The World According to Layne

The Rise And Fall Of Coupon Queen

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 5.51.55 PMI am the self-proclaimed Queen of Coupons. One might say I’m a “hoarder,” but I like to think of it more as “my room is littered with tiny sheets of paper, each one holding a little nugget of joy called a discount.”

Technology has been a big help with my coupon obsession. Almost every store has an app and within that app hides a database of coupons.

There comes a time, however, when couponing can bite you in the butt. The goal of sale ads or coupons is for companies to rope you into their stores and make you buy more stuff. I fell victim to this scheme one Saturday afternoon when I decided to go grocery shopping.

With my handy-dandy Jewel Osco app, I saved all my coupons and set out into a world of possibilities with the sun shining and a little more pep in my step.

Since I have to carry my groceries about six blocks to get home, I know I can’t go on mega shopping extravaganzas. I limited myself to two reusable bags and with my short grocery list, two bags should have been plenty… and it (sort of) was.

Did I fit all of my groceries into the bags during checkout? Yes. Does this story have a happy ending? No.

I couldn’t resist collecting discounted or free items here and there, and all of those items started to add up. But the big mistake came when I had to buy milk.

Let’s just say that the last time I weight lifted was three years ago and it resulted in black and blue toes. So, naturally, my muscles are paper frail and carrying milk is considered my workout for the week. I planned on buying a half gallon of milk, but Jewel had a deal where the whole gallon was LESS EXPENSIVE than the half gallon. How in the world could I justify paying more for a half gallon less?

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 5.52.09 PMWhen it came time to check out, everything did indeed (just barely) fit into my bags. But three steps into my journey home, the strap of my bag busted. I bent down to fix the situation, but everything inside the bag was already wet with a gallon’s worth of milk.

I immediately pulled the milk out, but there was a huge slash on the side of the carton and milk was spraying in every direction. It was similar to holding a live, pulsating heart that spewed blood in every direction uncontrollably. (Not that I know what that’s like, of course.)

Naturally, my reaction was to throw the milk on the ground. That made the milk spew out faster and before I knew it, there was a gigantic milk puddle covering the front entrance of Jewel Osco.

What could a girl do but stand there in shock? I waited around for an employee to find me standing in my milk puddle of sadness, but it was a Saturday and all the employees were busy helping normal customers.

As people passed by me on their way in or out of the store, there was no hiding my shame. It was obvious that the demolished milk on the floor was mine and I was standing around trying to look normal.

My next logical reaction was to smile at the bypassing customers. At that point, my dignity was drowned in a puddle of milk, so what did I have to lose? I smiled from ear to ear and held an expression on my face that read, “Yes, this is my life, and no, I’m not ashamed.”

After I abandoned my belongings to approach an employee with my tail between my legs and puppy dog eyes glowing, the matter was cleaned up in about 15 minutes. Three large rolls of paper towels, two disgruntled employees with mops, one new bag and one new milk later, I was out the door and making a mental note that I need to steer clear of Jewel Osco for at least one month.

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Layne Hillesland is a senior communication student at Loyola University Chicago and the current Arts & Entertainment Editor for The PHOENIX.

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