To be a coupon user or not to be a coupon user? That is the question.
It’s become incredibly stylish, you know. To use coupons. There were even reality television shows dedicated to the art, not that that makes it relevant to life in the twenty-first century. After all, there are television shows dedicated to the Kardashians. And to “real” housewives who have never used the two words “scrub” and “brush” in the same sentence. Oh sure, they have been heard to ask someone to “scrub” them with their loofah or to “brush” their annoying little yappy dogs. Some of those dogs look like loofahs but I think I am getting off point here.
To a person who does not use coupons, being in line behind one is an exercise in frustration. You might want to avoid it. A really serious couponer will be organized on a level with the U.S. military industrial complex. They will have folders full of coupons cross-referenced with their shopping lists. They will also have a cart (or two) heaped with dozens of items, many in duplicate, for none of which they have any intention of paying full price.
These are tough economic times. As someone who owns a copper mine would remind us, a penny saved is a little bit of raw ore he gets to sell to the federal government. Actually, and this has to be true because read it on the Internet, pennies are made of about ninety-seven per cent zinc. A penny also costs 2.4 cents to make, which pretty much explains the fix we’re in, economics-wise.
Aside from the part about being behind them in line, you sort of have to admire the folks who devote so much time to the redemption business (coupons, not souls). There are dotted lines to cut around, rebates to mail in, forms to fill out, and don’t forget…they have to build an extra room on the back of their house to store the two cases of Doritos they just bought. (This is a little journalistic hyperbole, of course. At our house, two cases of Doritos last about one weekend, depending on which football games are televised.)
Not having the time nor the patience nor the passion for full-time coupon clipping, I am what might be considered as semi-pro. If a coupon happens to fall into my lap and if it is for something I would buy anyway, I’ll use it.
But right here arises the two major problems with using a coupon. The first one is, you have to have a good enough memory to remember to take the coupons to the grocery store with you. The second one is, well, I forget what the second one is. I have tried putting the coupons with my ecologically friendly re-usable cloth shopping bags but most of the time I forget to take those to the grocery store, too.
A real couponer could tell at a glance I am not in her league. I keep the coupons wadded together and stuck to the refrigerator with a big magnet. There is no file folder and no organization, unless you are even lower-tech than I am and consider paper clips on the cutting edge of information retrieval science.
A friend of mine won’t use coupons because of the bar code on the back. She knows the data gathered when you use a coupon is stored in a giant computer somewhere and is used by the merchant to track patrons’ buying habits. We don’t have many secrets at our house and among the things about us that aren’t secrets are what type of salad dressing we use (Ken’s Steak House) and how often we buy ice cream (almost hourly) which pretty much explains the fix we’re in, diet-wise.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Sidney Daily News, Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.