Friday, March 4, 2011

The Amazon Trail - Qpondering

The Amazon Trail


Although it’s not one of the certified butchly arts, I am a coupon clipper from way back. If for no reason other than to justify buying the Sunday paper, I have at hand my nifty sliding coupon cutter (that I haven’t mastered) to make back the cost of the paper with snipped savings. If only I remembered to use the coupons, the plan might work.

I’ve tried everything: stacking them on the kitchen counter where I’ll see them, or at the front door where I’ll miss them when I go through the garage to my car. I’ve stashed them in the car only to forget to bring them into the store. I’ve stuck them in my wallet with the cash so I’d find them at the register, then used my credit card. I’ve gone to the cashier with coupons in hand and, distracted, stuffed them in my jeans pocket while emptying the shopping cart. My good-natured sweetheart calls me an absent-minded professor. I forget that I swore off newspapers, buy the Sunday paper and start all over again.

There are coupon traps. I’ve purchased stuff I’ve never used because I had a great coupon. It hurts now to pay full price for anything. I bring home items like frozen dessert for our overweight dog because I can’t pass a clearance bin without exploring it. Some mega-corps, whose names I won’t mention, are really, really stingy with their $.25 off coupons for $15.00 packages of Charmin’ (who’s squeezing who here). There are certain items I won’t buy anywhere but a dollar store. I search out businesses that give AARP discounts. Still, I’m glad to have made it to senior citizen age before the stampede of boomers inspires companies to redefine the concept of senior – we’ll have to be 85 to get in to a movie matinee at half price.

This is what modern day hunting and gathering looks like. Eventually we will all have iPhone-like devices that flash coupons to computers called cashless registers (RegX ®) when we go to drive-in bars for our Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters. The Sunday paper will be replaced by online feeds that continuously scroll Preferred Product Coupons (PreProCs®), that knows we’ll use, along the sides of our screens while we’re working at our jobs (till age 85), reading tweets or composing love- mails. “Wait!” I’ll post to my sweetheart in the middle of a passionate declaration via her iTop® (something like a netbook but invisible to management.) “I have to capture a promo code for a Wild-Salmon Entre-in- a-Capsule® at the A&P’pod®.”

Currently, I’ve been training myself never to make a purchase without checking on line for promotional codes, coupons and deals. It’s frustrating that businesses don’t just charge what goods and services are worth instead of pretending to save us money. At the same time, it’s very gratifying to score “free” shipping on an item as heavy as a ton of bricks, or to bring the price of a dinner out down to the price of a dinner in.

For my sweetheart’s birthday, I paid for part of our visit to the pricey Gallagher’s Steak House with a deal through On Valentine’s Day we grouponed ourselves to a pleasant repast at a favorite local Irish pub. No wonder she was willing to marry me; I take her nice places and save money doing it.

She has no objection to my skinflintery and claims her Scottish blood is in cahoots with me. It’s gotten so I’m signing up for all sorts of possible coupon resources. Grocery stores, gas stations, Dunkin’ Donuts (which is also stingy) – my inbox looks like a phone book. Some businesses give out coupons for birthday specials, some offer sweepstakes, some have printable coupons. The paper pile on the kitchen counter grows. My sweetheart, bless her patient heart, sorts all the offers and puts them in the junk drawer. Once a month she extracts them, not an easy task, and does our big shopping.

This has backfired a few times. Last week I printed a grocery store coupon worth $10.00 off $40.00 in purchases. My sweetheart lost no time dashing off to use it. While trying to spend the required $40.00, she racked up a bill of $111.00 and came home all proud, declaring, “I saved us $19.00!” I said I would never print out one of those coupons again, as if I could resist. No wonder I married her; she makes me laugh at myself for my coupon clipping frenzy and with her, when she plays the mad shopper.

At least we’ve finally answered that age-old question, “But what do lesbians DO?”

Copyright Lee Lynch 2011

March 2011

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