My beef is not with grocery store sales flyers. I have no problem with junk mail and newspaper inserts. In fact, I depend on them to start our fires all winter. I particularly enjoy watching the buy-one-get-one-free grocery store boondoggles go up in flames.

You know the ones I’m talking about. Some store, claiming to be your local friend, offers up an incredible deal on hams or ribeye steaks or pork chops, which seem to be all the buy-one-get-one-free rage these days. Of course, these are old tricks, tantamount to a shady guy with three shells entertaining 15 gullible dumbasses on the Jersey Shore boardwalk. When I see 10 grandmas lined up with buggies full of those “weekly specials,” it pisses me off. Severely.

What kind of asshole misleads grandma into buying something that she only thinks is a good deal? And if you’ve ever hightailed it to the market for a buy-one-get-one free “special,” then you should be pissed off too.

Why? Well, in your case (unless you’re a senior citizen with early-onset Alzheimer’s) you were probably too stupid to check the prices. You got all salivated up looking at pictures of those beautifully marbled steaks and skipped on down to the cooler section, picked up some charcoal and beer on the way, and made it home before the significant other even knew what was happening.

In many cases, the steaks you bought weren’t what they seemed. Sure, that picture on the flyer looked juicy and well marbled, but if you peered down at the whole ribeyes in the case that day, the ones your specials were cut from, you’d see a different story. Meat comes in grades. In the case of beef, the picture may look like Prime, but you won’t find that in your local meat case. Your supermarket probably carries Choice on a regular basis, but I’m afraid that when you fell for the deal, you ended up chowing down on what the USDA terms “Select,” which has about half the intramuscular fat as a Choice steak.

To make matters worse, if you inspected the meat case closely and kept mental notes of price over time, you’d be particularly alarmed by these bogus BOGO deals. Next time you are in the scrum for a flat of those buy-one-get-one-free deals, reach back behind the display samples and try to find a pack of ribs or chicken that may have been moved or mishelved. See if you can find the “old” price. You’ll see that the “specials” are considerably more expensive, often 30 to 40 percent greater than regular retail. Hmm.

To me, “buy-one-get-one-free” means that what was on the shelf yesterday just got 50 percent cheaper, since I can now get two of those for the price of one. If, instead, I’m actually getting a crappier product for only about a 20 percent reduction in price, then I haven’t gotten a “deal,” I’ve gotten taken — shell games at their finest. So next time you see that fancy flyer with the baked ham deal, I suggest you take my advice: roll it up and smoke it.