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Weis shopping spree nets woman $2,406 in groceries

November 13, 1997

Weis shopping spree nets woman $2,406 in groceries


Staff Writer

Virgie Small doesn't usually do the grocery shopping for her family, but on Thursday she proved she hadn't lost the knack when she filled grocery carts with $2,406 worth of food and other items in five minutes.

And the 25 grocery bags full of items she pulled from shelves and meat cases at the Weis Market at 1161 Maryland Ave. didn't cost her a penny.

The free five-minute shopping spree, held before the store opened to customers, was Small's prize for winning a round of "The Price Is Right" at a Weis Food Service show.


Before the shopping spree began, Small had compiled a mental shopping list that included seafood and meat.

In the allotted five minutes, she picked up deodorant, Tylenol for her headaches and diapers for her goddaughter, 16-month-old Savana Selzer.

Then there were the 16 bags of shrimp, eight Butterball turkeys, and packages of oysters, ham, salmon fillets, haddock fillets, and beef.

She tossed in rump roast, eye round roast, chuck roast, cube steak, sandwich steak, ground round and pot roast.

"My meat manager came in last night and cut a bunch of stuff up to have the meat cases as full as possible," said Store Manager Jeff Feeser.

The $2,406.03 worth of groceries Small got into her cart was the highest total for any shopping spree Weis has hosted, said Dick Collins, regional sales supervisor for Weis Food Service. He said the old record was about $2,200.

"She did well. She went for the high-ticket stuff," Collins said.

Small, 57, of Spickler Road east of Clear Spring, said she got the idea to go for the meat from watching "Supermarket Sweep" on the Lifetime cable channel for the last two years.

Small was one of about 25 people who won five-minute shopping sprees at the Oct. 12-13 food show in Bloomsburg, Pa. The food show was for Weis customers from restaurants and institutions such as Brook Lane Health Services, where Small works.

As Brook Lane's director of nutritional services, Small's duties include ordering food from Weis Food Service, she said.

Collins said he was glad the shopping spree went to a loyal customer. He said Brook Lane has ordered food from Weis for about 10 years.

Of the three contestants in her round of "The Price is Right," Small came the closest to guessing, without overestimating, the correct prices of four items, including hemorrhoid cream and a can of ravioli.

She said she wasn't sure how she got so lucky because she hasn't shopped for a big order since Easter.

Small said her husband, Marshall Small, usually does the grocery shopping for the family, working from a list she has written.

After her free spree, Small headed off to work, leaving the task of storing the groceries to her husband.

They have plenty of space for the meat, with an 18-cubic-foot freezer at home and two roughly 12-cubic-foot freezers at the Silver Bell, a bar owned by Marshall Small.

Small said she was amazed at the total value of the groceries she selected. She expected to get more than $900 worth, she said.

Store officials accommodated Small by setting up 14 carts near the meat section and letting her start there rather than at the front of the store.

"This is better than on TV. You don't have to run through the store," Small said.

She used only four carts, filling three with seafood and meat.

Friends and family members cheered her on, yelling out how much time was left and giving her tips.

When Small dropped a package of meat on the floor, her friend, Sandy Leatherman, told her to leave it there and keep grabbing handfuls out of the meat freezer.

She drew applause from meat department employees when she grabbed four roasts at one time and threw them in the cart.

After her five minutes were up, Small took a minute to catch her breath and give her tired arms a rest.

She got everything she planned on, especially the meat.

"When I make a plan or decide on something, I usually stick to it," Small said.

Meat department employee Ralph Henson said Small made his day by grabbing so much meat. It also left the department with much work to do as they had to refill the case before the store opened at 7 a.m.

The Sunbury, Pa.-based grocery chain has about 150 stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey and New York, Collins said.

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