Thursday, October 6, 2011

Signs of The Times

I'm observant.  I notice people.  What they are wearing, their hair, their overall appearance of health.  I tend to spontaneously make diagnoses as I'm out and about based on skin tone, fingernail health and the shape of their hands and chest...The list goes on.  I like to watch people and see how they act, and wonder what they are doing, where they are from and what sort of lives they lead.  I like to try and guess if the mom stays home or if the grandma is raising her grandkids, or if that dad who is buying groceries with kids in tow is going to get home with any real food...

Like I said, I'm observant.

Except when I'm not observant, and then I'm just narcissistic and wrapped up in myself.

I'm sure that is an astounding revelation as I write a blog that is all about me.  Clearly, any narcissism I have is minimal...

I went grocery shopping on Saturday evening, and while I had not planned to coupon (and believe me if you're using "coupon" as a verb it takes extensive planning) my husband had suggested I run to Crest for all but the toiletries we were in need of.

As I walked into the store I saw an in-store coupon sheet that had a giant sign on it "One flyer per customer and one coupon per item listed per day."  I chuckled at the sign, remembering a lady who walked right in front of me at Homeland the other day and took every single in store coupon flyer.  And she didn't even let me have one!  I just stood their and stared with my jaw on the ground.  In hindsight, I wish I had said, "Seriously lady?"  However, Crest has a lovely greeter who hands you a cart and stands right by the coupon bin, so I doubt they have that issue.

I happily picked up the flyer and perused it.  It looked to have some pretty good deals, but until I saw the price of the product I was unsure.  I also was unsure if I could stack the coupons in the flyer with manufacturer coupons, so again I was skeptical on it's worthiness, but decided to compare as I shopped.  I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the coupons were usually on two items, but if you used the coupon, your second item would be free.  For example Kraft singles were two dollars and the coupon was for two dollars off two packages of Kraft singles.

I joyfully pulled my handy dandy scissors out of my coupon organizer and clipped out the coupons I decided to use as I bought my originally planned items.

As I clipped my coupons I could not help but notice the number of people who were buying the exact item I was, but not using a coupon.  I felt compelled to point the coupon flyer out to them.  A few of the said "thanks" but others felt coupons were too much work.  Even if the flyer was right in front of them and the item was on sale! 

I also noticed the large number of families carrying multiple competitor store flyers around, deciding which store had the best price and whether they should wait and go to Homeland in the hopes that they could get some good double coupon deals, or debating if Walmarts chicken breast would be cheaper after the coupon was factored in.  Granted, I'm fairly new to couponing, but I promise the amount of people with plastic shoe boxes and binders full of coupons is astounding.  Take a gaze around next time you are in the store.  You might be surprised.

 If you are ever in the downtown area the other thing you might be surprised to notice is the alarming amount of homeless.  I drive under the interstate on my way to work in the downtown area every day.  As I am driving, the homeless are starting to get up from their beds under the bridge.  They each have their own little space between the bridge beams, and they are usually getting up and stretching or straightening their beds as I am stopped waiting on lights.  There is also an empty lot just north of the underpass, and the other day I noticed a man standing up in the Johnson grass and diligently combing his hair.  Another day I saw a man and woman walking with their arms around each other as they left the little underpass community.

As I mentioned yesterday I went to a resale shop and grabbed some clothes for the girls.  Two of the shirts I bought were from Old Navy and still had the tags on them, but I only paid $2.99 for them.  I even noticed some jeans from The Buckle with the tag still on them.  They were $8.99, and way too big for my girls.  I didn't buy them as I have no desire to store jeans for two years in the hopes that the super skinny jean will still be in style when one of my kids can fit them.

Today as we left gymnastics Popcorn begged me to take her to eat Chinese.  I was resisting her, saying that her father and I had already discussed tonight would be leftover night, and she could have a sandwich or hot pocket or burrito if she didn't want leftover lasagna...My husband called and suggested that next week we start swapping off who takes Popcorn to gymnastics and make Thursday a little date night with the kids.  I decided to make the plan effective immediately, and I wheeled into a little Chinese place in a nearby shopping strip.  I had skipped lunch at work, and though I'd stuffed my face with cookies, a handful of goldfish left from my daughter's lunch and a few almonds when I got home, it did not satisfy my hunger. Skipping lunch tends to do that to me.

As we left the shopping strip I noticed that there were sprinklers going in all of the flower beds.  The wind is blowing 25 miles per hour and the water was running down the driveway.  I find that shameful when we are in a drought that is showing no signs of any significant relief.

So, I really had nothing to say.  Just lots of observations. 

People are desperate to save money, while others can't even be bothered to take advantage of a deal when it is easily within their grasp.

There is a serious drought going on, and I can't help but shake my head at the folks who have maintained immaculately green lawns.

Some are selling clothes on consignment that have never been worn, while just twenty minutes away others have built themselves a little village under the bridge in downtown.

P.S.  On a totally unrelated/irreverent note:  Every time I type in couponing, blogger spell check suggests coupling...


Emily Sue said...

My random observations in reply (which are mostly about cultural differences):

1. Stop blogging about coupons! We don't have them here and you're making me jealous!! :D

2. I kid you not, I gasped when you mentioned the words 'sprinkler' and 'drought' in the same paragraph. We've been in drought here for ten years, and on ever-increasing water restrictions for most of those. We haven't been allowed to use sprinklers for YEARS, and we're still not allowed to drinking water on lawns. You can use grey water or tank water if you want. When we were on Stage 3a restrictions (dams were down to 30%) we could only hand-water gardens between 6-8am on two mornings per week, and could use automatic dripper systems on those days between midnight-2am. No car washing, except bucket washing windows, lights & mirrors. We're back to Stage 2 now (dams up to 63%) which is a lot less restrictive, but still... sprinklers. Wow.

3. Resale shops are, I assume, the same as what we'd call an op shop ('opportunity shop') - second hand/recycled goods or factory seconds? LOVE op-shopping. I hardly ever buy new clothes. And I once found a breadmaker for $17 (as opposed to $150 new). Score!

Paula said...

Yea for date nights.

Couponing...I can't find people that do it here unless they pay for the diaper and baby stuff site. I don't need diapers or baby stuff. I like the idea of couponing though.

Dawn said...

We have some extreme couponers cleaning out the toothpaste and febreze at Walmart. Really??? You could possibly need 20 tubes of toothpaste and that many bottles of Febreze????? So on the other end of not using coupons, there are the ones who are abusing the system. "shakes head." I wish we could actually get good deals with coupons. I do try to save money using them and sometimes it works out but mostly I can still buy cheaper off brand items. I'm kinda sorry to say that our lawn is green. I'm glad I don't have to see the homeless on the way to work. I possibly see them at work but am ignorant to the fact.

Marilyn said...

I don't coupon like I should. I give them to my daughter when I see her. I love resale and real bargains in the clothing stores. I never pay full price and go the the back of the store first. I love it when you get something from the 75% off rack and the coupon for the day was 50 off your purchase. Cheap, Cheap!!! I think it is wasteful to pay full price. I like the game.