Definitely Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish

July 4, 2009 at 1:30 AM 5 comments

On my way back from the UPS store I decided to drive over to a nearby CVS to pick up a few items that were drastically on sale after ECBs and coupons. There are two CVS stores right around the corner from me and I almost never go to this particular one because the parking lot is always packed with cars and each spot is metered.

The UPS store is right across the street from CVS, so just this once I decided to make an exception and drop inside. I searched for some change in the car and placed a quarter, (the only coin I could find), in the meter. I popped right into the store, found the items I wanted to purchase and stepped in line. The line was pretty short and I got to the cashier in no time.

This is where it all went south. Some of my ECBs didn’t ring up properly, because the ink had rubbed off, or the paper was wrinkled, or who knows what. In order to use the ECBs the cashier was forced to enter the numbers by hand. After deducting the coupons and ECBs my total came to less than a dollar.

I handed the cashier a CVS gift card to pay the remainder of the bill. The cashier ran it through the register but the bar code was unreadable. She handed it back to me and said, “this won’t work.” I asked her to try again. She tried again and it still didn’t work.

Now this is where I should have stopped, pulled a dollar from my purse, and paid the remainder of the bill. Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve… the fact is I didn’t do that. Instead I allowed the first cashier to ask the second cashier how to type in the code from the gift card. The second cashier wasn’t quite sure what to do. I was the only person in line at the time so the two cashiers tried a whole bunch of things in an effort to ring up that gift card. They pointed at a whole bunch of things on the monitor, clicked a bunch of buttons, entered and reentered numbers, etc.

At some point I thought, I should just give up and pay out of pocket, or even void the whole transaction, but the two cashiers were determined to figure out how to ring up that card. It didn’t seem like a ton of time had passed since I first stepped in line, but it certainly took a lot longer than I expected. Eventually, they figured out what to do and handed me the bag and receipt.

I thanked them, opened the door to exit the CVS store and found a meter maid staring at the windshield of my car. I could have kicked myself straight in the a**. Once I saw how long it was taking I should have just pulled out a dollar, a credit card, any form of payment I could find and paid. Instead I saved myself less than a dollar and then shelled out $17 for a city parking ticket. Talk about penny-wise, pound foolish, they should just put my photo next to the definition.

Entry filed under: frustration, save money, stories. Tags: .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kristen@TheFrugalGirl  |  July 4, 2009 at 2:20 AM

    Oh no! I'd have been super frustrated too.

    Reply
  • 2. frugalchick  |  July 4, 2009 at 2:35 AM

    That sucks big time. But at least it's only $17. You can make that up by earning more ECBs next time.

    Reply
  • 3. Anonymous  |  July 4, 2009 at 3:35 PM

    Where I live any parking violation is at least fifty bucks. Consider yourself lucky.

    Reply
  • 4. JoeTaxpayer  |  July 11, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    I play the CVS game myself, a fan of I <3 CVS. Every few visits, there's an issue, just as you suggested, and I wonder if the time I spent just canceled the value of the savings.

    Reply
  • 5. Revanche  |  July 20, 2009 at 4:50 AM

    Meter tickets are generally in the neighborhood of $50 for us, too. Sorry you got so focused on the finances in front of you, and forgot about the big picture. It happens to the best of us.

    Reply

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