Deep Discounts


coupon box



            “That will be $27.49. Do you have any coupons?”


           Let’s be honest. Coupons are a female thing and they are one of the three main things that men simply don’t care about. In case you were wondering, I have provided a handy list of these things below:

           1)             Men don’t care about the royal family, the royal couple, the royal baby, the royal sister, the royal hairstyle, the royal pre and post baby bump, the royal grandmother, which royal is next in line for the royal crown or anything at all royal.

           2)             Men don’t care about chocolate. Sure, we like chocolate, but no man in the history of time has ever said, “ G-A-W-D I’m absolutely dying for some chocolate!”

           3)             Men don’t clip coupons. Ever.

           Men simply don’t care about coupons. Men, by default of the grand design, are hagglers, not coupon clippers. Coupons remove the haggling, which is the true sport of men everywhere, and reduce it to a tiny little slip of paper that needs to be researched and clipped and saved. There is no spontaneity in coupons and no challenge. Just “here’s my coupon,” and they deduct fifteen cents from your can of lentil soup.

            I dislike coupons for several reasons that extend beyond the inconvenience of cutting and saving the damn things. For me—and maybe this is a just a guy thing—they don’t make any sense. Why not just lower the cost of the lentil soup for everybody? Why do just the special people get a discount? If I cash out and discover that something is on sale but I’ve been denied the sale price because I didn’t spend all day Sunday searching through the newspaper for the right coupon, I’m going to be a little peeved. That being the case, I say let’s negotiate.

            “I’ll give you a quarter for that can of soup,” I’d say.

            The cashier would then act surprised, as if they didn’t start this whole haggling thing in the first place.

            “Um … I can’t do that. Do you have a coupon?”

            “No. No coupon,” I’d reply. “Coupons aren’t fair to people who have better things to do with their day than to sort through coupons to save fifteen cents on soup.”

            “Do you have one of our Super Saver Bonus Point Loyalty Program Reward Price Chopper Membership Perks Cards? They’re free.”

            “I don’t know. Maybe. Here are my keys. Scan away,” I’d say. “Meanwhile the offer still stands. Let’s save everybody the hassle of scanning tags and coupons. Twenty-five cents. Soup. Let’s do this.”

           This idea of keyring discounts was, at one point, new for me. I got sucked into that rabbit hole when my wife began telling me how she saved such and such an amount just for having one of these loyalty tags. My opinion heretofore was always simple: I’m shopping here so I think that’s pretty darned loyal in and of itself. I could have shopped anywhere. Why do I need to prove that I’m even more loyal? What more can I give of myself, m’lord, to pledge my allegiance? My first yield of crops? My daughter’s dowry for your son?

           So when they would ask me if I had their bonus card and if I didn’t, did I want one, I began to say,  “Of course I want one. Why would I not want some sort of discount?” At the time, this made more sense to me than clipping coupons and it seemed slightly less bothersome. I could not have been more wrong.

            It got way out of hand as my keychain grew in size and weight. I eventually had no more room to spare on my keychain for another discount lappet. I had a keychain library card, a keychain Wegman’s card, a keychain Tops card, one from GNC, one from Dick’s Sporting Goods, and several that I couldn’t even read anymore. I now loyalcardsneeded a carabineer that clipped on my belt loop because my keyring was too big to fit in my pants pocket. My keyring had grown so large that I walked with a list to my port side, like Pappy the old western jailer. With a good strong wind, I sounded like a kid with baseball cards in his bike spokes.

            When James Bond fired up his Aston Martin, did his key fob have a dozen keys and a bunch of plastic tags dangling off of it? No it did not. One key, one sterling silver key fob and off he went. I wanted that life. I wanted a life that didn’t care about bonus points or Lucky Tuesday or whatever nonsensical thing these useless tabs were supposed to provide. What I really wanted to say the next time somebody asked me if I wanted their little bonus flap was, “Do I look like I give a damn about a bonus card?” I would say this dryly, like 007, and of course the cashier would glance at my keyring and swoon over its emptiness—holding but one key on a sterling silver key fob and a promising life of adventure and mystery.

            I’ve since stripped every one of those pointless things off my keyring and reduced my shopping to the bare minimum, but sometimes it’s necessary and that’s when the frustration continues.

            I’ve been stuck in line behind one of those super couponers with the shoebox full of coupons, half of which are expired and won’t scan, while they try to move a shopping cart which is so heavy, it needs another axle to make it out to the car. The cart always holds a kid of some indeterminate age who is often too big to be in a shopping cart. I reason that he is only there for ballast. Nine times out of ten, he is eating something from the bakery department with both hands.

           This stagecoach of products holds the typical coupon fodder of sugary breakfast cereals, paper goods, soap and canned goods, all carefully chosen to comply with whatever double-coupon, triple-coupon, we match their coupon offer that has been dangled out on a pole. There never seems to be any coupons for produce or meat or the raw ingredients for something healthful, but if there is ever a global shortage of Fruity Pebbles, I know who has a pallet of them.

           Once all of this shopping cart fodder and the coordinating coupons have been scanned, I know what’s coming next. The checkbook. I will also bet anything that the person has no functional pen, that they have no idea what the date is and that they can’t find their expired driver’s license. Meanwhile, the chunky kid in the cart has now elevated his whining to DEFCON 39, causing every window in the store to rattle and the Mylar balloons tied to the magazine racks to explode.

           Enough already.Network12

           How about putting up a “no coupons, no checks, no tags, no cards, this is truly an express line and we mean it” line for those of us who just want to present our goods, pay for them quietly and get on with our lives? We’d love to breeze in and out and not get stuck behind the coupon queen or the guy who asks everybody in line around him if he can borrow their loyalty card or the guy who counts out his tender in dimes. Is this what shopping has become? Making normal people crazy?

            We used to get a flyer in the mail from a company called Red Plum that was filled with coupons. At least I think it was. This flyer is printed on the slipperiest paper known to exist and the instant it was removed from the mailbox, it unfurled and blew all over the neighborhood. It was like trying to grab a wet fish out of the mouth of another wet fish. There was no way humanly possible to grip this thing, yet week after week it came in the mail. “Get cheap checks! The perfect pair of indestructible elastic waist pants! Two cans of Progresso soup, fifteen cents off! Princess Diana Memorial Dishes!” I was finally able to grab the page that had the opt-out address, so I wrote them an e-mail.

            Dear Red Plum,

           Kindly stop sending me your slippery coupon thing. I have actually never read through it as it flies out of my hand as if it has wings, but I don’t clip coupons, I don’t care about coupons but if I ever need a personalized rubber stamp, I’ll give you a call.

          Sincerely yours,


          Several weeks later, I stopped getting their flyer. I was as happy as happy could be; almost as happy as the day I yanked all of those tags off my keyring, cleaned out my wallet and made the following decision:

          I will not be beholden to coupons, cards or tags. If something is priced fairly or is on sale and I need it, I’ll buy it. If not, then I won’t.

          I will no longer shop with merchants who discriminate against non-couponers by making them pay higher prices, but who will reward my patronage by offering fair prices without any strings attached. I’m not playing the modern retail coupon game anymore.

          With very few exceptions, this new policy has been great and I highly recommend it to everyone.




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