Saturday, 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.