Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Great Coupon Mishap on Super Bowl Sunday

This post first appeared on a previous blog in 2012.

This should be a simple transaction. We have a $5 store coupon that says we can get free merchandise worth that amount. Off we go to the check-out counter with half-percent milk and low-dose aspirin, items totally worth the coupons-can-go-wrong risk and good for us too. No one else is in the check-out line, which is manned by the only cashier in sight. We are good to go; grown-ups can do this.

But, oh no, the coupon does not clear the system. And the cashier does not know why, but she's thinking about it. I have a bad feeling about this. As I notice an unsuspecting man getting in line behind us, I take a step back from the potentially sticky situation. I don't like sticky situations. I prefer to leave my husband hanging out there alone with them. He is used to this.

The cashier calls for help as yet another person gets in line. Now I am nonchalantly looking at magazines, trying not to be part of this scenario. But then I hear the cashier explain that the coupon cannot be used with dairy. Ah, the milk is the problem. But we need milk. Is there anything else we would like to buy? Well, I had been eyeing some chips on sale—you know, for the Super Bowl game I would not be watching. Off I go to get them in record time (and about which I will later repent).

But, no, the coupon still does not clear. The total worth of the merchandise only comes to $4.99 because the aspirin is on sale. Yes, we are a penny short. A human cashier may have let this one go. But the electronic register will not. Did we want to buy something else? Four people are now lined up behind us, including a mean-looking toddler, and no additional cashier help has arrived.

I spring into action again! "I'll go get some Junior Mints for you," I say to my husband, figuring he, too, should have some sort of snack for the Super Bowl he is not going to watch and for which he can later repent. I do not want to give him a choice in the matter as I start to imagine the still-longer line of people becoming an angry mob armed with merchandise of their own. 

With the addition of the candy, the coupon finally clears. And that is how we spend $3+ for $5 worth of free merchandise instead of asking for a do-over because of a lone cashier, a long line of customers, and a menacing toddler. Crazy. Why, for over $3 I could buy a very nice sympathy card for one of those 2012 Super Bowl teams I won't be watching.

2015 note: So I had to look it up, but apparently the New York Giants won the 2012 Super Bowl. Now I know. What are you doing on Super Bowl Sunday?

*Football Ball by Piotr Siedlecki

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