Extreme Couponing/Menstruating

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Growing up, my sister and I weren’t close.

Because she is younger, I felt like she wasn’t on the same intellectual level that I was. We had no common interests: She liked handbells, I licked doorbells. She would play house, I would tap every piece of furniture/appliance/inanimate object in the house (just so there were no hurt feelings and the ottoman wouldn’t think that I was giving preferential treatment to the toaster oven).

But now that we’re older and wiser and my sister has suddenly developed her own OCD-triggered quirks, things are different.

Now when she has exciting news, I’m the first one to hear about it. Like the time she entered a random draw and won a new car. Or last November, when she went into labor with my nephew. Or just the other week, when she found out Shopper’s Drug Mart was having a sale on feminine hygiene products.

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Recently, in an effort to keep my blog from collecting dust while waiting for my fiance/online scam artist to either put up or shut up, I asked my sister if I could interview her.

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.**Warning- The following interview contains material that may not be relevant/interesting for some people. Reader discretion is advised.

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Interview With A Couponing Enthusiast

Me: How did you first get into couponing?

Sis: I saw a show called Extreme Couponing when I was in the states and I thought…”Wow…I wish I could do that.”  And then a friend told me I could!

Me: Do any of your friends share your passion/illness?

Sis: My friend Hayley. We both have the same hoarding/OCD issues so it can get a little crazy. After a good score we generally text back and forth for hours going over the  transaction. (”…and then the cashier said such-and-such and I was like what?”)

Me: Where do you shop? Have cashiers ever refused to serve you?

Sis: Usually Superstore and Walmart. Safeway is usually more expensive but when they have a B1G1 sale (‘Buy One Get One’) you can really score if you have a coupon for a free item.

Most cashiers don’t like us when they see us coming but so far only one has refused to ring us through.  There are a few cashiers who are amazed by our skill. Sometimes we give them a coupon to to use themselves.

Me: Your kindness is inspiring. Why don’t you show us some of the items you currently have in your stockpile.

Sis: My pleasure.

IMG_2107 You can call this one “Christmas gifts may be a little awkward this year!”
And a tip: When buying 26 boxes of tampons go to the young guy. He will not
 question your coupon and try and get you out fast!

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IMG_2110 I keep this cupboard closed when new people come over. At
least until they know I’m not insane. Also, there are 32 cans
of shaving cream…and my legs are still hairy!

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IMG_2115I got these for $0.32 each.  Haven’t bought laundry soap in over a year!

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IMG_2108I don’t even have a dog.

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IMG_2112I like having options for my hair.

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IMG_2114I think this shows my passion for oral care.

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IMG_2317 2Any guesses what my deal was this week?
Haha no not free but $1.33 a pack.

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Me: I notice that a lot of your purchases consist of toiletries. Since when did you suddenly develop an interest in personal hygiene?

Sis: Food coupons are rarely healthy choices so it’s really my only option.

Me: How many boxes of tampons does one person need?

Sis: It depends on your age and when menopause kicks in. But in general I’d say at least a thousand in a lifetime.

Me: If you had a coupon for these would you buy them?

charmponsfinall

.Sis: Yes.

Me: Thanks. I came up with it myself.  Anyway, back to the questions. Do you have any funny couponing stories you’d like to share?

Sis: It was early in our couponing days and we were at superstore. Back then we didn’t know the cashiers so we went through some bitter old lady’s till. She looked at the coupons, looked at the item and said we had the wrong product. The coupons even had a picture of the product on it, so we questioned her. Then she got mad and shouted at my friend that she smelled like cheese.

When we asked for a manager she said she would let us off the hook this time. We were like “Let us off the hook for what?” But we saw our co-workers in line behind us so we just let it go.

Me: I said “funny” stories.

Sis: Every time Phil [Ollie’s Dad] comes over to watch Ollie I have had tampons strategically placed throughout the apartment. I like to admire my haul for a few days.  Anyway, I finally put them away and then one day I came home and suddenly they turned up in the bathroom in a pyramid. haha

Me: You should submit that one to Reader’s Digest. They’d be all over it.

Sis: Yeah. they can put it under Life’s Like That or Menstruating.

Me: Hypothetically speaking, say your family came to visit one weekend and you invited your sister to run errands with you. Assuming you wanted to bond with her, she agreed. After spending the next ten minutes driving in complete silence (something about you not being able to “talk and steer” at the same time),  you arrived at the store parking lot, at which point you then jumped out of the car and yelled “MEET ME AT THE HEALTH AND BEAUTY SECTION” before rushing the front doors and elbow-checking the Walmart Greeter.

When your sister finally tracked you down, you then shoved a stack of coupons and 12 sticks of deodorant in her arms and said “Make sure you go to a guy cashier because they don’t question you.” (This is a rhetorical question by the way.)

