Monday, February 15

I'm officially old, but not yet good at it.

I wear a cardigan. I pinch cheeks. I knit. And now I use coupons.

I hear about these incredible deals to be had with couponing over and over again. Finally, I broke down and joined The Grocery Game to see how it's done. I clipped, I printed, I clipped some more, and then I printed the list of sales.

I matched and sorted and filed and finally felt ready to tackle one store: CVS.

At CVS, you can earn Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) with some purchases. You can pay for your ECB items and then turn around and apply those ECBs to the rest of the items in your cart. So if I spend $2.99 on the shampoo, but it earns $3.00 in ECBs, I get the shampoo for free. See?

Well, it sounds great, but I was intimidated. I had never shopped in CVS. It was a busy Saturday night. There was a long line behind me and there is no real counter for placing your items. The place is built for quick run-in shopping....not stock up on crazy-cheap stuff shopping. Also, Saturday nights are the nights they take down all the old sale signs (which are still good) in preparation for Sunday's sales. Everything on my list mentioned a different price and I had to double check e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. In addition to this, there's just something about telling a cashier, "I want this.....for free?" that makes me feel like a thief. I felt like I was going to get "caught" or something. I'm a freak.

When my turn to check out finally rolled around, I warned the cashier, "I have never used coupons before, but I have a bunch and I'm going to try this."

He was not a white man, but he noticeably paled at my words. "I've never done coupons either. Do you know what you're doing? I mean, um, do you have a plan or somethin?" I assured him I did indeed.

First item on the counter: Oust spray. I told him they were supposed to be on sale for Buy One Get One and then earn ECBs to make them free. We looked and looked and couldn't find that sale anywhere and finally gave up. It was not beginning well. We did finally find the "sale" I was talking about. I remembered wrong....it was a coupon. A coupon sitting at the bottom of my cart when all was said and done.

Next, Kleenex. On sale for B1G1 and I had a coupon for $0.50 off of 3 boxes. For some ridiculous reason (I'm telling you - I was NERVOUS) I only picked up 3. My cashier said "You can do whatever you want, but if you picked up a 4th box, you know it'd be free....right?"

I was sweating profusely at this point.

Finally, the feminine products. You knew feminine products would enter this embarrassing story at some point, right? This time, I did nothing wrong. The sale on the Grocery Game had it listed as a multi-pack of (ahem) that was usually $9.00 being on sale for $6.00 and earning $3.00 in ECBs. This makes it $3.00 for $9.00 worth of (ahem). I picked up the $9.00 multi-pack, assured by a store clerk that my list of sales was good and I should pay no attention to the price on the shelf. However, it rang up $9.00 with no ECBs.

My track record wasn't impressing my cashier, so he decided to go and look at the shelf himself. He looked as nervous as I felt at this point and stopped about 10 feet away from me to shout,"Where exactly do I find these?" while waving the (ahem) high in the air.

I scrunched my eyes shut and pointed in the general direction he should walk, while shaking my head in shame.

"Why don't you just show me where you got these?" he yelled while walking backwards toward the general direction I pointed.

"No. I don't think so. You go ahead." I was frozen! "They're under the giant sign that says "FEMININE PRODUCTS!" I hollered.

They finally credited my bill, not because they found the right sale price but because we all just wanted it over. Yes, WE ALL. By the time it was over, I required two cashiers and one manager to see me through it. It took forever to finish. I was at the counter for a good 20 minutes. NOT worth it that particular trip, though I did save around $20.00. But you couldn't pay me $20.00 to relive the experience.

I chuckled as he handed me my refund. "You asked if I had a plan and I told you I did. I failed to mention that my plan was to terrorize a cashier." He was so happy to see me go.

I will attempt this coupon thing again. I am determined to figure this system out. It will take a cooler head than what I had last time though. Anyone want to hold my hand?



16 comments:

wedogmomma said...

