Friday, February 11, 2011

Um, pardon me, I have a coupon...

For Christmas, my mother treated my father and my boyfriend each to a version of the "Entertainment Book." Remember it? Celebrated years ago as THE way to wine & dine a significant other, get sports equipment for the kids, or get an oil change at great prices? My mother swore by hers while I was growing up - and good for her, too. I'm sure there were many things we could not have afforded at regular prices, but were lucky enough to experience because of the coupons.

My mother is a bit dejected by this year's offering, however. She says that the conditions under which you can use the coupons have changed quite a bit. Where before you could simply "Buy one entree, and get one of equal or lesser value for half price", you now can only "Receive $5 off of your meal when spending $60 or more." I suppose this is more worrisome because my parents are no longer taking kids in tow when they go to a restaurant, and my boyfriend and I are just two people, so a $60 meal, even with a discount, is often more than we'd spend. This renders many coupons useless.

What about the ones in the book that you can't use? You pay for them all, and you get them all - even if you don't have a car that needs an oil change, or pets that need grooming, or carpeted floors that would require carpet cleaning. If coupons you don't need make up a significant portion of the book, how useful is the book to you?

Additionally, if you can look through the book beforehand, be mindful of expiry dates. A year-long book is great, but if most of the coupons expire before June of the given year, how great a deal is the book, really?

Once I get back home, I'm going to take a good hour at least to sit down with our coupon book and see how much of it we can use. After all these years of watching my family at work, I'm sure I've perfected the signature phrase of, "Um, pardon me, I have a coupon..."

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