Journal of the San Juan Islands


Shopping spree: four minutes and counting in the aisle of plenty

Journal of the San Juans Editor
December 2, 2013 · Updated 8:53 AM

With four minutes of free shopping, Kim and Scott Bell cruise the aisles of Kings Market as winners of the Lions Club's annual holiday shopping spree, Nov. 25. Ticket proceeds help fund the Lions scholarship fund. / Journal photo / Scott Rasmussen

If you have a charitable cause you’re pushing at the grocery store, Scott Bell is precisely the person that you’d want to see.

He’s bound to buy.

“I always buy a ticket,” Bell said. “I buy whatever someone’s selling at the grocery store.”

Raffle tickets for the San Juan Lions Club annual shopping spree are no exception. But after casting cash into the Lions yearly sweepstakes for the past 20 years and coming up empty, this time Bell hit the jackpot. Perhaps some luck rubbed off of that $5 bill he happened to find at the gas station a couple weeks earlier.

“I always seem to be just one number away,” he said of his history with raffle drawings.

On Sunday, however, the Lions’ Roy Matsumoto plucked Bell’s name out of the proverbial hat and two days later he and his wife, Kim, were pacing the aisles of King’s Market, and ready to go. The couple surveyed the store the day before to plot out a game plan for mad dash up and down the aisles and four-minute grab-what-you-can.

Winner Raffle winnerThe annual shopping spree generated roughly $1,887 in ticket sales, according to Bob Nieman of the Lions Club. Proceeds from the yearly event, now well into its second decade, help fund the club’s scholarship — minus the bill from the shopping spree. The Lions give out about $5,000 in scholarships to local high school graduates each year, Nieman said.

The Bells re-calibrated their strategy since it turned out that gourmet olive oil was off-limits, and zeroed in on items that could be shared with their children and grandkids. But even with a game plan, it turns out that four minutes proved to be much longer than one might think.

“By the end I just started grabbing stuff that I didn’t even know what it was,” Kim Bell said.

In the end, the Bell’s filled 10 shopping carts and amassed $637.19 worth of food items in four minutes. As winner of the raffle drawing, they also received $50 worth of complimentary meat and cheese, courtesy of the Lions Club.

While $600-plus worth of almost free groceries is nothing to dismiss, Scott Bell said that he is a fortunate man even without a pantry full of free food.

“I am an incredibly lucky man,” he said. “I got the girl.”

And a truckload of groceries, too.


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