I have a problem. My urge to use coupons is so strong I can hardly go into any store without them. This makes spontaneous shopping almost impossible for me. But on the bright side it saves our family a decent amount of money.
A few months ago, I took the kids to the outdoor mall armed with a 20% off coupon to Carter's. Silas and Mash were low on pajamas so I was going to grab a few pairs then let the kids get some energy out at the play ground. I pushed the stroller out of the sweltering heat and into the cool oasis of Carter's.
To my pleasant surprise there were about 8 round racks in the back of the store full of pajamas and clothes marked 70% off. Most of the items were around $18.00 to start with so I started doing the math. Let's see, if they are 70% off then I can just figure 90% off since I have the 20% off coupon. Wait let me make sure the coupon will work on the sale items. I ask the lady. Yes they sure do! Ok back to the math. I guess that would mean I just pay 10%. Wait that makes these things $1.80. Holy Cow. A 4-piece pajama set for $1.80! Endless 2-piece girl and boy outfits for $1.80! Is this really happening?
Kids, go makes yourselves at home. Mama's got some shopping to do!
I set Mash on the floor to crawl around on the carpet (she still wasn't walking at the time) and I started loading up the stroller like I was on Supermarket Sweep. My mission engrossed me. I was thinking of upcoming birthdays, holidays, and the seasons in the coming years my kids would need clothes for. The stroller grew taller and heavier by the minute.
Mash and Silas also ventured further and further away by the minute. I heard the ladies working the cash registers telling Silas to come back in the store a few times. And I heard a few exclamations of surprise when women would comb through the clothes on the rack and notice a baby sitting on the floor in the middle of the clothes rack smiling up at them. They would look for a mother nearby but there were none to be found. Then there were times when Mash attempted to climb in other strollers to play with the baby inside. This went on for a long time. I chuckled to myself at everyone's shock from my children's behavior but I also felt hesitation, thinking I should stop shopping and tend to my children. But then I pounded my chest with my fist and told myself You have to do this Angie. You don't have a choice. $1.80 is a once in a lifetime opportunity!
After almost an hour had passed I was starting to lose track of what I had stacked in the mountain of clothes on the stroller. The kids were starting to get irritable. Their free reign of Carter's inspired them to relieve their bowels (in the worst way) and the smell was starting to fill the store. And worst of all, my blood sugar was getting low. But I ignored my shakes and the smell and shooed away the kids and pressed on a little longer.
When I started to realize that this was going to be a quite expensive total, I looked around and decided I had gotten my fill of the bargain. Man this is awesome. Let's go check out and see what an amazing deal I got on all these clothes. I stood in line and counted about 50 items. My total should be about $97. That hurts a little but it's the right decision.
The lady scanned all of my clothes while the kids cried around my feet. Silas made known his hunger, thirst, and dirty diaper to the world (not that the last one was any mystery). Mash made general pathetic cries and tried to climb up my legs, pulling my pants down in the process.
Ok ma'am, your total is $239. Ummm, that can't be right. Did my coupon work? Yes ma'am it did. I thought my total would be $97. How much was each item? Let's see, it looks like they are all a little under $5. But they were supposed to be 90% off. Something's wrong here.
Then she dealt the blow. The 20% is taken off the total after the 70%. I took a deep breath. It wasn't a pleasant one either. Although $5 was still a decent bargain for clothes, it didn't justify my mountain. I knew I had to put most of the clothes back. The kids screamed and pleaded for a change of scenery that included food and clean diapers as I sorted through and found a few pairs of pajamas to buy. I paid my $15, put the kids in the now empty stroller and headed out to find a bathroom to clean them.
Afterward we sat at a picnic table and ate our sandwiches I brought from home. Did I mention I'm a cheapskate? The kids were happy and I smiled as I watched them eat. I decided to make it up to them, the whole hour of neglect and irritability they just endured, by stopping at the Tollhouse Cookie store on the way to the playground. That's right kids, when we feel upset we soothe ourselves with food.
At the playground (sorry this story is never ending) a sweet mom saw how profusely I was sweating and gave me a spare rubberband out of her diaper bag for me to put my hair up with. The germophobe in me really didn't want to use it but she just stared at me waiting. So I put my hair up and was thankful for the breeze on my neck. Then about 5 minutes later her daughter came running out of the train SCREAMING and bawling saying someone punched her in the face. We were all very alarmed as the mom consoled her. She asked her daughter who did it. Her daughter took her by the hand and led her to the culprit. Hmm looks like they're walking toward Silas. Wait she's pointing at Silas (bawling and clinging to her mom). I jumped up and asked Silas if he hit the girl. He said yes, she wouldn't share the steering wheel whiff me! The mom gave me the dirtiest look, as if I encouraged Silas to hit her daughter. While I was informing Silas of what was going to happen later I noticed the mom was still scowling at me. It really was an awkwardly long dirty look. I had Silas in my lap and didn't know what to say so I just offered back her rubberband. She said, No you can keep it! Come on we're leaving! And with that unfortunate incident, we ended our trip to the mall.
Silas got his spanking from Daddy that night and learned his lesson about hitting people, especially girls.
But the real moral of this story is about coupons. Remember that your coupon is taken off the second total, not added to the initial discount. Thank you and goodnight.