The Other Brown Paper Bag


brown bagWhen grandma called the ambulance to come take her husband to the emergency department for his chest pains, she was all in a dither. They just got back from eating at the local diner and he wasn’t feeling good at all.

Paramedics swooped through the home, scooped up grandpa, grabbed his brown paper bag full of medications, and brought him to the emergency department.

Some oxygen and a couple sprays of nitroglycerin had the patient feeling better by the time he arrived. The full bag of medications got passed to the nurse so she could spend her time following JCAHO protocols and write out all of the medications, their doses, and their frequency for the umpteenth time of the day — instead of taking care of the patients.

As the nurse opened the bag, she got a strange look on her face. Then she dumped the “medications” on the counter.

Instead of a bunch of pill bottles, there was a pile of sugar, Sweet and Low, and Splenda packets that grandpa and grandma had lifted from the diner that evening. Didn’t think much of it until the patient’s daughter brought in the other brown paper bag with the patient’s medications.

Suddenly, grandma forgot about grandpa’s heart condition and got pretty feisty about us returning her sugar packets.

If I ever see her sneaking around the coffee machine in our break room, I’m calling the cops.


  1. Ha ha! Funny WC!

    Maybe they were poor and they save money that way or they do it just because they can. Maybe the chest pains were brought on by the stress of the great heist and get-a-way! 😉

    Did you check your pockets? Still have your stethoscope? 😉

    When I was a teenager, my aunt used to steal hotel towels for my hair. I always felt weird using them because they were white with the *hotel name imprinted* right on them and so I was always reminded. I don’t know why she did that because she had plenty of towels and could buy all the towels she wanted.

    When my girlfriend’s father would take us in a store where they had open barrels of candy ..he always took one for each of us and said it was okay ..that the store expects people to taste the candy.

    You know how people will take office supplies from work? They think no one will miss the clips, pens,post it notes and yet that adds up to a lot of money multiplied how many times over. I never do that. I asked my boss once if it was alright for me to take home the left over blank stickers (good for organizing 🙂 used to identify the various paperwork that we would just throw out and she did say yes. Although ..I did copy non work items and so that is using up paper… and so I’m not a saint either. 😉

    Thanks for the laugh.

  2. If you don’t have a sense of humor, then much of the time the job you do would wear you down…

    Thanks for a good laugh!

  3. My grandfather who died in’08 just shy of his 90th birthday had mugs full of cheap pens at his house. Once I asked him why he had so many assorted pens and he proudly shared that every time he signed a credit card slip he kept the pen.

    The man was quite well off, but nothing pleased him more than to strike a bargain to save a $1 on a spool of weed eater line at the local flea market.

    Depression era economics? Character flaw? Petty theif? I still shake my head.

    • When my wife’s grandfather died and we cleaned out his apartment, he had a freezer full of rolls he had taken home from the diner down the street. Supposedly he would put all the rolls into a bag and then ask the waitress for more.
      I kind of think we ingrain this behavior in ourselves at a young age. We encourage kids to start collections of various worthless things and then the “collection” gene never turns off.
      My son will shovel the driveway right now for a $2 pack of “GoGos” even though he has a damn Tupperware container full of them.

  4. What I would love at my work is the opportunity to pay for stuff that I print there. I don’t have a printer at home, and when I do buy one it isn’t likely to be as good as the ones at work. I only print the occasional thing so it isn’t really worth buying my own 🙁

  5. I too love getting useful materials for free. I live by the university medical center here, so I was beyond happy when I found their cardboard recycle pile consisting of a hundred boxes a day. Cardboard, bublewrap, and styrofoam have a million and one uses (cardboard = cheap wood, bubblewrap = cheap shock absorbers, styrofoam = great sound and thermal insulation) so it works out well in my “direct recycling” scheme.

    @Katherine, a “cheap” (~$70) black and white laser from HP is a very good investment. Even if you only print a handful of pages a day, the machine will pay for itself since toner never dries up like ink, and the machines last forever…got a 4 page per minute one still printing 15 years later. Over the past 2 years I’ve printed about 4000 pages and saved roughly $160 vs. paying to print each page.

    • Soronel Haetir on

      Unfortunately HP printer quality has gone down the toilet in recent years. The old ones are very good but the new ones are built cheap and it shows. Unfortunately all of the low end consumer printers are like that now.

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