This week, I did some shopping. I guess that is no different than any other week, but this week I took some time and asked some questions.
I went to Target. I had my shopping list (and my shopping list deals from CouponMom and BargainBlessings ) and my coupons. I knew what bargains there were to be had, and I knew what coupons I had. I did fairly well. I found a couple of deals that I didn’t know about. I spoke with a woman who stopped me in the store and asked how long I spent couponing each week and how much I saved. But, Target was out of one item. It was an item that I had 2 paper coupons and a mobile coupon for. It was also on sale. It was the Velveeta Skillet Meals. If I remember correctly, I would have gotten the product for about $0.60. Which would have been a great deal and was probably why they were out of stock.
I paid for my groceries and the cashier rang up my coupons. I was pleased with how much I spent/saved. Then I walked over to the customer service desk. I waited in line and when it was my turn, I asked the Customer Service person about when they expected to get the item in. At first she looked at me like I was nuts. I explained to her that I had coupons for the item and showed her the Target mobile coupon on my phone. She saw my coupon box (which is quite large) and asked when the coupon expired. The mobile coupon expired in 5 days. The paper coupons expired at the end of the month. But the deal, the item being on sale and being able to use a Target coupon and a manufacturer coupon would not be valid after the 5 days. So, I wouldn’t be able to double my savings. I just wanted to know if she knew when they would get more in or if they could give me a rain check. She explained that they didn’t know when the item would arrive and that she couldn’t give me a rain check for a coupon. I thanked her. Then, she asked me to wait for a moment. She unlocked a drawer and handed me 2 coupons. They were Target coupons thanking me for understanding that they inconvenienced me and they were for $3 each. Wow! $6 off next time I go into Target. My manufacturer coupons totaled $2 and the mobile coupon was $0.40. So a $3 off coupon from Target would have been sufficient. But I was polite and I didn’t ask for anything except for her to tell me when the product would be in. I smiled at her. It didn’t cost me anything except for a few extra minutes, but the payback was huge.
I also went to buy a new carpet cleaner (see post Doing the Job Right). I had done some research and found that the cleaner that I wanted was at Wal-Mart. They didn’t have it at Target. So, off I went. I found the one I wanted, but the box was open. There wasn’t another one. I looked at it and it looked like something was missing. I considered getting the non-pet model. I actually walked away and came back to the aisle. I looked at it again. And I went in search of a manager. When I found one, I told him that the item I wanted to purchase was opened and that it was the only one on the shelf. I asked if they might have another one somewhere. He asked me to show him, so we walked to the item. He looked at the open box and asked if there was a reason I didn’t want that one. I told him that it looked to me like it was missing some parts, but it was hard to tell. He assured me that all the parts should be there and that most likely it was returned and that the staff checked it before they put it out on the shelf. He then asked if I would purchase the carpet cleaner if he gave me a discount.
Wow. He told me that what would happen would be that the product would sit on his shelf and that people wouldn’t buy it for the same reason as me (the box was open) and he would give me a discount if I bought it. Ok, I know that Bissell stands behind their products and if there was something wrong with it, I would have no problems with Bissell. I confirmed with the manager that I would be able to return it if there was a problem. He gave me $15 off the carpet cleaner. The original price was $167, so not quite 10%. I should have asked for $20 or 15%, but I took my $15.
When I put the carpet cleaner together, it was missing a part. It was one of the attachments. The pet stain attachment. No biggie. I called Bissell (on the box it tells you not to return the product to the store). They are sending me a new attachment. It should be here in a few days.
Chris would tell you that I complain too much. But honestly, I have softened in my middle age. I ask questions and wait for responses. I complain when things aren’t as expected (bad service, etc). We work too hard for our money to pay for things that aren’t as they are supposed to be. But asking non-confrontational questions seems to be the way to go. It doesn’t always pay off, but this week it did.
And it works in other areas of my life. At one of Michael’s soccer games, the referee wasn’t calling a kid for illegal throw ins. Well, she was and letting him do it again. For 5th/6th grade soccer the kids should know better. And this kid was a good player. Each time he would throw the ball in, he would do it illegally. She would call him back and let him do it again. I couldn’t figure out why. So, I asked her about the illegal throw-ins and how he was doing it. They were specific questions (how many steps past where the ball went out could he take to throw it in, am I correct in thinking that both arms need to be straight, etc). They were to ensure that I understood and I told her that. She explained that for the first 2 games of the season the referees “instructed” the kids. Meaning if they made a mistake, if it worked, they were allowed to try again. This is a recreational league, so that makes sense. After the first 2 games, the referees would continue to “instruct,” but the kids didn’t get the “do-over.” I can accept that. But I asked her, how many times does a kid get to be “instructed” when it appears that he is trying to get away with “cheating.” The boy who continued to throw the ball in illegally, took many steps past the spot where the ball went out of bounds. He did it over and over again and he was a good enough player (skill-wise) that he should have known better. She apologized and told me that she should have been watching more closely. She said that she would make sure that he followed the rules in the future. I can’t ask for anything else.