Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Games Stores Play

Did I mention that I hate shopping? The sales games. The card loyalty games. The coupon games. Every time I go into CVS and I’m asked, “Do you have your card?” I want to scream, but I respond in a clipped tone. “Use yours.” And the clerk duly swipes the store card. I get the discount without the yards of paper touting so-called bargains I have little use for.

However, I’ve been dealing with deferred consumer demand. My eyeglasses were 12 or 15 years old and it had been 10 years since I had an exam. I needed underwear. My favorite 400 and 600 thread count sheets were fraying and/or torn and I had resorted to mix and match; even that wasn’t working any more.

First things first. The eye exam. The news every senior loves to hear: You have the beginning of cataracts. Oh, and do you have rosacea? It’s affecting your eyes. Here’s a script for antibiotics and ointment. 

On to choosing frames. I’ve found the styles over the years especially ugly. That combined with trying to get a prescription that works for reading, the computer and distance without mortgaging my cats was another challenge; the cost for a few ounces of plastic is outrageous. I finally found some frames I liked and headed blindly (dilated pupils) into the office after some three hours.

I picked up the glasses a week or so later. Distance okay, sort of, if I don’t go into the grocery store. Reading, better than my previous glasses. Computer. Nope, not unless I’m trying out for the head-bobbing Olympics. Two outta three ain’t bad.

On to the underwear. Three three-packs and a bra, plus some socks for DH, I exited Kohl’s with … drum roll … a $20 cash coupon. And no, I didn’t save an extra 20 percent by opening a Kohl’s charge account.

Next on the agenda, sheets. Buoyed by the $20 Kohl's coupon, I looked through the high thread count sheets that I love. I settled on 500TC Sonoma brand in a warm beige and grabbed an extra set of pillow cases. I looked longingly at the comforters and quilts, but really just wanted to get the hell out of there. Okay, I did splurge on a nightgown. I left after spending $101.32 and “saving” $151.71, plus yet another Kohl’s cash coupon, this time for $10.

Question. Since when has anyone paid full price for anything at Kohl’s? Or any store for that matter? With the store’s discounts, sales, and coupon games, would anyone have paid $253.03 for what I purchased?

Part II
Once I got home, I unwrapped the sheets to put them in the wash. I looked at the separate pillowcases and realized I had grabbed the king size rather than standard. Well, I figured, I’ll check out the quilt I kind of liked when I exchange them tomorrow.

Headed back to the store. All the way to the linens in the back – past the 3,000 pairs of flipflops and a sea of bras. Found the right pillowcases and returned to the front and the cashier. Who said she couldn’t help me with the exchange because the items weren’t the same price. So I had to go even further to the back of the store to customer service, where the exchange was made. With the $10 cash coupon in hand, I figured I could find a T-shirt or top for $10. I found one for $9.99 after still more wandering around and headed for the cashier. Again. I sighed and produced my coupon. “Oh, this isn’t good until tomorrow” was the response. Trying to maintain a semblance of patience, I said, “Could you please see if you can squeak it through?”

She stepped away and came back with a manager-type. “Oh, no, the cash register won’t even accept it,” she said.

Fine. I tore up the coupon. “I’m not coming back again tomorrow!”

“Do you still want the shirt?”


Yeah, I was a bitch and overly dramatic. But this was a typical example of the lengths stores go in order to suck you in. Maybe I would have been less bitchy if I grabbed the right pillowcases originally. Maybe I would have returned to the quilt I was eyeing. But after two days in a row of wading through flipflops and bras, I was done.

Until the next time I need underwear. Oh, and did I find my Yes? Nope.


Bernadette said...

I haven't been in a department store except Kmart for probably decades. I've made a few of these things easier with Costco since I often like their choices, but for everything else I make a sweep of my favorite secondhand stores every few months.

Dina Fullerton said...

Sounds just like my shopping misadventures the few times I bother!