She rummaged through the shoe box of coupons she keeps at her side, and brought out a coupon that entitled him to receive the dog food for free, saving him a total of $16.79.
“He was so pleased,” said Marleau, who has been working at the grocery store since it opened 12 years ago.
This is a typical scene at her cash.
Helped by fellow cashiers and even customers, Marleau collects coupons from newspaper inserts and online promotions that might help people save money, cuts them out, and keeps them at the ready as she works.
Her coupon filing system isn't something anybody else would understand. Marleau has simply memorized where each type of coupon is in the box.
Since she started keeping track about a decade ago, she's saved customers more than $98,000.
Even though her shoe box is a lot thinner than it usually is right now because a lot of coupons expired Dec. 31, she'd already saved customers $169 this year as of Jan. 8.
Marleau said she's been doing this since she started working as a cashier in the 1970s, although she's taken her hobby to a new level in recent years.
Why? She said she likes helping people out in her own small way, and it makes work more fun for herself and her co-workers.
Besides, it makes customers happy, Marleau said. It's that bit of a personal connection that makes the grocery store a comfortable, friendly place.
“I think it makes people come back,” she said. “They kind of look for me in hopes that maybe I have something again for them, and I love that. I get these long lineups. It's like 'Oh good.'”
Marleau said she's watched the American television show Extreme Couponing, where customers are able to use coupons to pay only a few dollars for several grocery carts full of items.
While those kinds of deals aren't available in Canada, she said she wishes they were, because she could use coupons to buy products to benefit charities. “We're not that lucky,” Marleau said. “This is the best I can do for people.”
The grocery store's owner, Alex Dumas, said his customers love Marleau, and he's proud to have her as an employee.
“If I had dozens of these types of employees, I'd be in heaven,” he said. “She's absolutely a great asset to the company.”
This article is part of a series called Neighbourhood Heroes. Do you know someone who brightens other people's lives, but never asks for nor receives recognition? Email lifestyle reporter Heidi Ulrichsen at [email protected]