The Urban Cheapskate: Shops at Manhattan’s Integral Yoga Natural Foods

Recently Your Original Urban Cheapskate went shopping at Integral Yoga Natural Foods to pick up some bulk mixed nuts, dried pitted prunes and wheat-free raspberry newtons. The mixed nuts are obscenely expensive, but he was going out of town for a few days and always tries to carry along something edible so he doesn’t starve to death in an airport or fixing a flat tire or maybe standing in line at the ski resort cafeteria waiting for his chili to get warm. These irrational rituals can be difficult to break, and he doesn’t even bother to try with this one. Heck, even terminal Cheapskates gotta splurge once in awhile.

There at the entrance, next to the checkout lines, was a table covered with organic corn chips artistically surrounding a large container of organic green jalapeño salsa. Free samples for the customers! Allowing large quantities of free salsa and chips in the presence of Your OUC – what WERE they thinking? Didn’t they get the auto-alerts? He decided to be a good organic yoga citizen and had only one chip covered with salsa. I won’t allude herein to the great Sebastopol Salsa Gorge where he took highest honors by averaging 1/2 cup of salsa per chip consumed. He figured he’d just go about his shopping at this point.

Integral Yoga has these cute gravity-flow bins from which you dispense your organic bulk mixed nuts. Put the bag under the opening, lift the magic door, and WHOOSH! an organicunsaltedbulkmixednutfall zooms down into your bag. He instantly ended up with a very large quantity of organic unsalted mixed nuts in his bag. Oooh he knew this was going to be expensive. It looked like putting extra nuts back into the bin would be rather a challenge – it would involve a ladder, and might require a shovel and a large funnel as well. He decided to just go ahead and put ’em all on his credit card and share his vast stash with his fellow passengers, skiiers, lodge loungers and line-waiters in his upcoming vacation.

Between the bin of dried pitted prunes and wheatfreeraspberrynewtons, the Cheapskate noticed a sign. “Integral Yoga Natural Foods. Under Surveillance. Anyone caught shoplifting will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Om Shanti.” Quite wisely, IYNF knows that the principles of selflessness, unconditional love, and permanent peace do not necessarily imply providing free natural food to shoplifters.

The ‘Skate picked up his prunes, nuts and wfrns and headed to the cashiers. The open register was right next to the salsa stash. He couldn’t resist. He asked the organic cashier “where’s the starting gun? I can eat all those chips with the salsa in two minutes and fifty-three seconds.” The cashier must have fancied himself a wit, because he answered “including those twenty bags stacked behind ‘em there?”

His ton of oumns with accessories came to $43.29. Definitely had to go on the card. It’s taken him a long time, but the Urban Cheapskate has mastered sweeping his card the correct way and pushing the organic green button when the register says “OK?” This time when he pressed the button the register just kept saying “processing … ” After a bit of waiting the cashier started to apologize and rustled up the boss for a bit of a chat on the intercom. “I’m so sorry, sir…” he began. “I’m in no hurry,” replied the Cheapskate “I’ll just have a chip or two. “I think the computer needs to be rebooted,” he said. “Mmmhbf bmpff ngmbmbpff” was the reply. It occurred to the Cheapskate that maybe this was also the reason they hadn’t received their message from the Automated Salsa-Bandit Warning System.

The cashier made an announcement to the organic customers in line that there would be a delay processing credit cards but customers still could pay in cash right away. Here Your Cheapskate learned that your average crowd of organic shoppers prefers to pay with plastic. He also learned, between chomps, that the Secret Service calls Michelle Obama “Renaissance” and the rest of the family has similar cute names all starting with R.

There was still half a tub of salsa left when the cashier returned. He rang the UC up again and even gave him a 10% discount for his trouble. He swept for the fourth time and was approved. “Thanks!” said the cashier. “Oh, no, the pleasure was mine!” Answered the Cheapskate as he suppressed a belch. Or tried to.


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