Discount Double Check

A majority of my purchases can be rationalized with the phrase, “It was on sale and I had a coupon.”


Every. Single. Time

I love Sundays because the new grocery ad and coupon books arrive in the paper, (and because I don’t work and usually don’t wash my hair or do much of anything productive, which is why I usually don’t wash my hair. That would be productive.)

My only true ad interest is in the produce section and my “staple” items, as many of my specialty food purchases rarely go on sale. Boo hiss.

But seeing as I do the grocery shopping for my mom and uncle as well, I clip the coupons and organize them in my little coupon keeper. Every Sunday I weed out the old and add in the new, but sometimes an old one gets missed.

This is where I run into a minor coupon conundrum.

Most likely the old coupon will be the one I want to use on the grocery trip one day after it expired. Seeing as this wasn’t discovered until I’m already in the checkout line, I’m forced to make a decision—try and sneak it through or throw it away? Unless I know the cashier is a badass who’ll bust me, who are we kidding? Of course I’ll try and still use it.

In fact, I should try my hand at high stakes poker because of how good I am at keeping a straight face when knowingly using an expired coupon.

I usually make sure to sandwich the expired one in between two “valid” ones, if those are also being used. In my demented way of thinking, I believe the cashier is going to think, “She’s using two good coupons, so this probably slipped in by mistake! Of course I’ll give her 50 cents off of this cereal! She’s practically a saint, for god’s sake!”

When passing over the expired offender, I also try and busy myself with the rest of my bags and coupons while she tries to scan it in.

Some don’t care and figure the machine is just being funny. Others immediately get all CSI: Coupon and check the expiration date that I forgot to “accidentally” clip off with the scissors.

Again, I assume the internal dialogue of the cashier is running along the lines of, “This coupon is expired, but she looks really busy rearranging the bags I just filled with her stuff—pulling things out to examine them before glancing back up and then rearranging the bags yet again. She needs to save $1 on two cans of chickpeas.”

Of course the situation occasionally arises when I am busted, at which point I put on an Oscar-worthy performance of feigned ignorance about what the date is.

To be fair, I usually don’t ever know what date is, so it’s really not much of a stretch.

But I act surprised, tell her to toss it—as if she’s going to keep it for her own collection or something if I don’t—and after paying, raise my head high and push the squeaky-wheeled grocery cart out to the car.

You can’t put a price on pride, my friends, but I wouldn’t pass up on that coupon.

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18 responses to “Discount Double Check

  1. Hey it’s worth a try right! I have a friend that when she calls to order pizza just makes up that she has a coupon, invents the discount she wants and just rocks up and picks up her pizza, with no coupon and they often honour the imaginary discount. Worth a shot.

  2. Ohhhhh Abby….come organize me and cavort with me!

  3. agree with Marie from Rock The Kasbah! me too! 🙂

  4. You ARE a saint for grocery shopping for other people.

  5. We’re kindred spirits. I have a coupon book, and will re-write my list as many times as I have to just so it’s in the same order as the aisles at the grocery store. Some people call it OCD. I call it efficiency, bitch.

  6. I have only started to use coupons more regularly since I found out I was pregnant. I felt guilty about using them for some unknown reason… Yeah, odd, but that’s me I guess. Your post amused me because it reminded me of my mom in some ways.

  7. Produce & ancient grains never go on sale… Now if I were buying Doritos & canned chili, I’d be saving a fortune! No wonder people claim vegan food is expensive!!!

  8. There is NO SHAME in attempting to sneak the odd, expired coupon past the cashier. It’s not like their pay is going to be docked the fifty cents…or is it?? Hmmm…now I’m worrying that I’ve put a dent in the pitiful take home pay of the lowly cashier. Hopefully someone can clear this up before I turn all honest-like. We’re lucky here, we have a whole-foods type of grocery store that has EXCELLENT prices on produce — and on Wednesdays, you can take advantage of the prices in both the old ad and the NEW ad — score!

    • Jana, I was a cashier at Grocery Outlet for 2 years in high school. I didn’t give a rip about how much customers paid for their food – I still got the same measly wage no matter what so don’t feel guilty.

    • What? Both ad discounts? That’s the grocery shopping jackpot. We don’t have anything like a Whole Foods or Trader Joes around here, but our local grocery store is pretty stocked with my fussy items. The only health food store NEVER has coupons because they’re simply to fancy and overpriced for that. Sigh…

  9. You have clearly thought this through and for that alone I think you should get the discounts.

    I work with a lot of people with dementia. When asked questions like “what is the date?” and “who is the president?” my favorite answer one senile woman gave was: “I don’t concern myself with those things.” Maybe you could incorporate that into your Oscar-worthy speech about expiration dates?

  10. Glad I’m not the only one who rewrites their list in the order of the aisles! Thought I was crazy but it’s just so efficient. The subterfuge/poker face stuff was hilarious. I relate to the mental gymnastics over the mundane.

  11. How come there are never any coupons for beer?

  12. LOL! I would probably do the same thing. It can’t hurt to try. What are they going to do, kick you out of the grocery store and post a picture of you with the words COUPON CHEATER underneath it?

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