An Absolute, Complete and Utter Frugal Fail

On Friday I loaded a bunch of unwanted presents into the car and started what would become a three hour journey to return them. My son sat happily in the back seat with a container of newly washed grapes, a cup of water and a smile. I’m not certain, but I think he was still delirious from spending three straight days playing with new toys. It was a beautiful day and I was happy to unload the unwanted gifts before the new year.

I didn’t have gift slips for any of the presents my family received, but I recognized the brands and read up on store policies before attempting to return them. The process started out pretty rocky.  In Kohl’s I was offered $2 for two of my items. “No thanks,” I told the cashier, “for $2 I’ll donate them.”

I should have walked right out of the store, but instead wandered by the 70% off rack and ended up buying $35 worth of new clothing for my son for next year. Not only did I fail to return anything, but I walked out with stuff I didn’t even intend to buy.

In Babies-R-Us I was able to perform an even exchange. Not exactly a failure. I returned one $3 item that was too small for another in his size. I didn’t like the color or pattern, but at least the new shirt will fit him.

My son was smiling at all of the cashiers and wishing them a Happy New Year, so I decided to press on. A quick stop in the pet store just to look at the pretty parakeets and fish and we were on to TJ Maxx.

I save all of my receipts in a handy-dandy plastic binder, but for some reason the receipt I needed couldn’t be found anywhere. It took ten minutes for the cashier to enter all of the information required for a return without receipt. I have no one to blame but myself and I’m thankful they accept returns, but ugh that was a lot of time wasted in line and at the register.

Old Navy’s line was incredibly long. Two registers open and ten people in each line. I completely lucked out when a cashier finally opened a new register and waved me over. (For the record I told her other people had been in line before me, but she quickly exchanged my item anyway.) It was another $3 item.

Honestly, if I had known the first two shirts cost $2 and the third and fourth one were only valued at $3 I probably would’ve stayed home.

I hit IKEA on the way down the road and then considered calling it a day when I noticed my son was still wide awake and happy. I decided to make one last stop. This time to Costco. When I walked in the door there were already ten people waiting in line at customer service, but the line moved quickly and I completed my returns without any problem.

A smart girl would have taken her cash and walked right out the door, but I decided to wander around the aisles for just a minute and somehow walked out with a $500 Vitamix.


That’s right. I failed to return two $2 items. I successfully exchanged two $3 items and then spent $500 on a device.

My husband came home to find a very large box sitting on the counter and was shocked to find out I spent $500 on a blender. It is completely out of character for me. I almost never buy anything for myself and certainly nothing that ever costs more than $100.

Did I buy it because I was tired and frustrated from a long day of returns? Possibly, but I don’t think so. For some reason I’ve dreamed of buying a Vitamix for quite awhile now. I asked for very practical gifts this Christmas and this was a luxury I really wanted for myself.

Now the real question is will I keep it or decide that $500 is simply too much to spend. Only time will tell.

6 thoughts on “An Absolute, Complete and Utter Frugal Fail”

  1. We want a Vitamix too. The 300. But in Canada it is priced at $629 and in the U.S. it is only $529 or something like that.

    As we consider $629 a ripoff, we’re waiting for a sale, and have been waiting for 4 months. *sigh*

  2. The clothing at Kohl’s was probably purchased with Kohl’s Cash during a promo and that is why the return amount was so low. When that has happened to me they have told me the full price of the purchase (say, shirt was $10 but we can only give you $2 due to KC), and have let me do an even exchange if I found something for exactly the amount (would have to be exactly $10 in that case- not $9.99, not more with an offer to pay the difference, etc.). Not sure if this is the case in your situation, but thought I’d mention it in case it helps.

    On the blender, I say keep it, you’ve obviously thought about it for a while, it’s a good price for what it is as far as I know, and it’s not like you are splurging like crazy every day unless you’re hiding it from your readers. šŸ™‚

    • Jenn — Thanks for the insight into Kohl’s. That would have helped me a great deal. The items that were purchased for my son were much too large (4 sizes too big) and it would have been great to exchange them for something else. I could hold onto them, but I might be storing them for quite awhile.

  3. Vitamix is a wonderful gift for yourself. I’ve had one for the last 8 yrs and love it!! It has been extremely useful and has earned a [permanent place on the counter.

    If you dont have the book that comes with it, there’s a great yahoo group for vitamix. check out their files/fodlers for recipes. they have tons.

    We sue it for our daily breakfast smoothies, making ‘icecreams’, grinind just about anything…, almond milk, etc.


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