Like puzzles? Try this!

Also known as “The riddle of the six-volt raisins”

by Patty Unruh

A lot of people use puzzles, word games, and trivia to stay sharp. They work crosswords, do anagrams, play Sudoku, or pass the time with acrostics. Some try to beat the contestants on “Jeopardy” or “Wheel of Fortune.”   Us?   We read our grocery receipt.

There’s nothing more challenging than trying to decipher the cryptic descriptions of the items we’ve purchased.

I’ll explain.

The other day, my husband and I returned from our weekly Walmart junket. I proceeded to put everything away while he settled in to test me with puzzles from our proof of purchase. I should mention that the job of storing the groceries falls to me because, well, I’m picky. I like things where I like them, and I have my reasons.

For example, when our kids were little and we wanted to surprise them with a treat such as a box of Little Debbies, I would put the box on top of the fridge near the back, because they were too short to see it up there. I still put treats up there occasionally, even though the kids are grown up now and can easily spot them, because that is my habit. Someday, our son and daughter may have children of their own, and they will probably hide treats on top of their fridges.

“Why?” their spouses will ask.

“I don’t know. That’s just the way Mom always did it.”

Makes perfect sense.

But back to the grocery receipt. My husband read off the first item.

“Must Pot Sal … Must we? She might get hurt,” he suggested.

“That’s an easy one,” I answered. “Mustard Potato Salad.”

“Okay. Six-volt raisins.”

Six-volt raisins? “That’s not a ‘6,’ that’s a ‘G.’ Great Value,” I said smugly.

The next one was a bit of a poser. My husband raised one eyebrow in a “let’s-see-you-get-this-one” expression.

“Wonder Whirt,” he declared.

I had to look at the list. “Oh, I know. That’s our bread. They misspelled ‘White.’“

“Okay, if you’re so smart … Spackle Six Giants.”

“Hmm.” This one was tough and sounded like it could be physically challenging.

“I’ll get back to you on that,” I said finally, unwilling to admit defeat.

“Great Value Nap,” he offered. “I’d like to take a nap.”

Napkins, of course.

“Flour tort. That doesn’t sound very tasty.”

Anyone would know that “tort” meant “tortillas.” But he was right – it did sound kind of bland.

“Paloxy 20F0” was next. Neither of us could solve that riddle, so we gave up on that one.

“William Smile.”


Since we had not purchased toothpaste nor an instant camera, we were at a loss as to what “Wm Smile” could be. Or who it could be. Nevertheless, it was “reduced to clear” and was only a dollar seven, so we could at least congratulate ourselves on finding a bargain.

“Age banner” sounded like something needed by senior citizens, perhaps to hang from their rear view mirrors. Something we’ll probably need in a week or so. However, it was simply a streamer I had purchased as a decoration for my son’s birthday. One could personalize said banner with the birthday victim’s – er, person’s – actual age.

Finally, I realized what kind of item “Spackle Six Giants” was. Or, more accurately, “Spkl 6 Giant.” My husband thought he had stumped me. Not so fast.

“It’s our paper towels,” I pronounced serenely. “Sparkle brand, six large rolls.”


Now, you might think that because we have time to ponder our grocery receipt that we’ve got nothing to do. Not so. We are very busy people. After all, we own a dog.

Fellow dog owners can identify. Our lives have meaning, right? In fact, I have actually composed a song about what I do all day. Sing this to the tune of the child’s song, “Hokey Pokey.”

“I bring my little dog in, I put my little dog out. I bring my little dog in, and she shakes hair all about. She does the ‘I-want-treat’ dance and she turns herself around. That’s what it’s all about.”


In between times of letting the dog in and out and in and out and inandout and inandout and inandoutandinandoutandinandout, I vacuum her hair off the rug.

“Why?” my husband asks. “If we just walk on her hair all the time, think of the wear and tear we’ll save on the carpet.”

“Hush. Go back to reading your grocery receipt.”

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