I generally agree with most of what Francis Storrs wrote in “The Fickle Food Shopper” (October 14). I do go to several markets according to what is on sale. What I do not do is go to Stop & Shop. I do not like loyalty cards, and I do not like having them track my habits. When the Stop & Shop in my area went to cards, I went away and have stayed away, even though it is the closest large market to me. I go to Roche Bros., Crosby’s, and Donelan’s, generally in that order of preference. None of them requires a card to get specials.
Jill Colpak / Concord
My biggest beef with grocery stores is that in their vain effort to be all stores to all people they are getting away from their primary mission. My local Stop & Shop is full of aisles with junk I never buy — CDs, kids’ books, lawn furniture. Meanwhile, the selection of actual food is more and more limited: fewer choices and fewer sizes. Same sort of thing with Shaw’s. The one I like best is Hannaford, but that’s the farthest away and seems the priciest to me. Oh, well.
Clifford Shatz / Foxborough
There are a few of us “loyal” shoppers left, though we are probably seniors. To me, there’s a frustration with the constant changes — it’s as if each new generation of bosses does away with the old and familiar and even, sometimes, with the friendly employees.
Eileen Lyons Higgins / Wollaston
“The Fickle Food Shopper” is a great article on current shopping practices and the utilization of the iconic bar code. But it is incomplete without mentioning my company, Charecogn Systems Inc., and my demonstration of a completely computerized checkout system using the “first hand-held bar code scanner input” in Cambridge in 1970. This demo was the “Kitty Hawk” introduction of bar code scanning. Later that summer, I demonstrated the scanner operations at the US Department of Agriculture. I’m proud to say a picture and story of that event are on display at the Smithsonian.
A. John Esserian / Cambridge
My daughter warned me against reading Brian McGrory’s essay “All in the (Strange New) Family” (October 14). I did so anyway and had to leave our den and the Patriots game to pull myself together. He completely nailed the special relationship that can happen between a wonderful dog you come to love so much and a guy lucky enough to have picked him out. Our Harry was a shepherd/collie mix named Carlos who was with us for almost 15 years. He was our fourth child, and then some. He was with us in our best times — enthusiastic to sail, walk in the snow, hit the beach, or just ride somewhere in the car. He was also a loyal and patient friend when things were tough — there to be with you, but looking for nothing in return. We had to let Carlos go in February. A wonderful vet came to our house, as McGrory’s vet (later his wife) did for him. Carlos had cancer and a bad heart. He was cremated, and we’ve scattered handfuls of him in a few places where he loved to be. We also keep some of him in a cedar box on the mantel in the living room, where he had enjoyed a good fire. Friends have suggested we get another dog. With all respect to them, I’m not sure they really get it. Thanks again for a great article.
Adam Sholley / Milton
I bawled my eyes out during the first section of McGrory’s story and laughed out loud during the second. I have a golden who is 10 and I love her like crazy. I can’t even think about what it will be like when her time comes. I can also relate to the rooster story. I was attacked by one: It was a “blitz” that resulted in a jab to the leg. I needed a tetanus shot and didn’t appreciate the nurse laughing over the phone when I told her what had happened. Looking forward to McGrory’s book. I enjoy his column and appreciate the writing of someone who can make me cry and laugh in the span of five minutes.
Lori LePoer / Westford
THE PRICE OF EDUCATION
As I was reading “The Hidden Costs of Public School” (October 7), by Eileen McEleney Woods, I couldn’t help but think of a divorced mother of two elementary school children whom I had met a long time ago, when there were no fees for extracurricular activities. The family received public assistance after the mother was laid off from her low-wage job. Somehow she found money for school supplies, but it was the “little expenses” that caused havoc on her budget, her pride, and even her nutrition. It might be a bag of candy kids are asked to bring to a class party or a few dollars for a class trip. When these requests came up, she often skipped dinner for a few nights, telling the children she wasn’t hungry. She also encouraged them to accept dinner invitations from their friends’ families. All I could think of was my son and daughter, roughly the same age as her children. I never had to skip a meal to save money. How unfair life circumstances can be.
Miriam Stein / Arlington
I’ve spent 24 hours pondering the purpose of Woods’s article. I’m still not sure whether her point was “Wow, shopping for back to school sure has gotten expensive” or “Teachers have gotten very demanding on their ‘must-have’ lists for students” or a bolder “Since public education is supposed to be free in America, I shouldn’t have to buy these things out of my own wallet.” If it’s the last one, what is she suggesting? That property taxes be increased to cover the cost of backpacks, notebooks, and pencils for children in order to make public school truly “free”? If so, that doesn’t sit so well with me, a “childless by choice” property-tax payer for 25 years now who has spent thousands of dollars educating other people’s children. Yes, I know it’s in everyone’s best interest to have an educated society, but please don’t ask me to pay even more to cover the cost of your kids’ highlighters and three-ring binders. You can cover that yourself.
Victoria Cohen / Attleboro
SLINGS AND ARROWS
I usually read “Dinner With Cupid” as a fun, lighthearted article. I was appalled when I read the October 14 edition, and I believe it should never have been printed. So it wasn’t the right match (as most aren’t), but the female candidate was mean-spirited and downright degrading to her assigned date. I believe the editors should have thought about it before printing the outcome. There is no reason to publish something so demoralizing, except to confirm why the woman hasn’t found her “perfect” date and probably won’t.
Susan Gold / Boston
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