Jewish World Review March 11, 2005 / 30 Adar I, 5765
Discount cards make you feel 50 percent off
I misplaced my key ring last week and was worried sick. Forget
about the keys to the house and the car; I was worried about losing all my
little shopper discount cards.
I have more shopper discount cards than Quaker has oats.
All types of businesses offer shopper cards these days: grocery stores,
drug stores, card stores, office supply stores, even gas stations. Any day,
I expect the feds to join in: "Swipe your Happy Taxpayer Card and receive a
free back massage with your next audit."
Whatever happened to businesses giving customers the advertised sale prices
without making them first swipe cards and say, "Mother may I?"
At the drug store, I picked up two bottles of cough syrup and a pack of
capsules guaranteed to shrivel my nasal passages. The clerk swiped my card
and said it was generating a coupon good for three dollars off my next
purchase of cold and flu remedies.
That's almost as pitiful as the poor bloke at the grocery who doesn't have
a discount card. Enduring the heat of the cashier's glare, and totally at
the mercy of strangers, he stalls for time and pats his pockets. Finally,
someone behind him tosses forward a card and yells, "Use mine!"
A cheer goes up in the 12-items-or-less line.
A shopper card at the grocery store is a big money saver, but the eye-hand
coordination it requires can be daunting. I've always envied those smooth
shoppers, the ones that produce a shopper card, write a check, and grab the
receipt all in one fell swoop. Personally, I've never been able to pull it
I have my card in hand one moment and can't find it the next. The clerk
shoots one of those annoyed looks while I again fan through all the cards
on my key ring. I finally find the appropriate card, hand it to the clerk
who swipes it, then returns it to me as I knock my checkbook to the floor.
I retrieve the checkbook from beneath the cart and, in my hurry to return
to an upright position, crack the back of my head on the little shelf where
I was writing a check.
You wouldn't believe how testy some cashiers get just because you leave a
little blood in their shopping lane.
The paperwork required for saving money at the mall is beginning to rival
the irritation quotient of the shopper cards. My personal favorite is the
department store coupon that gives you 15 percent off Wednesday through
Saturday, another 15 percent if you use your store credit card, and an
additional 15 percent off if you can hold two shopping bags, sign your name
on the little electronic screen and stand on one foot all at the same time.
At least once a week the mail delivers an oversized coupon for 20 percent
off at a household goods store. I must have 30 of the coupons stashed in a
letter holder by the microwave. These are cool coupons because no matter
what the expiration date is, the store honors them. Last week I bought two
shower gifts and a wedding gift. Did I use the coupons? Of course not. They
were at home by the microwave.
So many cards and coupons, so little savings.
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