Coupons drive me crazy. I love them because they are FREE MONEY! They are the bane of my existence because I feel like I am burning the free money if I don’t use them. One in particular has been weighing on me for weeks now. It was for twenty dollars off of a two hundred-dollar order at my regular grocery store.
Now, with seven people in our house you would think that I could rack up a two hundred-dollar order without even trying. Sure thing, especially if I build some storage shelves and stockpile, Extreme Couponer-style. But I don’t buy stuff I don’t need. And I don’t buy things just because they are on sale. Plus, I have been trying to be extra frugal in my shopping when I can because – I don’t know if you’ve heard – there is a recession going on, and a third driver/ third car/ third gas tank and insurance costs are less than a year away for us, and college tuition is only three years away, and Good Lord these kids always seem to need new shoes.
… but back to my $20 off $200 coupon. I didn’t use it. Sob.
When it first came in the mail we were just about to leave on an extended trip. So we were trying to eat the things that were already in the house and clear out the pantry. “Waste not, want not” and such. That trip ended up being almost a month. When we returned I was planning to go to the grocery store for a big stock-up trip, but I was pouty because I wasn’t living at the beach anymore so I kept putting it off. And we kept eating stale oyster crackers and almost expired soup. And it was so flipping hot outside that I was not inspired to do anything.
Eventually I could not serve/ eat another packet of oatmeal or bag of frozen vegetables, so I went to the store. There are two of the exact same chain grocery stores near my house. They are about the same distance away in opposite directions. One is really fancy and one is, um… not so much. I always go to the Not So Much one because it is rarely crowded and they have basically the same things, so what if they get the hand-me-down rusty carts. They know me and let me do my thing at the Not So Much (like bagging my own groceries – which is a form of packing, so I’m really good at it – it drives me insane when the idiots crush my groceries). At the Fancy one they have kids with “Bagger” on their name tags (imprinted, not just written in Sharpie!), so you’d better not try filling your own bags at that one.
For some reason I chose to go to the Fancy store on this trip (probably delusion from all of the heat, but whatever). They seem to have more of a produce selection and I was in the market for lots of fresh stuff. I filled my cart with meat and chicken and fruits and vegetables and bread and eggs and cheese and milk and yogurt. Wheat bread, cake mix, Coca-Cola, shaving cream (Sorry, that last stuff wasn’t on my real list – it was from a commercial from when I was a kid and I will never be able to recite a grocery list without adding them at the end for the rest of my life. Excellent marketing job because I can still recite it when I often can’t even remember my own kids’ names – my guess is that it was an ad for Coke. It’s a shame that stuff is poison and I just won’t buy it.).
So I go up to the checkout with a full cart and my Very Special Customer coupon. Until that moment I had forgotten that they are so fast to check you out at Fancy – someone was even pulling stuff out of my cart and putting it on the belt while the checkout girl was scanning at lightning speed and the Bagging Team (seriously, there were TWO kids bagging my groceries!) was like Matrix-fast. I was blown away so much that they disoriented me. I was even a little dizzy when the cashier gave me my total and it was… $192. Wait! Nooooooooooooooooooo! I can’t use my coupon unless the total is at least two hundred dollars.
I should have picked up another ginormous pack of toilet paper or some more lunchmeat. I should have gotten more cereal. Maybe I could just go grab something else right now. But, no! The Fancy store will not tolerate hold-ups in their lines. They move you right along, almost forcefully so. And there were at least three people in line behind me. I guess I could have been, but I didn’t want to be “That Shopper.” So I paid the bill and I left. With my coupon still in hand. Sigh.
I was kicking myself as I loaded the groceries into my car. I continued all the way home. And it has been on my mind ever since.
I should have planned better. I should have bought one more this or a couple more of that. If only they counted big bottles of wine towards the total.
That coupon has since expired. I mourned it much more than I should have. Because soon another one will come in the mail and I will start the whole process over again. Damn coupons.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…