nothing about this song is okay.
Today's couponing post was supposed to be about the concept of overage. Have you ever seen a feature on the local news when they follow a crazy coupon lady around the grocery store and she buys an entire cartful of groceries for like .98? These women are not magical. They are just exploiting opportunities to create coupon overage, ie having coupons for an item that exceed the actual value of the item, thereby actually paying you to take the item. If played correctly, you can use coupon overage to pay for basically the rest of your grocery bill.
I usually don't exploit coupon overage to the fullest extent, because that usually requires loading your cart up with tons of stuff you don't need like diabetes glucose meters and Ensure and unflavored gelatin and stuff. But right now there's an awesome overage at Publix I thought I'd get in on--bottles of Vitamin D for free plus $1.50 overage. Do I need 4 bottles of Vitamin D? Absolutely not. Does my Vitamin-D deficient colleague? Yes. So I feel okay about this particular overage situation.
Just like always, I planned my shopping trip meticulously. I organized all of my coupons and made my way through the store deliberately. Vitamin D, check. Strawberries and pound cake for the Ladies Party tonight, check. Sour cream, check. I made it up to the checkout with my dozen or so items, and upon seeing my stack of coupons the cashier sighed exasperatedly. He made a big show out of combing through all of the coupons and reading the fine print, moving slowly like he had giant weights tied to his arms. The person behind me in line started to tap his foot; the cashier excruciatingly picked through each coupon and scanned them one by one.
We got down to the end and I noticed one of the coupons hadn't scanned. "I hate to be like this," I ventured, "but that strawberry coupon didn't scan." The cashier looked at me like you have got to be f%&*ing kidding me and wordlessly slouched over to customer service to get the manager. "Oh, GREAT," barked the guy behind me. I could feel the redness starting to creep up my chest and into my face. The manager made her way over and pushed the coupon through. "Have a GREAT DAY!" called the cashier to me as I walked away, sarcasm dripping.
I HATE when this happens. I hate being made to feel like I'm doing something wrong just for using coupons completely within the coupon policy. I just tried to keep the blush out of my face and ignore the irritation of the people behind me in line. I mean, after all, I'm getting nearly $40 worth of groceries for less than $2 plus tax...
click the picture to see it bigger
...Wait. Something was not right. I had calculated my shopping pretty carefully and was planning to have at least $3 or $4 dollars to pay before taxes. When I got to my car, I combed back through my receipt and realized that I had completely forgotten to actually put the 4 bags of frozen broccoli in my cart, despite having given the cashier about $4 worth of coupons for them. WHOOPS. Just goes to show that the irritated cashier was just going slowly to give me a hard time--if he had actually been READING them he might have noticed that I had 6 coupons for frozen vegetables but no actual frozen vegetables.
This was my reaction:
And then I was off to Kroger. I usually head over to Kroger after my weekly pillaging of the sale items at Publix, because a girl's still gotta pick up milk and bread and chicken breasts and mushrooms and whatever. I was planning to fix Sarah's Cucina Bella's lighter chicken enchiladas recipe with the chicken leftover from fixing Naked in the Stacks' balsalmic chicken penne (next post: quidquid tries her hand at these two recipes), but since I was a little low on chicken I was planning to augment the recipe with some of the mushrooms Kroger had on sale for $1.50/carton.
When I got to Kroger, still a little red-faced over the Publix incident, I found that, Venuses and Cupids lament, they were out of the sale mushrooms. Oh hell naw.
I decided that, as long as I was treading outside of my comfort zone to learn about coupon overage, I might as well keep embarrassing myself. Following a tip I once read on Southern Savers, I grabbed a carton of the more expensive portobello mushrooms, marched over to Customer Service, and asked the manager if I could have them at the sale price. Done. Voila. Say what you will about the Murder Kroger, but I love shopping there.
best Kroger EVER
FINALLY, I went to CVS and snagged a toothbrush and my favorite lip balm for free. I have not yet posted to explain the magic of Extra Care Bucks, but in the mean time Jenny can explain.
WHEW. What a trying week for couponing. Thank goodness for the promise of Ladies Party tonight--I can't wait to decimate that cheapass Strawberry Shortcake with a bunch of brilliant drunk women.
Question of the day:
Have you ever felt like a tool when you used a coupon?
PS: if you want Publix to pay you to buy vitamins, check out this post on Southern Savers. Just look for the Sundown Naturals vitamins entry. Comment here if you're confused.