Do you “coupon?” I get this question sometimes. Really I feel the question we should be asking is, “When did coupon become a verb?”
But normal people hate it when I ask annoying grammar questions, so usually I just answer honestly. I wish I did, but I really don’t.
Except, in some ways, I am getting better. I intend to use coupons when they come in the mail. I often even put useful ones (for things I know I will buy anyway) in my wallet. There I imagine they chitchat with the credit cards, random dollars, and growing pile of receipts–or maybe the receipts, except probably the McDonald’s receipts, are too snotty to talk to coupons. Maybe they are shunned by the glitsy, high-limit credit cards and only the CVS card and the cash and the library card really relate to them. You know, because they’re all hanging out in my oversized wallet, musing about how times have changed and why can’t anybody carry pictures of their kids anymore?
Forgive me. We just watched Toy Story about four times in two days and I have this mental image of the cutesy way inanimate objects commune.
So I try to put the coupons where I will use them, but only once in a blue moon will I remember to use them. But oh, I should use them. I had this hammered home to me recently.
Last week on vacation I stopped at a CVS to pick up a prescription someone I will not mention (who was not me) forgot to pack. I needed to maximize my time and pick up a bunch of groceries and sunscreen and swim diapers while I was there, and of course fielded various texts from family members with items they needed too. By the time I reached the pharmacy I had a full grocery cart– at CVS!– and obviously, the pharmacy has some sort of 35-item limit. So I paid for just the scrip and figured I’d check out the rest up front. As usual with my CVS receipt, out came a three-foot row of coupons.
Normally my CVS coupons get dumped in the trash or languish in my wallet until the ink is faded, but since I really only had to walk to the front of the store to I decided to take a look at the cards in my hand, so to speak. The saintly Cheesehead* at the register let me triple up on those babies, and I literally shaved $20 off my bill. Seriously! How was I not taking advantage of this before?
*You have not vacationed until you have vacationed in Wisconsin.
Some other good “couponing” habits I have managed to accrue, however, relate to online shopping. Whenever I am about to checkout a cart online anywhere I simply open a new tab in my browser and toss Google a “such-and-such-retailer promo code” search term. My best friend taught me this. Almost every time something comes up that I can copy and paste and magically cut 10% or shipping charges off my bill. Sometimes this game makes me angry, because obviously we’re all just overpaying in the first place, but other times I rise above that anger in favor of the good old American thrill of getting a deal.
Also I have tried this, though it takes a little chutzpah: walk into a store such as a Best Buy, and find whatever you want. Then pull it up on Amazon and if it comes up cheaper, say to the manager: “I’ll give you my money today if you beat this price. Otherwise, I can wait for my free two-day shipping.” Add a wink and a smile. Price-matching is often advertised store policy, but a lot of times the sales clerk will say, “Well that’s last year’s model” or “it’s not exactly the same,” and tell you they can’t do it. But often, especially at the end of the month, the manager will cut you a deal. And if he won’t, then you have to hold your head up high and say, “Oh, really? OK,” as politely as possible. And walk out of the store.
So do you coupon?