Monday, June 13, 2011

Learn The Rules Before Starting...

I've been to hell, and I have survived.

I did some grocery shopping last night. I like going on Sunday nights, because there's generally no crowds to fight, no kids running in the aisles, and I can play in the produce section without worrying about funny looks from the prissy housewives. But I digress...

Because Sunday nights are generally slow, my local Albertson's store was down to a skeleton crew, including only two checkers. That's OK. Usually there's no need for more. I have a specific route I follow, based on years of going to the same store. I headed down the first aisle (deli, beer, wine, pop, eggs and juice). As I turned to go down the second aisle, there they were. The coupon people! EEK! Mom, Dad, daughter in her young teens, and two young kids--a boy and a girl. Four carts, mostly loaded to the gills.

Mom was in charge, complete with with the 3" 3-ring binder with about 40 tabs, and all the coupons neatly arranged. Dad didn't look like he was enjoying things, but quietly did what he was told. The older girl seemed to be the most into it, and the two young kids (seeing that no one would be supervising them) chased each other in and around the aisles. Four carts, three drivers. And moving down the aisles in an almost side by side fashion. Mom seemed miffed that I would consider moving down her aisle, meaning she had to move her carts out of the way rather than seeing if there was a coupon for virtually everything on the shelves. I was fortunate to get past the one aisle they were in, and I managed to avoid them for the rest of the evening. Until checkout...

I was so traumatized by the accidental meeting earlier, that I somehow missed that there were actually TWO families doing their couponing. On family had already taken the express lane (less than 10 items, please--which really is non-existent on Sunday nights), and "my" family had taken the second checker. It appeared that the second checker was making quicker progress, so I got in line.

I didn't realize that I had committed a faux pas, at least in the Mom's eyes. She still had two carts left to check through, and I had the gall to cut in. She had placed and separated everything up to that point into the money-saving piles that she needed to, and paid for each pile separately. Then it happened. The Mom said that she was new to couponing, and this was the family's first time out. I glanced at the checker, and noticed her demeanor change immediately. Like she knew what was coming. And it did...

Mom's meticulous work was biting her in the ass. Primarily because this store (and probably others) didn't offer to double her coupons. Or something like that. Of course, this was somehow the checker's fault. Her manager could tell Mom the same thing, but he was still on cart #4 of the other family. This, of course, frustrated Mom even more, but the decision was made. Pay for what had already gone through, and have the rest of the family return the other two cart's worth of groceries to the shelves. Minus the coupons. By this point, there were two other people behind me waiting to go, and one other person behind the other family, and still only the two checkers. I wasn't going anywhere. Fortunately, I've got some retail experience, so I have a lot of sympathy for service workers due to the crap they have to put up with.

My checker apologized profusely for the wait, and I told her that she didn't need to do that. Because of her frustration, she did let loose with some comments that I'm sure the management would have preferred she didn't share with me. I think she appreciated having an ally, and by the time I got through there, she had a smile back on her face.

I now have to decide if Sunday nights are "safe" anymore. Granted, it's better to see them out during slow times, and I suppose I just need to have an escape plan ready to go if necessary. But the whole couponing thing escapes me. I buy what I need, when I need it. I'm not ready to spend $20K to build an extension on the house to store five years worth of drain cleaner, or use the kids' closets to hold six different types of BBQ sauce. I've watched the shows on TV, and am of the belief that these women (and it's almost always women) are the ones who either had sons that they couldn't enter in a beauty pageant, or are a more upscale version of the fun people we see on "Hoarders".

7 comments:

13messages said...

I'm glad you made it out okay. They cashier's lucky to have someone like you who gets it to come through the line after such madness.

Leah said...

What a nightmare! I'm glad you came through unscathed. I HATE supermarket shopping with passion ~ it turns me into some kind of vindictive harridan with trolley rage!!!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

I detest grocery shopping...

I'm like Leah I get trolley rage.

Remember to come and enter Caption my Freak Photo Competition

IveyLane said...

Obsession is obsession, sugar. The super-couponers are no different other than the fact that they do, from time to time, save some money here and there. But like any other item on "sale," if you spend money on something that you don't or can't use, that requires storage or upkeep, or that becomes it's own burden during the rest of your life, you're not doing yourself any favors.

Personally, I think lots of these ladies would be better off taking up knitting or porn. And yes, it's always best to avoid the mentally ill (or just plain thoughtless/rude)people in the grocery store.

Good luck!

The Smoking Redhead said...

Next time suggest a Costco membership. It's cheaper for them and saves you the hassle of putting up with their dumb asses.

;)

cavernofthebeast said...

Weird- I saw my first coupon person with a binder just the other day...so strange!

I just don't have the energy to waste on that kind of crap. I have all I can do to remember to use a coupon. Usually they expire by the time I remember.

~viemoira

Elle said...

They actually go grocery shopping with a binder? Wow. Must lead a fun life ;)

Not that I'm judging or anything, but I couldn't be bothered. I *might* use a coupon if it was practical to do so and meant a real savings. But I'd probably forget about it anyway.