Wednesday, August 16, 2006

No sale

The sun is shining and my front door isn't sticking so much. The door has a tendency to stick when it's wet and rainy. Makes burglars -- and friends -- think the door is bolted and locked. A little push, or pull, and it opens fine, but they don't know that.

I was busy last night posting markets and contests, answering emails and keeping up to date on my friends before I climbed into bed with a thriller and promptly fell asleep. I blame it on too much excitement since B&B were over yesterday and last night watching movies and talking until nine or so. The good thing is that I didn't wake up until seven this morning instead of getting up and going to the bathroom every hour or two. That's two nights in a row I have had more than two hours of sleep at any one time. My body has decided to take control and keep me under wraps for seven hours straight. I like when it takes control. Means I don't have to get up in the middle of the night and stumble to the bathroom or suffer through reruns of running to the bathroom in my dreams to wake me up so I can run to the bathroom in the dark. Not so this morning with the sun shining and the birds chirping and calling while the ravens and crows soar and dip in the sky cawing raucously. I can hear everything since the fans are off; it's still cool outside and inside.

I'm finishing up the rest of my email and I received a notice from Bed, Bath & Beyond that if I purchase something from Lenox I will get a $50 gift certificate. I looked through the Lenox offerings thinking I could get away with something inexpensive like a porcelain colander decorated with little butterflies (I need a colander) that costs a mere $29.99, which would still leave me with $20 in my pocket and a free colander. I decided to check the small print to be sure. I'm glad I did. I have to spend $200 in order to get $50 back. I don't like Lenox that much. I don't need a silver pizza tray for $99.99 or a silver cheese grater and tray for $99.99, still leaving me with at least another dollar to spend to get the gift certificate that I can use to spend at BB&B. Lenox doesn't make anything for a dollar. Even picture frames, silver of course, cost nearly $50. I could get one 5-piece place setting of fine china for $159 and buy enough to make up four or six or eight place settings and then the gift certificate would be a welcome bit of mad money, but I'd have to be mad to do that.

I have never been able to figure out how buying a lot of things you didn't want before the gift certificate or gift offer came your way saves any money. You still have to buy things you weren't planning to get to get the gift certificate that will not begin to defray the cost of what you have to spend to get it. I can hear the discussions between husbands and wives now.

"Honey, I just saved you $50," wifey says as he unloads the boxes and bags from the trunk of wifey's car.

"Then what's all this?" husband asks. "You were going to buy a new strainer for the kitchen sink."

"Oh, but, honey, the store had a sale and they gave me a gift certificate for $50." Wifey beams waiting for husband to understand as she unpacks the boxes and bags, covering the table and kitchen counters and finally the floor.

Husband, stunned as he bangs his head on the corner of the kitchen counter when he trips over a brand new cheese fryer, picks up the brand new cheese fryer and holds it in a white knuckled grip. "Dearest, we already have a cheese fryer."

Wifey takes the cheese fryer and places it next to the three-month-old cheese fryer next to the stove. "It was 50% off."

It's no wonder there is so much domestic violence. And it's no different with men than it is with women. Send hubby to the store for cat food and he will inevitably come back from Sam's club with a car load of restaurant sized containers of mayo, mustard and ketchup, bulk corn fritters, which neither of them eat, and bulk containers, boxes and bags of frozen okra and T-bone tails to save money. If it's the home improvement store, he will come back with tools and projects that will soon reside next to the tools and projects gathering dust and cobwebs and provide homes for mice and other neighborhood vermin and strays.

Given the right products and flashing signs guaranteeing savings and the rush is on. It seems no one realizes that if you don't need something and wouldn't have bought it otherwise, getting 50%, or even 10%, off or getting a gift certificate for purchasing at least $200, you haven't saved a dime. In gambling it's called losing money. It's like sitting down at the poker table with $500 and getting up owing the house another $1200, but you leave with a plastic chip you can cash in for $25. Somewhere along the way people either flunked math or forgot how to use it.

I have watched friends' and family's faces when they get the credit card bill at the end of the month and pick up the Sunday or Wednesday paper and turn to the part time help wanted ads. The warm glow of having saved money just hit them with John Brown's sledgehammer. You'd think they would learn, but they don't. Let them see a sale ad or run across the blue light special in K-Mart and the look of impending savings glazes their eyes and paints a zealot's smile on their faces. They're gone. Nobody's home. The sale fever has caught them as surely as the fever mobilized a scattered nation when the cry of "Gold!" went up at Sutter's Mill in California in 1848. It was the cry heard around the world and people from around the world responded in ravening hordes.

It's a good thing common sense keeps me from falling too far from grace when the sale or gift certificate offer comes my way. Common sense and poverty, that is. Poverty keeps what little money I have in my pocket since it wouldn't stretch to $200 worth of Lenox. Now that's saving money.

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