I’ve learned a few things in my sojourn on the earth:  Dust always returns.  The bank’s numbers are usually right.  Money-saving gimmicks are often more trouble than they are worth.

A few weeks ago, three friends and I had dinner at a local restaurant.  Two of my dining companions had brought coupons, which they wanted to share equally among the four of us.  One coupon offered $5 off a $25 purchase.  Another coupon offered “Buy one entree and get a second one for half price.”

As we buttered and ate our complimentary dinner rolls and drank our glasses of iced water, we strategized.   How could we obtain the most benefit from our coupons while ensuring that all four of us spent approximately the same amount of money?  Cell phone calculators were activated.  The server made two trips to our table to take our orders before we perfected our money-saving scheme.

Finally, we ordered and ate our meals.  When the time came to pay, we flashed our coupons.  The server’s countenance visibly wilted.  “I’m not sure I can divide the bill up this way,” he said.  My friends and I looked at him with irritation and disbelief.  “Why not?” one of us asked.

Then we all began talking at the same time, pointing to various plates and bowls on the table and explaining the specific requirements of our coupons.  The poor man eventually took our coupons, our checks, our money and our credit cards and headed for his register.  For all of our effort, each of us saved little more than a dollar or two.

Clipping coupons, chasing sales and taking advantage of special offers rarely save me money.  Odds are that having a coupon will require me to drive out of my way to visit the particular store that offered the coupon, only to find at checkout that: 1) The coupon expired yesterday.  2) I am 75 cents short of making the minimum required purchase and must add an unwanted magazine or pack of gum to my cart at the last minute.  3) The coupon I so carefully studied and clipped is still lying on my kitchen island next to the crumbs of the bagel I ate for breakfast.

Last week I called a service provider my husband and I have used for several years.  I explained to the person on the phone that since my husband has retired, we have less money to spend and needed to cancel that particular service.  The representative quickly asked, “Could you and your husband afford this service if I lowered the price from $50 a month to $25 a month?”

“What?” I almost screamed into the phone.  “If this service is available for $25 a month, why have I been paying $50 a month?”

I wish stores, restaurants and service providers had ONE FIRM, FAIR PRICE for every item, required no coupons or bulk purchases, and had no sales, blue light specials or reduced rates for qualifying customers.  The price of the blouse or steak or pest control service is $39, no matter who buys it, when it is purchased and whether or not other items are paid for at the same time.

I never seem to grab the brass ring when it comes to money-saving gimmicks.  Stop the merry-go-round.  I want off.

6 thoughts on “FULL PRICE, PLEASE”

  1. I totally agree, Debbie! I used to save coupons galore. Now, I tell myself the truth, which is that I am just not organized enough to make them work for all the reasons you wrote in this piece. I do not even open the blue Valu Pak of coupons anymore or even look at the sale papers that land in my mailbox every Tuesday. They go straight to the garbage can, very liberating! There is only one coupon for which I keep an eye out – the Milto coupon in the Reach advertising booklet. I actually manage to use those, though they have been a bit elusive lately.

  2. Many people say they save money with coupons, but that has never been my experience. Most of the time you need to buy two in order to get the reduced price. If you don’t need two, you are actually spending more and buying a product you don’t need.

  3. Amen to all this!!! I am so frustrated with TV/internet providers, insurance people, medicare supplement people and the list goes on and on for these very same tactics.

  4. At first I thought you were talking about a recent outing, but then I realized you weren’t even there! We can certainly major in the minors at times!

  5. We used a lawn service ONE year to try to make our yard actually contain grass. It did get slightly better, but we just couldn’t pay for it again. The company offered a huge discount from what we’d paid the year before, and we were pretty ticked that we had apparently been paying them way more than their services were worth the year before! Needless to say, we rejected their offer out of irritation. (But we once again have a yard that is mostly clover, and you could break an ankle walking in it!) 🙂 I must say, I still try to save money in other ridiculous ways, though!

  6. My counter is constantly littered with coupons my husband clips out for me to use. I rarely ever even remember to put them in my purse let alone use them. So annoying. Plus who wants to have to do all that calculating and considering and buying things you don’t really want or need to say a dime here and there? Not me!

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