and/or our grandmothers. They explain what you can learn from a bar code, where to look for those "surprise" cou pons a fancy electronic cash register may spit out with your receipt, and when to anticipate sales. So it's worth reading, even if it makes you want to find a younger woman and read selections from this book to her as an object lesson in How Not to Speak to Adults Unless You Want to Be Turned Over Their Knees.

If ever a book deserved Death By Xerox, this one does...but why kill it by Xerox when you can use it to support this blog? So, just a year ago, my advice would have been "Check it out of the library already," but now it's "Buy it as A Book You Can Buy From Me." Click here. I will indeed send the Coupon Ladies $2 (because I will have to charge you $20). The rest of the money will go to people who, like me, have enough sense to know that all customers' names are either "Sir" or "Ma'am."