Sis: I’d say you have a good sister that takes care of your hygiene. Most people don’t have that.

Me: That reminds me,  do you remember when you used to wear deodorant on your forehead? (Again, rhetorical question.)

Sis: Do you rmember when you tried to make me drink your urine? (Also a rhetorical question.)

Me: You’re obviously suffering from reverse-toxic-shock syndrome-related delusions because that didn’t happen. Also, you really need to look up what the word “rhetorical” means. Now, moving on…what advice would you give to people who want to pursue this socially-maladjusted lifestyle?

Sis: You have to have time on your hands and a good memory. You need to go through each flier every week to check out the sales and match them with your coupon. Some cashiers will inspect your coupons and try and find something wrong with them. We call these cashiers the coupon inspectors. They are usually bitter old woman who hate to see anyone get anything for free.

Me: Sounds fun.

Sis: It’s a bit of a mental illness, really. But at least it’s not heroin.

Me: No need to explain. Any time a single woman brags about having hairy legs and a fondness for dog food, the mental illness part goes without saying.

Sis: To be fair, I was getting the dog food for Nicki. Apparently her dog has allergies. So does Brandy’s dog. And so does Marion’s.

Me: Don’t worry. I’m sure one of  your non-discriminating dog owner friends will appreciate your generosity.

Sis:IMG_2122 copy copy

.Me: Okay so I was wrong. Just out of curiousity, does it ever occur to you that I was the one mom and dad sent to see a psychologist?

Sis: My kind of OCD is useful. What good does counting sidewalk squares do for anyone? Or tapping your nose 49 times on both sides so one side doesn’t feel bad?

Me: Yes, I’m sure your friend Brad would agree that your kind of crazy is waaaay more useful. One last question… You do realize panty liners can’t love you back, right?

Sis: They weren’t built for love. Just protection.

Me: Thank-you for your time. I look forward to Christmas, when I can once again open each of the 143 individually-wrapped Lady Speed Sticks you have waiting for me under the tree.

Sis: Don’t forget about the toothpaste. I really spoiled you this year.

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~Later That Night~

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Comments

  1. Well, if she ever gets attacked by wild dogs, the dog food could come in handy. Maybe she’s not sick. Maybe she’s a survivalist.

  2. LMFAO! I wish I knew how to do that though. Plus I bleed like a …nevermind. I really would love to do that, dead serious. But since I’m getting ragged on for my hoarding and general messiness, it’s prolly good thing.
    TLC, the channel that airs extreme couponing, makes their money on people with OCD so much that it should be called The OCD Channel instead of The Learning Channel. There’s Hoarding: Buried Alive. My Strange Addiction ( a show about people eating weird stuff like the stuffing out of furniture. And you know that a show called 19 Kids and Counting might be a little …They also do shows about little kids. Toddlers and Tiaras and one on cheerleading where perfection is key. It is one funky channel. I’m surprised they haven’t brought it up north.

    • To be honest, a lot of my friends are in awe of her couponing prowess. I would probably be too, if I didn’t feel so anxious every time I hold up people in the check-out line.
      They actually do air the show in Canada now. I tried watching it but I just can’t handle how anti-climatic it is. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like there’s only so many times you can build suspense around the total of someone’s grocery bill before it gets stale.
      Watching spoiled toddlers being paraded around like eye-candy, however, is totally up my alley!

  3. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Your sister and I are so much alike…two soybeans in an edamame pod! Yes, it is true it behooves you to size up the cashier before slinging your loot onto the conveyor belt. I no longer ‘extreme coupon’ but when I did I had to threaten to “call corporate” often or engage the hostile cashier in a verbal tussle. Cashier (snarling): “WHERE DID YOU GET ALL THESE COUPONS?!!!!?” Me (meekly): “eBay.” Cashier: “WE HAVE A THREE ITEM LIMIT!!!!!!!!” Me: “Where is that policy posted?” Cashier: “THREE ITEMS!!!!” Me: “May I speak with a manager and get the number for corporate headquarters?” And so on. So terribly tiresome. I only coupon now to stock up on toothpaste and dental floss (1-3 years supply). Las Vegas has cracked down on couponing limits over the years so I used to use my daughters to shop. “OK, here is the drill: we go in separately and use DIFFERENT cashiers so they don’t catch on we are together.” This too, got old. I now shop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, but still religiously go through newspaper inserts ‘just in case.’ Your sister is right: the food coupons are mostly for junk. (P.S. I can’t park and listen to music simultaneously.)

