Induction #253 - Jeff & Barb's $7 Big Sweep
When One Turkey Can Beat A Sweep, You've Done Messed Up


Lifetime: (1991)

I absolutely adore Supermarket Sweep as do a lot of game show fans. The moment that we all enjoy watching is the Big Sweep. Who doesn't love seeing people throw loads of hams, turkeys, blocks of cheese, hair care products, salamis among other groceries into their carts or as David Rhuprhect always says "Run Wild Through The Aisles". There are instances where teams only have around 1:30 or 1:40 to do the shopping, but those teams usually don't dawdle around and try to fill the carts with anything. This team however takes a very different tact and it lands them with the lowest amount ever accumulated in a big sweep. I give you the dynamic duo of Jeff and Barb.

Jeff and Barb were friends who met during their time at the University of Alabama. This was before the Crimson Tide ruled the collegiate football scene with an iron fist for the second time.  Barb said that she was a singer and Jeff was a "Therapudic Massage Therapist" which got a good reaction from the crowd. There must have been a reference that is going over my head or something. They seem like a good team, but as we always know, nothing is as what it seems.

Sadly for Barb and Jeff, the main game went like how most shows go. Two teams are quick with the buzzer and are in a race for first, leaving the third place team in a lurch, just hoping to grab at least 10 or 20 additional seconds to their base 1:30 time. It's nothing that they did wrong, it's that the other two teams did everything right. The other two teams wound up with 2:40 and 2:50 respectively. So they don their #3 Yellow Sweaters and get ready to run the big sweep.

I should mention the bonuses for the 1991 season weren't like later seasons where you had the Candy, the big box of Cheer or even the recycling center. Instead, the only bonuses were the three inflatables which were either $50, $100 or $200. Then you had the Shopping List, which had you look for items shoppers wouldn't go to normally to try to find 3 items and gain $250 and the Millstone Coffee Grinder where a bag of coffee is $100. With only 1:40 on the clock, you have to either rely on your shopping skills, which is a safer option with quite a few high priced items out in the market like the Meat section and the Deli and the Health & Beauty Aids. Or do you take a gamble and go bonus hunting, knowing that if you don't get all the bonuses, you don't have a shot at winning.


Jeff decides to leave without his cart and goes for the shopping list. Personally, I've never understood why you go out without a cart unless you spot a Bonus that's so big you can't put it in your cart, like the Knight or the Senorita Mascot or the Jolly Green Giant while you're waiting to go. I've seen this strategy happen a couple other times and both times the team that did this strategy had one thing that was different than Jeff and Barb and one other that was the same as Jeff and Barb. Those teams that did this were first and had a sizable lead to search for the shopping list. The similarity is that they all lost.


Before we continue on with how Jeff's shopping list trek went horribly wrong, I want to talk about some strategy about the Big Sweep. Myself and Jessica Brand spent some time discussing the best way to spend the 1:40 in the Market. Both of us agreed that you need big ticket items that don't take up too much space in your cart. That means, raiding the health and beauty aid section. Getting tons of eye care products, hair coloring, bottles of Tylenol among other items would help out. Then head on over to the next aisle over to get some pots and pans and pails. Those are other big ticket items that won't take up space since you can stick all the pots and pans in the garbage pails. If there is any time left, then go to the deli and grab the salamis and blocks of cheese. In the 1991 season, that should net you roughly $500-600. There are instances where that is enough for a win, but it would save you any embarassment.

Sadly, Jeff didn't get the memo and kept head first into the Shopping List. He did manage to grab the Nabisco Frosted Wheat Squares, but as soon as he did that, the clock was at the 30 second mark. It's at this time that most people would abandon the shopping list and just grab whatever they could get before the time ran out.


He then proceeds to try to get the Stagg Laredo Style Chili, but instead grabs the wrong can and has to go back and get it, leading to this look of disappointment in his partner Barb's face. The look is mutual from all of us watching as a few seconds later we see him still looking for the Hungry Jack Potatoes in the wrong aisle until time runs out and he walks away with the only things being picked up are a box of cereal and two cans of chili. I never thought this existed.  I say this because many years ago on a game show trading site, I saw someone looking for an episode like this one. The person claimed that they saw an episode where team #3 had only 1:30 and only got $17 which was some canned goods. I'm assuming that this was the show they were talking about.


So at the end of the day, Barb and Jeff laughed about the failure and ended with a grand total of...$7. That's right. $7. That's the all-time low for Supermarket Sweep. I can't remember anything coming close at all to it.  David himself said he understood the strategy of going for the shopping list and finding a bonus because that had the potential of getting $450, but gave one of the best reveals of the grand total. Even though David got the strategy, it was a terrible strategy that didn't work at all and when you're that far behind on time, your best bet is to do great shopping instead. I'm just happy that Jeff and Barb took it in stride and it just goes to show you that you might think you can do the game at home, but when you're out there in the market and hear that beep, you really want to come up with a good game plan and stick to it before gametime.

Well, that's induction #253. That means there are only 2 inductions left and we know that #255 will be the Fall Of HQ. But what is #254?  It is my ultimate gut-punch to the soul and it was uploaded to YouTube courtesy of Wink Martindale...

The Card Sharks '96 Pilot. See you in 10 Days.

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