Shopping With Coupons…an American Addiction

Newspapers are on life support. They’d die without coupon-saving inserts. Who wants to read the news anyway? No, we’re Americans. We shop. Here’s my experience with coupons.

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It’s Saturday morning. It’s raining. Rain begets boredom. Boredom begets the urge to shop. My wife’s reading the coupon inserts…savings galore. I know what she’s thinking. I’ve seen the look before. My wallet has felt it! She needs a savings ‘fix.’

She flips a few my way.  “Look at these savings,” she says. I check them out. Not much a man would want.  Men only shop coupons for tools, trucks, guns and all things camo. I spot a bargain on a box of tools, but buying more tools necessitates cleaning out a place in the garage. Plus, I might be forced to actually use them.  I quickly move on.

Mostly there’s stuff a normal person wouldn’t put in their house, on their body or in their mouth.  Which accounts for why there are coupon discounts. But who can argue the point: when it comes to shopping for discounts, women are not normal creatures.

Women perfected the notion of ‘spend more, save more.’ They’re experts, especially when it comes to jewelry and clothing mark-downs from Neiman Marcus catalogues. Maybe it explains why more women are being elected to Congress, especially from California.

 What man has not heard, “Honey, look how much money I saved you today.  It was on sale, marked down from $1,999.99 to $99.99.” Such words drive men to golf for refuge.

A man can’t comprehend such a windfall in savings. His body goes limp, his eyes roll back and he speaks incoherently.  I’m sure he thinks, “Goodbye season football tickets,” or something along these lines.

So many coupons. The one for Rogaine is smaller than a dime. Rogaine’s market share diminishes by the minute compared to Nair, whose motto is ‘No hair left behind.’  Head hair is out, which is evident by the Mr. Clean coupon juxtapositioned next to Rogaine’s. Mr. Clean is cool…he’s bald.  He now sports an earring in his left ear. What’s next, a tattoo on Miss Clairol?

Ah, a coupon for a $ .97 cent cell phone.  It’s the Weiner special. Remember him? It’s the ‘#Carlos Danger’ model, the one that comes with total anonymity. It self-destructs when the metadata sleuths trace its trail. It’s complete with instructions on sexting and instagrams. The screen-saver is a photo of pink Fruit of the Loom underwear. The ring tone is “The Great Pretender.”

I read the small print…Ten-year contract, $2,000 for early termination. It’s the same kind of small print ‘gotcha’ contained in the online car warranty agreement you signed.   Cheap sells…buy now, pay later, credit same as cash.

The most incredible savings coupon I find advertises mattresses for sale, all mattresses only $89 dollars, lifetime financing, no money down. Wow, a real bargain! I call, ask why they’re so cheap. The clerk refuses to disclose this info over the phone, only in person. So I ride over.

The clerk explains it’s like buying a car.  If you buy a new one, you trade in the old one. They clean it up, sell it cheap. Same with mattresses.  I ask if this is legal or sanitary. His answer is unintelligible. But the latex gloves he’s wearing transmit a pretty good clue.

I inspect the H. Heffner brand, called ‘The Fantasy Model.’ It comes with a stereo system inside. Music CDs range from Elvis, “Love Me Tender,” to Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shaking Going On.”  Sinatra’s CD, “I Did It My Way,” is a favorite. Who buys these, I ask? Mostly divorced men, he says. They seem to prefer “Can’t Buy Me Love” by the Beatles.

The Camel Model mattress is interesting, so-called because of the large hump in the middle.  What’s this, I ask? He says the hump is a marital DMZ. He describes it as a vast, desolate wasteland, a ravaged war zone where the slightest intrusion sets off alarms and the conflict escalates.  It’s a place where war has been waged for years without a clear and decisive victory.  No man has gone there and lived to tell about it, he says.

He says it’s a favorite of seniors and also comes with a choice of music CD’s. Most popular are the tunes “Precious Memories,” and “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash.

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Too many ‘savings’ for one Saturday.  I go home, clean the garage, and fantasize about the tool box. I hope it’s still on sale tomorrow. My wife?  Who knows…I’m afraid to ask!


Bud Hearn

August 20, 2021