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But I Have A Coupon

writerLet me start this post by acknowledging that it’s been awhile since I’ve felt up to writing. My brain seems to have been rewired the past year due to a series of events that felt like literal slams to the head, and it’s become more difficult for me to write something longer than 140 characters. But in the past few days, I’ve had some silly First World problems that  fell into a pattern that was so inane, the only place it made sense to gripe about this nonsense was this blog.

It all had to do with brick-and-mortar stores and coupons. For those of you who don’t know me, I need to tell you that I absolutely LOVE coupons. I’ve been known to drive many miles out of my way if I’ve got a coupon for an amazing deal. No one should take that pleasure away from me, since I ask for so little in life. When I get a shirt that was originally $50 for $5 between sales and coupons, it almost makes up for the fact that all I can eat these days without getting sick, is food that tastes like cardboard.

First, I went to my favorite chain drugstore yesterday with two $5 coupons in hand. drugstore-makeupThe makeup area had little yellow signs everywhere that if you spent $20 on certain brands, you would get a $10 coupon as a reward. Who could pass that up when my brand was included? They’re practically giving the makeup away at that point! So as I started picking up some blush and concealer to bring to the register, one of the salespeople was nearby and informed me that the special did not start until 4:00 PM that afternoon. It was only 1 o’clock. I said I had never heard of such a thing at a drugstore. She said she had put the signs up early so they’d be ready, and pointed to a teensy weensy dot in the upper right-hand corner of the sign that she assured me said the special started at 4:00. I had to take her word for it since that caveat just looked like a dead gnat when I peered at it without my reading glasses. I sighed and put everything back. However, I did return today and did buy what I needed to stock up on, got to use my $5 coupons, and got the $10 coupon in return. But, seriously, it was kind of ridiculous.

I then decided to get some exercise in by walking around the mall. It’s just been too hot to walk outside this summer unless you want to melt into a puddle of skin and bones. The problem is, I feel the need to reward myself with some retail therapy after, which isn’t a great thing for my budget. I suppose it’s better than rewarding myself with a hot sundaefudge sundae. My favorite department store had a coupon for $10 off $50 which included not only regular and sale priced-merchandise, but also clearance, which is practically unheard of. But if you were buying less than $50 of merchandise, they were offering 25% off, which was actually a better deal. So I found a few things I liked, waited on a very slow-moving line for about 10 minutes, and presented my merchandise. The salesgirl agreed with me that the 25% discount was the way to go. She rang up my merchandise and scanned the coupon. A concerned look came over her face and she informed me she’d have to try the $10 coupon after all since for some reason the other coupon wasn’t working. Then she tried that coupon and it didn’t work either. She asked where I had gotten the merchandise and I pointed. “Oh,” she said, with a disappointed look on her face. “Those are doorbusters and you can’t use a coupon for doorbusters.” “What?” I practically shrieked, very grumpy after standing on that line for so long. “But this coupon says it’s for all merchandise.” But of course, it wasn’t. The one exclusion was doorbusters. I told her to forget it, except for the clearance shirt I got for $6.

Today, while running errands, I stopped at a smaller clothing store where I had a coupon for 50% off your highest-priced item if you spent a certain amount. They outletwere also having a sale of 40% off everything in the store, but you couldn’t combine the two. I found two things I really liked, went to the register to pay, smilingly handed my coupon to the saleswoman and, guess what? The coupon wouldn’t work. Why not? Because in tiny little print it said it was only for their outlet stores, and was only good through tomorrow. Well, the nearest outlet store is 45 minutes away, so that wasn’t my first option – not this weekend. I ended up settling for 40% off plus another small discount for being a frequent customer, or some such thing.

coupons

What’s the takeaway? Many brick-and-mortar stores aren’t doing so great these days, especially with the ease of ordering things online. My suggestion? Don’t make it so hard for customers who really want to shop in your store to get their discounts.  Don’t make coupons that are so limiting or confusing that the coupons will only work for 1% of the merchandise. Because you’re gambling that we’ll buy your stuff anyway. But many of us will put the items back, storm dramatically out of the store, and have some not-so-great feelings about returning another time. Of course, there are still those of us who will return another day – as long as you’ll take our coupons.

 

Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved

 

Look At Me!

smartphone

 

 

There’s a social media post going around that basically asks, “Aren’t you glad that you got all your youthful indiscretions over before the advent of cell phones and everything you do being posted online?” And everyone over the age of 30 shouts, “Yes, yes, and yes!”

 

 

 

Can you imagine what it’s like to have every moment of your life out there for the babyworld to see? In the beginning, it’s the parents posting baby pictures, birthdays, first day of school, and soccer games. But once that first cell phone falls into those hot, little preteen hands, watch out, world.