LOL...I'm not even sure we're in the same state...but this couponing thing has hit epidemic proportions over here in CA!
I've attended a seminar...and purchased my coupon binder...but then our son's ordeal began so I never quite jumped in.
Mostly because I KNEW I couldn't do what you just did with a child in a body cast and other restless ones to worry about.
But kudos to you for pressing on!
It's a stewardship thing right? Not just a want to, but a should....right? Right. Atleast that is what I'll tell myself to get through it ;)

Christy said...

I AM RIGHT THERE WITH YOU!!!

I just started the grocery game (again) after a failed attempt last year. I did okay, but it took forever for me to organize everything, check out at the store, answer the fifty million questions from the cashiers and then the GLARES from the other people as I shuffled through my fifty million coupons. I did save almost 50 at Walgreens and cut my bill in half at Kroger. I keep thinking we will get better and better!

Nezzy said...

I coupon when I purchase groceries and supplies. The most I've ever saved is around 17.00. I'm amazed at these TV women who buy 350.oo worth of goods for 25.00. I sure haven't come close to anything like that.

Have a great day, love ya!!!

Jenn said...

ROFLOL!!!!!!!!!! I can instantly see a picture of Merrick in a body cast.....leaning against the counter like a prop for my exhibition. lol. No, not a good time. I'm trying to figure this coupon binder thing out. Can you share a picture? I'm with Christy - this shuffling business makes me a nervous wreck!

Sara said...

Ok, first, breathe. I am a crazy couponer. I started with the grocery game when I first started, but don't use it anymore. There are tons of coupon bloggers that tell you the deals and make a game plan for your cvs trip for you....for free! No need to pay for the grocery game. Feel free to email me questions and check out the coupon links on my sidebar. Once you get the hang of it, you'll never go back!

Ginger@chirgies said...

Cardigans make you old???? :)
Guess I'm old too. :)

Jenn, I feel your pain - I get so nervous using coupons too - seriously pitting out sweaty. Oh your story had me in tears.

You are one brave chicka - keep it up, you can do it!

Daisy said...

This is hysterical and exactly WHY I don't do coupons. Just isn't worth it to me.

Wedogmomma is right though. Couponing is insane right now in CA.

Andrea said...

Ok, I don't get how people save so much money with coupons. I have used them here and there, but I've never actually been PAID to take the stuff, if you know what I mean.

I guess I don't know how to do it right. And where around here is a CVS?

I would love to save money, but it seems like the only way I've figured how to is by going to discount grocery stores - which you have to watch, because not everything there is the best deal... and you have to watch dates.

Shanna said...

SO, so funny! I keep reading and reading about couponing, but can't seem to break down and actually do it. It's not just frightening... it's overwhelming!

Michelle said...

Oh Goodness - this is my first tiem visiting your blog but you seriously made me LOL today, and so I shall definitely be back!

(And I am awful at couponing, too!)

Blessings,
Michelle

Anonymous said...

You go girl! I was wondering how you did. I'll hold your hand .... actually .... why don't YOU show me how to do it ... we'll hold each other's hand. Sending a link to Tabby, she needs to see the end result of her pep talk! LOL (Nancy)

Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package said...

That's one great story! You can do this! This main key for me at the actual store is to have my coupons paper clipped and ready to go BEFORE I ever reach the cashier. And yes, it does get much easier the longer you are doing it. I've never used grocery game, I just found great blogs, then when my area was never well represented, I started my own!;) E-mail me anytime, I'll hold your hand!

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Michael McMullen said...

"I mean, um, do you have a plan or somethin?"

What he was asking was "do you have a plan to escape once this all goes wrong".

mama4x said...

WOW. I was so entertained by your agony. I have attempted the CVS thing once or twice. If I don't go on a Sunday morning they are out of all the sale items. Def. find one of the CVS coupon bloggers and do what they say. And edit this post to tell us the final tally! You left me hanging! First time reader- thanks!!

Jessica said...

i posted a picture on my blog especially for you. :)

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