We’re planning on going to the supermarket for our weekly run, but my husband’s on the computer, where he can be for long periods of time.  So, I busy myself watering plants, unloading the dishwasher, doing anything to fill up the time until he’s ready to go.  This goes on for some time until suddenly…he’s off!  “Let’s go,” he calls, as if I were the one keeping him waiting.

Why does it always seem as if you can never do things fast enough?

…Like, putting your card in the credit card reader at the store.  The little screen says, “Don’t remove your card…don’t remove your card…don’t remove your card….” And all the time I’m staring at the screen, my hand on the card, readying, readying myself to pull it out, when suddenly, “BONG! BONG! BONG!  REMOVE YOUR CARD!!!!”   As if I were the one keeping it waiting.

So, then, about coupons.  It’s unusual for me to actually remember to bring coupons, but today I have.  I got a multi-week coupon in the mail that gives me both $5 off my purchase AND some product free.  It changes each week.  Last week it was for a sack of russet potatoes, but I had it in my purse and forgot to give it to the cashier.  This week, I’ve got two coupons in my sweaty little hand, but it turns out they expired…yesterday.

Whatever. It’s on to CVS, which has been barraging me with coupons online and in the mail, though all with the caveat that the product not be on sale.  Well, okay, that seems fair, except that CVS uses the insidious strategy of tagging 90% of the items in the store with “Buy 2 get 1 free,” something almost no one does, but that manages to exclude almost everything.

So, I go up to the counter with my CVS card.  Now, normally, I find that either the coupon I got online and sent to the card has mysteriously dropped off, or it’s expired.  This time neither of these things has occurred.  But all the items I want to buy are excluded.

Honestly, I should know better: I used to be in retail. It’s all about motivating people to come into the store.   Hurry up before the coupon expires!  Buy 3 even if you want 1! Get it before we sell out!   I remember my boss, the Tacoma Bon Marche store manager, telling me that advertising was to create the illusion of a need where there wasn’t any need at all….

Anyway, my purchase finally goes through, with the cash register spewing out reams and reams of new coupons, mostly for products that I’ve just bought and, therefore, won’t be buying again for some time.   Unfortunately, all the coupons have an expiration date of next week.