Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Something for Nothing

     I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about coupons.  It seems you can’t turn on the TV, pick up a magazine, or walk into a store without hearing something about coupons.  No one can even agree on how to pronounce the word.  I’ve heard “KOO-puns”, “KOO-pawns”, “CUE-pawns”, “CUE-puns”, and one guy with a sweater around his shoulders and pesto in his cart who said, “koo-PAWN-ays”.  I don’t understand the hype.  Yes, it’s amazing to walk out of a store with a trunk full of items that only cost a few dollars, but what exactly are you getting in those bags?

      I watched that show, “Coupon Outlandishness” (or whatever it’s called) and became more confused than ever.  One lady walked out of her local grocery store with 2,000 sports drinks, 200 bottles of lotion, 67 bags of flavored coffee, 34 sticks of antiperspirant, and 109 pouches of substandard-super-salty-this-is-insanely-gross-only-eat-in-case-of-nuclear-apocalypse-sorta-kinda-pork-flavored noodles.  As she squealed that her “grocery bill” was a mere $12, I really had to wonder what she fed her family.  I mean, how many ways can you prepare sports drinks and substandard-super-salty-this-is-insanely-gross-only-eat-in-case-of-nuclear-apocalypse-sorta-kinda-pork-flavored noodles? 

     As the cameras followed this savvy shopper back to her hoard, I was appalled by what I saw.  She had enough pre-packaged foods to start her own war-time staples repository.  She, her family, her extended family, her neighborhood, and every kid at her son’s school will never, ever need to buy lotion thanks to her.  Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bottles of lotion filled her shelves as she beamed about her “grocery store” basement.  Sure, everybody you have ever met will be glowing with deeply-moisturized firmness, but what are they going to eat?  I’m serious!  I have seen coupons for substandard-super-salty-this-is-insanely-gross-only-eat-in-case-of-nuclear-apocalypse-sorta-kinda-pork-flavored noodles, toiletry items, diapers, candles, and maybe even the occasional canned vegetable, but I have never seen a coupon for a fresh vegetable, a cut of fresh meat, a piece of raw fruit, or a bag of potatoes.  Never.  Do these people and their fabulous $50 monthly grocery bills ever eat anything that doesn’t require a can opener or a paring knife to “slit plastic over blueberry crumble before microwaving”?

      On top of limited choices, these people dedicate MASSIVE amounts of time to their coupon obsession.  If you can save your family money on groceries, that’s fabulous.  But I would think one would have to ask himself this question: “If I am sending my child to the bottom of a dumpster to save 10 cents on my purchase of 3 or more liver cheese dog snacks, has my money-saving obsession become my master?” 

      Some might say that I’m just jealous that I don’t stock my pantry for pennies a month.  That may be partly true.  I pride myself on having a fully stocked pantry filled with items purchased at a bulk discount, but I do not let it take over my life.  I have never, and will never, give Buttercup the old “heave-ho” over the side of a dumpster to rescue a poor little 20 cent “koo-PAWN-ay” that someone carelessly tossed out.  I’ve never had much luck with coupons anyway.  All of my local stores put strict limits on the type, number, and amount of coupons and they don’t care if you pitch a fit over it.  One store accepts coupons printed with color ink ONLY.  The other store down the street accepts coupons printed with black ink ONLY.  The store in the middle says 20 coupons per customer, per day, and they welcome you to take your business elsewhere if you disagree.  I guess it’s where I live, but the guests on “Coupon Outlandishness” would never survive here.  These stores prefer you use their “in-store” deals, but I’ve never had much luck with those either, and it’s probably because I read the fine print: "Buy One Apple, Get a FREE STEAK!!!" (Apple must be a Granny Smith not more than 4 inches in diameter that has been mistakenly marked with a Banana-King banana sticker. "Free Steak" refers to the manner in which it was raised as cows are free range on an open prairie in Kansas somewhere.  Steak may not exceed 2 oz. in weight and must contain a ridge of fat at least 3 inches deep to qualify.  Apples marked with Banana-Queen banana stickers do not qualify.  Coupons not valid on this offer.  Sorry, no rain checks and pennies cannot be accepted as a valid form of payment.)

     But hey, if coupons are their stock in trade, let them have at it.  They can enjoy all the substandard-super-salty-this-is-insanely-gross-only-eat-in-case-of-nuclear-apocalypse-sorta-kinda-pork-flavored noodles their hearts could ever desire.  I'm having homemade Sausage and Peppers for dinner tonight ... and I didn't use a "koo-PAWN-ay".      

© Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

1 comment:

  1. I had some of the same thoughts when I saw that program, but you put it in such eloquent words!


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