In traditional American fashion, Thanksgiving day in my house is the holiday to end all holidays. The pies, the cakes, the stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes piled high in a volcanic mound with a made-from-scratch beef gravy lava flow - the list goes on. The morning begins with the tantalizing scent of breakfast biscuits, dad’s cheddar scrambled eggs, and freshly brewed hazelnut coffee. Drawn out of bed, I succumb to the temptations of each delight and let a slowly baking sweet potato-marshmallow casserole captivate my attention.
On this day, I am a slave to tastes, and happily so; but there is one taste that satisfies me more than any homemade concoction. This my friends, is the taste of victory. You see, as is true for most Americans, the turkey is the focal point of the eats. As you sink your teeth into the succulent gobbler, the marinaded tenderness brings a new perspective to the concept of “thankfulness.”
“Thank you Mom for preparing this meal.”
“Thank you Mr. Turkey for sacrificing your life so that I can chow down.”
And finally, “Thank you me, for faithfully earning this prized bird.” No, it is not the juices or the marinade that are so gratifying, but rather the victorious origin of the fowl.
In the months leading up to Thanksgiving day, myself and hundreds of other ShopRite patrons focus on loyalty points. As the neighborhood grocery store, ShopRite ingeniously developed a points system and a rather successful loyalty program that grants a select number of points for every purchase made during that year. From the months of January to November, I make it my goal to focus on the points and rack up as many of them possible to claim my ultimate prize - the Thanksgiving turkey.
The rules are simple - the larger the points, the larger the free turkey. I find myself guilty of dropping by and purchasing an extra gallon of milk and a 6-pack of paper towels, not because I need them, but because of the points. Hey, who can ever have enough paper towels?
It is a game of multiple winners. My grocer makes an extra buck from my increased business, and I take home the well-earned free turkey. The only loser - our soon-to-be-devoured feathered friend.
This week marks my anticipated day of claim, and as my mother diligently prepares the yearly recipes I prepare for my victory march. On Wednesday evening, I will strut right on in to ShopRite, swipe my card in a arrogant motion of accomplishment and watch the points stack up. And when that bell rings and the “winner” banner flashes and I hear the wonderful words, “Right this way, Teresa - let me show you where the turkeys are,” I will know that all the dollars, dimes and days spent supporting the store has paid off.
With each year of dedication, the turkeys get bigger and bigger and my fondness of the precious little points card grows deeper and deeper. Now, if only the store would offer a loyalty app. That would be something to be truly thankful for.