We were standing in the dairy section of the grocery store, and the boys were choosing their particular yogurt pairings.  Oh, so many choices.  It takes time, people.  And one just has to get it right.  Well, actually two do.

They are always drawn to the charm of Danimals, those little 2-ounce smoothies.  But i don’t buy those.  Because they are two ounces.  That’s about half-a-swallow for my little big-mouths, and I can’t commit to something that will be gone before we get home.  Still, we have this conversation every time.  They point to them, raise their eyebrows in question, and I say, “Nope.  I don’t buy those, remember?”  And then they remember, and then we move on.

But this time, the fellow shopper standing next to me held up her phone, and she said, “The Cartwheel app has a coupon for 30% off Danimals.”Hand Holding Mobile Phone With Discount Coupon Isolated Over Whi

I smiled.  “Oh, good to know!”  And then, “Guys, please make your yogurt choices.” 

(They didn’t choose Danimals.  ‘Cause I don’t buy those, even with the coupon.  I didn’t want to change the precedent.  She probably won’t be nearby next time with her golden ticket to Danimals heaven.)

A few feet farther down the aisle, I empowered Tyler to choose our gallon of milk.  “Buddy, pick a gallon of 1% with the latest date on it.” 

Again the coupon lady was upon us.  “Did you want to get the Colorado Pure Milk?  Here’s a coupon for a dollar off.” 

She slipped it out of its little sleeve in her 3-ring binder, and she offered it to me.  I felt a little like she thrust it at me, actually.

“Thank you so much, but no thank you,” I said, and then added with a dose of affirmation, “I see you are a Coupon Queen, though!” 

(And how I do respect you Coupon Queens of the world.  I do.  You girls know what you’re doing.)

And we would have been fine, all fine, but then she got a little bit huffy-puffy snitty-snotty with me. 

“Yes, I am,” she said. “I took my family on vacation last year with this savings.  And I bought a new car this year.  It’s worth it.”  She turned on her heel, heaved her weight behind her full cart, and she turned the corner into the aisles of frozen pizzas.

I do not doubt it’s worth it to her.  I think she’s a some kind of coupon evangelist.  A coupon preacher.  She couldn’t wrap her mind around why I wouldn’t want to step into my very own episode of the Price Is Right, while she waved her milk coupon at me in exchange for what could be my new car.

What she couldn’t understand is that I have one seriously picky eater who can taste the difference in milk brands.  I couldn’t pull that trick on him and expect to get any calcium in his bones this week.  He would know.  I assure you.  And it isn’t worth that dollar off.

But here’s the thing.  Purely and simply, I don’t love the scavenger hunt of Coupon Hide n’ Seek.  I just don’t have the self discipline to compare ads and visit multiple grocery stores to get blueberries for twelve cents less.  And food choices are personal.  Like, one of the most personal decisions you can make at Target. 

But the other thing is this: time is money too.  And I’m really, really careful how I spend it.

When we were checking out, buying our cart o’ stuff, the red-shirted cashier said, “Hey, do you want some coupons while we’re at it?”  She offered me a thick stack of coupons other people had left behind.  People like me, probably, who thought, ‘meh, this is not a coupon collecting day.”

“Sure,” I said.  I’ll take them, since they’re all clipped and sorted  already for me.  After all, I’m not anti-coupons. 

While we’re at it, I’ll take a a new car… if you’ve got one back there with the clipped and sorted coupons.

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