I am a big believer in coupons. Since I started clipping I haven’t paid more than 50 cents for name brand shampoo, conditioner, soap or dish washing detergent. I estimate saving between $20 – $40 each week by reading the sales circulars and combining sale items with manufacturer’s coupons.
There is only one problem with clipping coupons… they often fail to work. The cashier scans the coupon, the scanner beeps, the cashier looks at the coupon, the cashier rescans the coupon, the scanner beeps, the cashier asks me to show her the item, I ruffle through the bags to find the item, she looks at the item, she looks at the coupon, she looks back at the item, she rescans the coupon, the scanner beeps, she lights up the ‘help needed’ sign on the register, and all of the people in line behind try to refrain from groaning.
Now every single time this happens I want to slink away from the register. I hate knowing that the unlucky individuals in line behind me will be stuck for one more second than they have to be. I know in my heart that my time is more valuable than money. So I won’t wait in line for 10 minutes to save 10 cents. But sometimes it’s worth standing in line to save the money. For example, on Sunday I had two coupons for free items, cat food and candy. The coupons saved me roughly $7. Of course, neither of the coupons worked, despite the fact that I purchased the brand, size, and quantity listed on the coupon, so I waited for the store manager to help me.
But the whole time I waited I felt guilty. I apologized to the woman behind me at least three times. She said not to worry, that she had the same coupons for the same items, but I felt awful nonetheless. What do I feel? Is it guilt? Embarrassment? I’m not sure. Would I be less embarrassed if I didn’t make a six-figure salary? Would I feel differently if my family needed the money to pay the bills? I don’t know, but every time I wonder… Why do I feel bad?