    • It’s funny how employees can be so vigilant when the merchandise doesn’t even belong to them. When I was a cashier, I had no problem giving customers as many items as they wanted. The more they bought, the less I had to ring through later. Granted, because I was young and naive at the time, I wasn’t aware that stores actually restocked their shelves at night. Or that coupons were considered the same as cash and giving customers a “ten items for one coupon” deal would result in your till being short every shift.

      Come to think of it, I guess that explains why I wasn’t there very long.

      • elizabeth3hersh says:

        I just finished a 3-year supply of dental floss.It was so much more convenient to purchase in bulk on sale with additional savings off with a coupon rather than chase down a sale every time I needed floss. Same with a lot of other products I use on a regular basis. But, it’s a lot of work. I think I am going to throw in the towel and just go with a run-of-the-mill sale. I envy your sister’s energy!

  4. Do you want me to rent a van for when we rescue / abduct your nephew during the intervention? Also, do you think we could grab a few boxes of tampons? I want to see if they will block my poop hole effectively on long trips. (Like when I have to drive my abduction van long distances).

  5. I don’t know if I’ve every read something so funny/sad/horrifying before in my life.
    Mostly because OBs suck and I wouldn’t use them if they were GIVING THEM AWAY WITH A FREE CAR.
    Tell your sister when I food shop I have ANY idea what the things I usually buy costs me. Not that I’m rich – I’ve just been buy the same shit for years. If suddenly Reese’s mint jelly was $40 an ounce, I would have no idea.
    No, wait, don’t tell her that. I don’t want her to know I exist. I think that is best.

    • I’m the same way. Honestly, if Reese’s mint jelly was $100 an ounce I would have no idea. But then again that’s probably because I only buy Reese’s peanut butter cups.

  6. I went through a couponing phase myself. I also ended up with a lot of feminine hygiene products. I used to like to think that I’d have something to barter with should society collapse.

  7. Calendula B. says:

    Two years ago, for a really horrendous eight months or so, they stopped making OB tampons. Really, the factory struck some kind of deal and went into production for Kotex instead, Kotex U is an OB tampon inside a plastic applicator, so basically the most eco-toxic thing you could do to a product that was relatively eco-sane – they did.

    Anyway, that’s not the point, the point is this:

    When OB went out of production, some women are so loyal to the brand that they went onto EBay in search of resale/grey market OB tampons. (I almost did it myself – OB Ultras are the only thing that works for me.)

    So this happened; within a few weeks, if you really, really wanted OB tampons, you could go online and find them for a minimum of $50 a box. No word of a lie. That’s a thousand per cent more than you would have paid for them on sale.

    Even now, it’ll cost you over $10 to get a package of 40 OB tampons on Ebay, and they’re still selling.

    My point is – there is money to be made in the weirdest places and frankly, every time I lay down $30. a month in service of five days of pure hell, I am angry about it. (I have really difficult periods, but then again, that’s another story.)

    Save me $360 a year for 40 years or more? Yes please. Sign me up. I wish I’d figured out how to do this when I was 14.

    Bring on the menopause – I am ready for it any time.
    (ps. I’m married and he’s fantastic. Your sister will find her spouse when it’s time and not before.)

    • elizabeth3hersh says:

      I checked on eBay and sure enough they are selling! One buyer paid almost a $100 for ten boxes plus a ridiculous $53.95 for shipping.

      • Calendula B. says:

        Believe me – if you’re one of the women for whom nothing else will even give you a free hour, that sounds pretty reasonable. When they were impossible to get, I would have done it at $20. a box but they went up much higher, much faster.

        It annoyed me to no end to open up one of those stupid, supposedly new, technicolored Kotex U tampons in a plastic wrapper, with a plastic applicator, and find an OB super inside.

  8. Oh. My. Sometimes to be a guy. *eye roll*

  9. I also have sisters and I feel your pain.

    Having said that, I am really into op shopping (thrift shopping for US) and I find bargains everywhere and get reeeeeally excited and then call my sisters to tell them what I find.

    Neither of them will set foot in an op shop but if I wash things before I give them and pretend they are new they will go along with it.

    I may actually be more on your sister’s side. Sorry. Are you younger or older sis?

  10. This is hilarious. The guy who works in our mailroom is an extreme couponer/hoarder and has an entire room in his apartment (can’t afford a house when you spend all your money on dozens of rolls of saran wrap) that’s set up like a grocery store. I could benefit from your sister’s tampon supply though– though I’ve now been menstruating for 13 of my 27 years, I still fail to properly plan and am always running around begging for tampons like some sort of panhandler. Everyone I work with went through Menopause about 30 years ago so it’s always a dead end. I could use that big stack o’ feminine products. My favorite was the photo of them dumped all over the ground like candy after Halloween.

  11. Wait… so it’s not normal to have a room full of hygiene products?

  12. I never thought I would start following the tag “tampon hoarding”, this is incredible hahaha

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