A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson


I have probably watching too much “People’s Court” and “Judge Judy” lately, but I am learning quite a bit about the law in different states. One law that seems to be universal from what I hear from the judges is “Buyer Beware.” Now this is not really a law; it is more of a warning that any time you buy something, it has the ability to jump up and bite you… not literally, of course, but enough to let you know you have been cheated again.  This saying usually applies to items that are being sold second-hand because new products come with contracts from the manufacturer and the manufacturer is held to certain guarantees for the customer. This is not the case if you buy items at a flea market or a vehicle on the side of the road. Nothing a seller says about a product can be construed as a guarantee of the condition of any item.

For example, if a seller says of his for-sale car, “It will run perfectly until the cows come home,” you, as a buyer, need to know the condition and the location of the cows in question or have a qualified mechanic give that vehicle a good examination. Once you put your money down and take possession of that car, you own it in all ways imaginable. If you drive it down the seller’s driveway and that vehicle stops running, it is all yours.  The seller may come out and say, “The cows are already in the barn and the car is yours,” or he may say, “This is an ‘as is’ sale,” and you will never see your money again.  Another problem is that it is now your responsibility to get that vehicle moved somewhere. This is, of course, an extreme case of the “Buyer Beware” principle. 

Another time when “Buyer Beware” is applicable is doing regular shopping, grocery shopping or otherwise. If you find an item at the grocery store and the price is reduced for some reason, you really need to examine that package.  Some grocery workers are instructed to put the rotting signs of the produce out of sight in the package.  It is possible to find a few rotten oranges in a bag, a half-rotted tomato or apple upside down in a package or even a bunch of grapes with mold or mildew on them deep in the bag. Taking home any of these items would be judged as your fault as the buyer.  Of course, as a buyer, you would know that the product had to be reduced in price for a reason. Many grocers in our area might make restitution for the rotten food, but they are not forced to do that.  They would do it to retain buyers’ good will and continued patronage. In fact, the grocer may not have deliberately put rotted food out to sell.  He may have just known that particular product had been on the shelf for a while and wanted to move it along before it actually rotted.  In this economy, we all need to think about the bottom line.

I do, however, have a particular complaint that brought on this story.  That complaint is that often the computer price on the bar code does not match the price in the flyer or on the shelf.  The cashiers are very fast and it is impossible to watch as each item goes up on the price and total bill showing.  In fact, some of the price boards are situated in such a way that the customer cannot see the prices going up. When I get home and find that I have paid more for two or three items than the price that was advertised, I go crazy. This problem is not the cashier’s fault.  It is the fault of the person who puts data into the computer system. This truth of who is at fault makes it hard to correct even if the buyer catches the mistake.  Why would anyone get steamed at the cashier who had nothing to do with the problem? This mistake happens in all stores that carry many items.

Just last week I bought something at the price of 2 for $4 and the items came up individually as $2.13.  This is not big money, but it is my money…or your money as the case may be.  In another store last week, I bought a bag of oranges.  I was charged for three bags of oranges; I guess the computer had a fit on the bar code.  The cashier noticed the problem and deducted the price of one bag of oranges. I still paid for one bag of oranges that did not come to the Ridge. These situations happen often and they are maddening. Buyer Beware.


This week’s recipe is from an old cookbook I found at Mama’s house.  It was put together by the Town and Country Garden Club of Greater Rumford, Maine in 1984.  This recipe is for Rosemary Meatballs, something a little different to feed your families.

Rosemary Meatballs


One and a half pounds ground beef

Three-fourths cup quick oats

Three-fourths cup milk

One medium onion, chopped

One and a half teaspoon salt

One fourth-teaspoon pepper

One-half teaspoon dry mustard

One beaten egg

Directions: Combine all ingredients well. Form into balls and brown lightly in hot fat.  Remove to one quart casserole.

In browning pan, combine:

One 8 ounce can tomato soup

Three-fourths cup brown sugar (Use one-half cup if you prefer less sugar.)

One-third cup vinegar

One-half teaspoon rosemary

Pinch of basil

Pinch of garlic salt


Heat just to boiling, stirring in any meat juices in pan.  Pour over meat balls and bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.  Serve with potatoes or over pasta or rice.