 

 

globe.2Every thought, every spat, every crush is now in the public domain. These kids have no filters, no sense of privacy at all. They put their bodies out there for public display, and their dislike of teachers, their parents, their bosses are all considered fair game. There’s no sense of the future or any kind of consequences for sharing their soul with a world that gobbles this stuff up, and then ruthlessly spits these kids out.

 

 

There have been studies that conclude that the brain doesn’t fully mature until the pinky.swearage of 25. Or older. So back in high school, you might have done a few things that you kept from your parents. Just saying. And kept these indiscretions from everyone else except for your very best friends in the world.Who were sworn to secrecy on pain of a terrible, horrible death. You might have done stupid things, but they remained your deep, dark secrets. On the whole, you transitioned into adulthood with the follies of your youth largely safely behind you.

 

loveYou might have had serious high school crushes. Again, shared only with your BFFs. And certainly not with the object of your desire. In fact, it was beyond horrifying to think anyone would know about the guy who you spent every moment of your day longing for. How embarrassing to let the world in on your private thoughts!

 

Fast forward to today’s kids. How horrifying it would be for them if no one cared Monkey takes selfieabout those once-private, personal longings. Now, every minute of their lives must be shared with the world in order to validate their existence. A perfect example is the constant taking of selfies. Does anyone else feel that this is the new form of falling in love with yourself by staring into your reflection in the water?

 

 

 

proposalSome of this online sharing is fun, and not only for kids. Posting your own parodies of popular songs has become a thing. Or cute things babies or animals do. I am getting a bit concerned about the new wave of marriage proposals, however. What was once a sweet and private moment has now become a case of one-upmanship, with videos, crowds, singing and dancing as part of the package. As if there wasn’t enough pressure on the poor guy when he pops the question! It’s now got to be worthy of a Broadway production, or he’ll be considered a failure.

 

There is no assumption of the right to privacy anymore. Kids eagerly share their lives with not only their friends, but perfect strangers. The more the merrier. And then the day comes that they want to go to college. Or apply for a job. And they have no idea why they’re turned down. Posting pictures of every meal you’ve ever eaten is one thing. And seriously, how many meals have you eaten that are actually worthy of that kind of publicity? But putting thoughts or pictures out there that never go away, that can adversely affect your future, is not innocent fun. This generation has never really known the concept of anonymity. But the Internet is forever. Nothing really goes away. And it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Or take a picture of it.

coffee

 

 

Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved

 

Boo Hoo

teen.momI don’t watch reality shows unless they involve contestants who are singing, dancing, or cooking. Or possibly losing weight or designing something. The shows I avoid like the plague are the shows that cater to the lowest common denominator and our basest instincts. We’re talking shows such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives of (pick your city), Duck Dynasty, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Add to that list the show about dating while naked. And the one about teen mothers. The list goes on and on.

Since I have never watched any of the aforementioned shows, I can’t talk in great detail about their Titanic_struck_icebergcontent. I can only generalize, based on things I have read about them. But I don’t think I’m too far off the mark in saying that most of them are the equivalent of waiting for the Titanic to hit the iceberg.

The people on these shows are chosen because they can put on a show. Not, like a classy Broadway show. More like the battles in the Roman Colosseum. The people on these shows are willing to get drunk. They’re willing to curse and start fights on camera. They’re willing to show the world things about themselves that most people don’t want their closest friends to know about them.

angerSo, is anyone really surprised when these “reality stars” implode? Do we really need to sit and wonder how this could happen? Are these people anyone’s role models? Our society as a whole has gotten baser and crasser as limits, privacy, and good taste disappear. The Internet, hundreds of TV stations willing to buy any kind of programming, cell phones, and parents who find their control and influence eroding when faced with all these challenges are the parts that add up to the whole problem. And I have no idea what the solution is, except to stop watching these train wrecks.

The latest, and in my mind, most disgusting implosion is the end of Honey Boo Boo. Not the little girl, honey.boobut the whole circus surrounding her. The fact that her mother has decided it’s OK to date a convicted child molester is horrifying. To then read that this woman’s oldest daughter had been molested by this man when she was a child makes me want to throw up. And the oldest daughter says she “would feel hurt” if her mom was dating this vermin again? She goes on to add “I would not feel betrayed, but I would feel hurt.” She should feel betrayed! She should also feel furious and angry and horrified. What kind of mother would even consider dating the man who harmed her child, instead of wanting to rip his heart out? And these are just two of the people who make Heaven knows how many thousands upon thousands of dollars while appearing these shows.

starI’m sorry, but maybe people who teach, or save others, or rescue animals, don’t make disgusting spectacles of themselves, and therefore don’t merit the large viewership of these shows, because no one is throwing raw meat to the lions. But surely, they deserve the recognition and monetary rewards that the saddest examples of humanity have showered upon them them for debasing themselves – and in the process those of us who watch this drek – in their desperate pursuit of celebrity.

 

 

Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved