‘ELE‘ELE — Five canopies and a loaf of bread put the winning couple within 2 cents of their target yesterday morning at the Big Save shopping spree.
With a minute left, Jeanette Ridings and husband James strolled up to the cashier’s lane at the ‘Ele‘ele grocery store, waiting as the final seconds ticked down.
The items in the Ridings team’s basket added up to $499.98, including tax — just shy of the $500 ceiling.
That victory earned the couple a $250 gift card courtesy of the Big Save stores.
Ridings, a Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club employee, was selected to participate in the shopping spree as one of the two top fundraisers for the annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk held May 17.
Amber Lopes, a student at the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School, was Ridings’ competitor, having earned that honor as the No. 2 fundraiser.
Both teams were allowed five minutes to scout the store before beginning the competition.
Once the spree began, shoppers had three minutes to select items, which a “menehune” of their choice transported to the cashier. No more than six of any given product could be used.
Ridings’ strategy was simple.
“The canopies were $94.99 plus tax,” she said. “The tax was exactly $20.”
Her husband, James, did menehune duty. Lopes recruited her mom, Elise Guirao.
“We went for the seafood because it’s so expensive, but the crab had several types,” Guirao said. “One is by the package price and others were by the pound pricing, and when Amber was going, she got mixed up.”
As the final seconds ticked down and Lopes approached the checkout, huffing from the three-minute experience, she instinctively reached for candy bars displayed nearby.
The audience reacted — some encouraging her selection, others discouraging it.
The confused girl finally gave in to her instincts, flinging six bars onto the growing pile of groceries.
That effort fell short as her total leveled out at $477.17, including tax, giving the win to the Ridings.
But the excitement was not over as Stella Burgess of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa and Sandi Kato-Klutke of ResortQuest announced that it was Lopes’ birthday.
The pair produced a cake with everyone joining in a round of “Happy Birthday.”