Don’t Hate the Payer, Hate the Game

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If stores make printed promises, they ought to keep them. Consumers need to insist, politely, that stores honor their agreements.

I’m the grocery store customer who challenges the scanner. Yes, it slows things up a little. But I’m not going to pay $2.89 a pound just because someone forgot to tell the computer that hams are on sale this week.

You might be the person behind me, grinding her teeth in frustration because I won’t accept anything other than the advertised price.

My apologies if your checkout is delayed by 60 seconds. But that $1.90-per-pound savings times 8 pounds represents almost $16. My budget won’t let me back down.

Nor will my sense of fair play. If the store advertises a special, it’s up to us as consumers to demand those prices be honored. So don’t get mad at me – get mad at whoever neglected to program that week’s sales into the system.

I’ve got coins that go jingle, jangle, jingle

Holding out for an advertised special isn’t the only behavior that irritates some shoppers.

For example, I sometimes use a fistful of change to buy a small item. Understand: I’m not paying for a washing machine with unrolled pennies. I’m simply trying to use up a couple of bucks’ worth of specie.

And no, I won’t take it to Coinstar because those machines take about a 9 percent cut. That’s like me paying a convenience tax for someone else’s convenience.

We’re talking about an extra 30 seconds max – which is how long it takes for some credit or debit transactions to be completed. If it takes any longer it’s because the cashier can’t handle the counting.

And if an adult can’t add quarters and dimes? Focus your pique on him, or on the school system. Not on me.

Cents-off and sensibility

Some frugalists love coupons. Some retailers hate them. Can’t we all just get along?

Before I go any further, let’s get something straight: “Frugal” does not necessarily equal “coupon.” Some frugalists hate coupons. Some couponers are not frugal. (And for extra credit: Not all frugalists wash and re-use plastic bags.)

As noted in “I Glean Ketchup Packets,” some people moan when you pull out a coupon or two. (Or 10.) Honest, folks, we’re not trying to ruin your lives. We’re simply trying to stay within our budgets. Until coupons go totally electronic, we’re going to be handing over those little bits of paper.

And if they don’t scan correctly I’ll challenge them too. Again, my apologies.

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Stacy Johnson

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