Rachel Ray, I got your free dishes (sans the food, of course)

Rachel Ray, I got your free dishes (sans the food, of course)
My Rachael Rays

It was everything I could do, but I did it!  I got a free set of Rachael Ray dishes by saving little orange stamps the last few months at Jewel.

I upped my spending at Jewel considerably, never stopping a single impulse buy.  Yes, Jewel knew what it was doing by offering a stamp for every $10 spent in the store, and for every twenty stamps (do the math) one was able to get a piece of Rachael Ray colorful Fiestaware-lookalike dishes.

I also depended on the kindness of my friend Carole and my bf Bruce, both of whom didn't want them.  And on the serendipitous meeting and generosity of perfect strangers who I met in the Jewel checkout line who gave them to me when I boldly asked if they were collecting them--and they said no.  Not to mention the oodles of stamps I found on the floor at Jewel before they started asking the customers if, in fact, they were actually collecting the stamps.

Through all of this diligent effort, I got what I wanted:  a full set of Rachael Rays.

I'm very happy.  But tired of everyone saying things like, "Don't you have enough dishes?"  (Yes.  More than enough).  And, "What are you going to do with another set of dishes?"  (I have no idea but I want them.  And they're free.)  And last but not least, "Do you have enough room for another set of dishes?"  (No.  Actually, I am storing them on the floor in the dining room.)

By the way, the last time Jewel gave out stamps, not only were they a lot bigger and easier to keep track of, they were for beautiful and solidly constructed cookware.  And I got two magnificent frying pans (in two sizes) that I ended up using a lot.  So poo-poo to the naysayers this time, I'm sure my Rachael Rays will feel the water of the dishwasher a lot in the coming years, too.

So the race was won.  I proudly collected enough by the deadline, December 26, to get an entire set--in four nice Fiestaware-like colors of blue, orange, red and lime green.

But the memories of getting there are many.  One night over dinner, bf Bruce said he had four for me.  But when he opened his wallet for the turnover, they weren't there.  I was so mad I wanted to break up with him then and there.  (I didn't because we were with another couple.)  But  later I calmed down because I figured he probably dropped them on the floor at our Jewel anyway, so I probably got them on one of my many scavenger hunts through the store looking for them thar' golden nuggets.

Then there was the night the man in front of me in line--power-wheelchair bound, elderly and quite disabled--was handed four stamps.  As the grocery bagger was placing the gentleman's groceries securely on the gentleman's lap, all I could say to myself was this:  "He couldn't possibly be saving the stamps.  He just doesn't look like he'd be much interested in getting a set--or even a piece or two--of Rachael Rays."  And then--as if God heard me as I stood there wondering how I could get the stamps away from him--the stamps suddenly dropped from his hand and landed on his wheelchair wheel.

"Oh my God," I screamed.  "Your stamps!  Your stamps have fallen down!  Let me get them for you!"

He turned to look at me and sort of looked like he thought I was nuts.  But I bent over and grabbed them and said, "Here!," adding, "Are you saving the stamps?"  Of course, it was no surprise.  He said he wasn't.  So I asked if I could have them.  And he said, "Sure, honey."

Mission accomplished!

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