Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mediocre Couponing

This is how I do coupons: The JoAnn's flyer comes in the mail. I remove the coupon and set it in the special Coupon Place. The next day I go to JoAnn's and buy a lot of stuff. At the checkout, however, I realize I've left the coupon at home. 

Or . . . 

At the checkout, I realize I brought the coupon, but it's expired.

Or . . .

At the checkout, I bring the right coupon, but it works on everything except the thing I'm buying.

I am just unlucky in couponing.

Until two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago my newly converted extreme-couponing sister made ardent attempts at bringing me into the couponing fold. "Go to Walgreens," she said. "Buy 8 boxes of Granola Thins in two transactions, 4 boxes each transaction. Use the coupon in the store circular. Receive two coupons for $3 off your next visit. Enjoy eating Granola Thins for the next two months."

I figured I could go to Walgreens. It's a mile from my house. I followed her directions, used a $5 rewards certificate, and called from the car, thrilled, to tell her I'd just paid only 50 cents per box of Granola Thins. I was super excited. Extreme couponing was fun!

"Here's what you do next," she said the following week. "Go to Walgreens and use your Monopoly Money (that's what the insiders call those $3 coupons) to buy Diet Protien Bars."

"But I don't want Diet Protien Bars." I said. "I'm out of Comet. Can't I get some of that?"

But Comet didn't get me Monopoly Money, I'd have to get the Diet Protien Bars if I wanted more Monopoly Money.

So I passed, saving the Monopoly Money for another purchase. Maybe next week Comet would be on sale.

A few days later I got my next assignment. "Go to Walgreens," (I was getting good at this!) "buy 8 bags of Chex Mix in two separate transactions with coupons you print off the internet."

After getting special directions for how to print coupons off the internet (because you have to hit the back button if you want two) I headed over to Walgreens, grabbed my 8 bags, flipped through the in-store coupon booklet to the appropriate page, and headed to the check out. I told the cashier I'd like to do two separate transactions. 

She huffed. HUFFED!

"You can't get more than four when things are on sale," she said as a couple more people got in line behind me.

"Okay, well, I don't want to break the rules. I'll just get four."

"No. That's okay," she said, her words saying one thing, but her eye roll saying another. "I'll go ask the manager."

Another person got in line as the cashier made her way over to the Valentine's aisle and said loud enough for everyone to hear, "This lady wants to buy eight bags of Chex Mix, but they're on sale. Do we have enough to sell her eight?" The manager said something I couldn't hear, because he was talking at regular volume. "Okay, I just wanted to make sure," she said as she took her sweet time coming back.

By the time she'd returned to the cash register, two more people at joined the line. "He says you can do it, but you're not supposed to buy this many when an item is on sale. We need to have enough for everyone who wants to buy some." 

She began scanning the bags, but stopped to direct someone to the cosmetic counter for a return. She scanned bag number three, but paused to answer the phone. She scanned bag number four and then five. 

"Wait. I wanted to do it in two transactions" I said. 

See, the only way to get two, $2 Monopoly Money things was to do two transactions of four bags each. Otherwise I would just get one, $2 Monopoly Money thing. That's why I'd asked for two transactions. 

Another huff. "I just asked the manager if we could do this and he said yes. It's okay for you to get eight bags in one transaction." Her look said, what's the problem now?

I said nothing, mindful of the line of people behind me. I didn't want to find out how six, home-printed coupons would fluster her, so I kept them deep in my purse. Just get me out of this store, I thought. I don't even like Chex Mix.

Feeling completely humiliated, I figured I'd wait a few days until I'd regained my courage, use my now $10 in Monopoly Money on something useful and call my foray into extreme couponing finis.

But before I could do that, $6 of my Monopoly Money had expired.

So today I went to Walgreens and spent my remaining $4 of Monopoly Money on a diet Dr. Pepper and a box of Cheez-Its. 

I'll leave extreme couponing to the professionals.


beadiemom said...

Sneaky couponers know to only bring 4 chex mixes to the counter, buy them, then go back into the store and get 4 more. :) The particular Walgreens you are speaking of hates couponers; they seem to think that they are being ripped off by couponers, even though they get the money from the manufacturer that published the coupon.

Chelsea said...

I too, have dabbled with extreme couponing and it is very addicting, EXCEPT for those moments and they happen at the Albertsons by us too. You have to go at a certain time of day where there are few lines and find a cashier you like and use that person all the time. Beadiemom is right too, either come back for your round 2 or I sometimes bring Spencer with me to do round 2. I am not as brave as the real extreme couponers!!

Samurai Mom said...

Exactly why I don't coupon.

Natalie said...

What happened to buying Comet? I have only played the part of awed spectator in the world of extreme couponing. It looks from the outside like you have to really WANT it, if you're going to make it work. And I'm not there yet.

Tricia said...

That JoAnn's scenario--totally me too. Exactly why I don't coupon either. Too much time, too much stress for not enough savings on stuff I didn't really need in the first place. Only exception is Costco--I do use their coupons on stuff I do need--and a few things I probably don't sometimes :)

Heather said...

Yup--too much hassle, and I usually feel guilty, like I'm stealing something.