October 29, 2011

A modern good deed

A friend of mine hooks up with one of these extreme-couponing types once a week. She does whatever the woman says, taking this coupon and buying that with it -- the woman brings a sheaf of coupons with her -- and somehow they end up paying absolutely nothing for several bags of groceries.

Then my friend gives her bags to old, poor people that she knows. A bag here, a bag there -- it helps. (I think she actually pays some money but neglects to tell me this.) I think of this as a modern good deed. Perhaps armies of similarly philanthropic shoppers could assemble at supermarkets across America -- and end hunger in their local communities.

Some word talk after the jump.

Because I'm me, I also want to point out the use of the odd term, "circulars". You'll see it in the article I linked to. You know: those printed sheets of items on sale that they give you at the supermarket or mail to you. I love this word. It seems so out-of-it. The supermarket puts out a circular. It sounds like an awkward, in-house term pushed on an unsuspecting public.

I looked it up in online dictionaries and Wikipedia but couldn't find a reason for use of this specific term. It's basically the equivalent of the modern "fliers". Perhaps the originators of the term thought of the "circular" as circling a community of potential customers, or something. I have no idea but I do like it. It's sounds old-timey to me, like a word that will soon be retired.

Poor old words. The sun shines on them for a brief time and then all too soon they're shunted aside and forgotten. Language is a river; it changes. I love watching the flow.


Artichoke Annie said...

Hey that is a terrific idea. I'm not really a coupon-er since I always end up with stuff I don't use, but this donation thing is great.

One time years back my brother and I had a coupon saver contest. He was a big coupon user and always sending me his receipt showing how much he bought and how little he paid.

Competitive me I went made with the coupons - he won of course and I ended up with a pantry full of unused food. Stupid me to never think of giving it to the local Food Pantry.

Also I loved your thoughts of word rivers. True, isn't it? I wonder what words in use today will be the first to go?

writenow said...

It is a nice thought, isn't it? My friend (who doesn't even know there is an internet, so we can talk about her with abandon) is the kindest person I've ever met. All she does is help people. She takes care of half the old people in Dutchess County, by my count. (She's the inspiration for Glory in Xmas Carol, BTW.)