1. I go to the grocery store.
2. I park, climb out, lock the car. I walk two steps, stop, turn, unlock the car, climb back in, fish around my purse for a deposit slip, and put my checks in order.
3. The bank is just inside the store. I get a grocery flyer and a cart, and park it empty next to a row of halloween candy. As the clerk tallies my deposit, I scan the ads.
4. This is my third grocery store this week. I have a coupon for $10 off $50, but I’m not sure I will be spending that much. Although there is a good sale on beef and frozen vegetables.
5. I scope out the meat aisle and decide what to come back for at the end of my trip. I select 4 kiwis and a bunch of asparagus. I swing through the dairy aisle looking for markdowns. There are none. I debate pasta, chow mein noodles, and baked beans. I settle on the baked beans to go with porkchops tonight. I pick up a can of tomato soup for lunches. I try to think what else might sound good. I look for protein shake mix, and I finally find it in the far back corner. I spend ten minutes reading ingredient lists, and I reject them all. I will try again at another store. Clif bars are on sale, and I think that will do in a pinch next time I’m not hungry. I stock up on 15 packs of frozen veggies, and I think about all the meals I will make this winter. I go heavy on broccoli and green beans, light on corn and peas. I go searching for Nutella, because I remember that Tim mentioned it weeks ago. I am sorry I have forgotten until now.
6. I try to keep a running calculation in my head of my total. I think it is well under $50…closer to $30, but I’m not sure. I don’t think about it enough, and when I get through checkout, the total comes to $40.28.
7. I kick myself for being all kinds of stupid. I could have gotten a lot of free meat if I’d been more aware. $10 worth. That would have fed us for weeks.
8. This is the up and down of couponing: the elation of savings over against the sinking failure of an opportunity lost.
9. The man who pushes my cart out to the car is deaf. I find this out after I attempt to make conversation. I wish I knew sign language. I think how good it is that the store has hired him, and I am glad he is helping me.
10. I don’t fill up the gas on the way home even though I want to keep the tank full so Tim won’t have to stop on his way to work next week. I forget because I am still wallowing in my coupon woes. I double kick myself the whole way home.
(11. Don’t worry, I’m over it now.)