"Run fast and grab things quickly."
Upon first hearing that advice from 26-year-old Chris Tanner, it may not sound particularly sage or helpful. And it's not likely to wind up in Bartlett's Famous Quotations right alongside "Stop and smell the roses."
But it sure came in handy Saturday morning as Tanner raced through the aisles of Bashas', making the absolute best of the 69-second, glom-on-to-everything-you-can shopping spree he'd won in a contest devised to celebrate the supermarket chain's 69th anniversary.
Every Bashas' in Arizona held the same contest Saturday. But Tanner a resident of Phoenix whose family owns a cabin in Payson was the local store's winner.
What was the cash value of Tanner's haul by the time the 69th second clicked to an end?
Yeah, right. Like we're going to ruin the suspense of this drama right up front.
Prior to making his food run, Tanner said, "I was getting advice from everybody. Some were saying, 'Go straight to the meat aisle.' Others were saying 'Go to the beer,' but I couldn't do that. The rules said you could only go for food products not alcohol, cigarettes, no cleaning supplies or personal hygiene stuff."
Dang. Lifetime supplies of hair spray and Ajax would have no doubt come in handy.
"So my whole strategy," Tanner summarized, "was to go to the meat aisle and grab as much as I could."
Tanner swore that he didn't train, didn't do any practice runs through his Phoenix-neighborhood Bashas', didn't bother to limber up before his big run, and didn't even wager any real estimates as to how much merchandise he might be able to collect during his 69-second "track meat."
"I really had no idea," he said. "I didn't think I was going to get as much as I did. I guess I was thinking I'd get $400 or $500 worth of stuff. You know, 69 seconds isn't a very long time."
The stakes or, rather, steaks were raised right before Tanner's sprint. "The butcher came out and asked me what kind of meat I liked, and he made sure it was out there. That was pretty cool."
When the race began, Tanner said, "I didn't even know what I was grabbing. I was so excited and my adrenaline was pumping so hard, I was just shoveling meat into the cart."
Two Bashas' bag boys trailed directly behind him with a pair of backup carts, just in case. But Tanner only managed to fill two of the three.
When his time ran out, Tanner had collected a sufficient amount of meat products to fill the three ice chests he'd brought with him, as well as two others he had to buy in the wake of his run.
"Amazingly," he said, "We got all of it in my four-door sedan."
Once home, Tanner stuffed what he could into his freezer, and gave the rest to family and friends.
"You'd be surprised at how happy you can make people just by giving them meat," he said modestly.
That's something we could only learn from someone who ran fast, grabbed things quickly, and went home with $873.55 in groceries.