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When I Learn How to Fly You’ll Be the First to Know.

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*Disclaimer* No innocent customer service employees were harmed in the production of this blog.  Only the lazy ones, no just kidding.  I have had a few retail and customer service jobs, so am well aware of how crummy they are treated at times.  I try really hard to be patient and kind with the front line staff.  They often take the brunt of customer complaints and general lack of patience.  Often, when mistakes are made by co-workers, it effects everyone on the team/department.  This retail experience was one of those examples…

I have been on a search for new furniture, specifically a dining room table.  This search has dragged over years, mostly because of a tight budget and the fact that most of our funds are now drained by the need for various baby gear.  I am even willing to get second hand furniture, but it has to fit in our tiny space and be in better condition than what we have.  I had my eye on a new 5 piece table set in my local department store.  Recently the price dropped for a two day sale, from $399.99 to $199.99!  Oh I wanted that table! 

 On sale day I walked over to the store and found that they still had one left, but the box was perched on a tall shelf.  At least 7 feet high.  That was a strange place to put a box that, according to details printed on the side, weighed 50 KG .  I had two issues; I needed to measure the box to see if it would fit in my hubby’s car.  Second problem; there was a man already standing under the shelf, staring up at the same box I was eyeing.  I didn’t know how long this man had been waiting.  I knew better than to try and look for an employee to help me with measuring.  I had worked in this store and knew that they were under-staffed in early morning hours.  I marched off to the hardware section to find a measuring tape to borrow, then grabbed a ladder to help with the reach.  Once again I thought; ‘Why would they put this box up here?  Anything over 70 lbs is supposed to be on floor level’.  I set myself up in front of the shelf, climbed up, and measured as best as I could as it was still out of reach. 

The Waiting Man was now sitting on a stool and reading a paper, looking out the corner of his eye once in a while.  Just as I was finishing my calculations, a store employee, I’ll call Joe came down the aisle.  Joe didn’t seem bothered at all by my borrowed items from the hardware department.  I guess he is used to customers taking things into their own hands.  I heard him tell the Waiting Man that he was unable to find the lift that would get the box down from the shelf.  The Waiting Man asked if he could buy the table set and come back when it could be rescued from its perch.  Joe said he was sorry but they couldn’t hold Door Crasher items.  Waiting Man was done being patient; “When I learn how to fly you’ll be the first to know, but I have been waiting here since the store opened an hour ago for you to get this box down!”  Joe apologized and wondered out-loud if a fellow employee was pulling a April Fool’s prank, by putting the box up that high in the first place.  The humor was lost on Waiting Man

I couldn’t stick around to see the resolution for this sit-com.  I had to start work soon, and I had recieved a text from my hubby.  It wasn’t the news I was hoping for…the box wouldn’t fit in our trunk.  As I was unpacking boxes at the home decor store I work at, I had a light bulb moment.  When break time came, I went back to the Department Store.  The ladder was still there, no surprise to me.  I found something to poke the box and climbed up.  *POKE POKE* Haha, the box moved.  It was EMPTY!  Which means it was the DEMO box.  The poor schmo that had been stuck putting that DEMO together, couldn’t be bothered to mark DEMO on the box before putting it out of reach.  April Fool’s indeed.  I wondered what the Waiting Man would have to say about that bit of news.

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You Had Me At Free

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I am cheap by nature, but that doesn’t mean I’m not generous.  I am generous with my time and affections, for sure.  Money? Not so much, teehee.  I clip coupons every week, much to my husbands annoyance.  I have stopped telling him how much I spend in a shopping trip.  At the beginning of the month I find out my budget and instead come home reporting how much I saved.  Coupons and flyers do take over our tiny kitchen sometimes, but I am learning how to keep them more organized.   

First place to start? Get a purse-sized organizer with accordian folds.  I got mine at my favourite dollar store, and it has ten pockets to organize my coupons.  I sort them into categories, and put the closest expiry dates in the front of the pile.  My every week shopping list gets tucked into the front.  This list has items I need every week because I can’t rely on my memory anymore.

Coupons can offer a way to try something new without wasting too much money.  Two weeks ago I got a FREE MAIL-IN REBATE for the new Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap Pump.  I bought the pump for $9.99, filled in the rebate and mailed it with my original receipt.  In a few weeks I should get a cheque in the mail.  I make sure to only do this with brands I trust. 

I plan my meals and purchases for the next week, based on the new flyers I get on Thursday evenings.  This is when the second list gets made, list your needed items by store and include the prices advertised.  This saves you from reading through all the flyers over over and over again.  I decide who has the best deals then bring ALL my flyers to the store that will price match.  There are people that still don’t know about price matching.  It is practised in many grocery stores, but in some stores it can also be applied to appliances, electronics, health & beauty, pet food, and baby items.  Sometimes it is only a matter of saving a few cents, but other times it means getting a $50 video game for $20.

Patience is important when it comes to getting good deals.  I will wait for the perfect sale and still hang on to every receipt.  Just in case the item goes on sale even more in the next two weeks, I will wait in line to get a price adjustment.  Some stores will give you money back up to a month after original purchase (Future Shop, I love you for this reason).

When I find a really good deal, will ask friends for the coupons in their newspaper too.

Visit websites of  the companies that make or promote your favourite things.  There are also free coupon websites that will let you browse through the brands that have offered deals.  Companies want your business.  They will give out free samples, coupons, and hold great contests to get your interest.  I just got 30% off my OLD NAVY purchase and saved more than $30 including the markdowns on the clearance items.  I got a long sleeved T-shirt for $1.23!!!  My total bill was $36 (for two T-shirts and a pair of yoga pants for me, and spring outfit including; 6 pairs of socks and a pair of sandals for baby girl).

Can you tell that I love a bargain?  I could go on and on about how much I love free stuff.  I am happy to do a little bit of work every week, to clip coupons, search the web, or pour over flyers to find the best deals.  It means that we get to live well, and within our budget, so we may have enough money to treat ourselves to a dinner out.  In the really tight budget months it means we don’t have to use credit cards just to eat and put diapers on the baby.  With a little time and planning, a good deal could mean stretching your budget a long way.  For me it means sneaking in a cute shirt, or a new lipgloss.  Especially when I shop at a department store that has everything under one roof.  Happy Savings!

*stock photos courtesy of dreamstime.com