Save Money. Make Others Lives Miserable.

This lemon? Maybe 10% as sour and angry as I was.

Either Wal-Mart has a coupon problem, or I have an anger management problem. Both is always a possibility.

Yesterday I was off on my mini-vacation. I figured a Tuesday afternoon, on a day that wasn’t the first, last, or 15th of the month, might actually not be a nightmarish time to pick up our groceries at Wal-Mart.

It was all going so well until I got to the checkout aisle.

That would be where I got trapped behind two ladies who were extremely determined to SAVE MONEY (presumably so they can also achieve the official Wal-Mart promise of LIVE BETTER).

In their quest to SAVE MONEY (and, we can only assume, LIVE BETTER), they had a coupon or a memorized-but-apparently-undocumented lower price from another store for every. single. item. in their moderately full cart.

Every. single. item. They negotiated with the cashier over the price of every. single. item.

At one point, I briefly considered the possibility that taking up farming might have been a faster way to get food to my family.

At first, the poor cashier tried heroically to at least limit them to discounts where they had a coupon or sale paper or some tangible evidence that the discount price existed somewhere in our universe, but they kept arguing until they had her well and truly cowed. I think by the end they were just throwing out random names of stores and whatever price they wanted to pay for each item. I swear it sounded an awful lot like they were just making stuff up at that point.

You know, I know the economy sucks. I know that people are trying to cut costs however they can. But surely there’s some better way to handle this? Stores have “20 item or less” Express Lanes, why can’t they have “more than 3 coupon” Slow Lanes?

If you have more than 3 coupons or price match items, you go to the Slow Lane.  You do not pass go, you do not collect $200 in half-price cat food. You go DIRECTLY to the Slow Lane. There, you can all hang out in line, socialize, and watch each other painstakingly argue with the cashier to get an extra $.03 off a box of Tuna Helper.

And none of the rest of us will be tempted to beat you to death with a can of frozen condensed orange juice.

Except maybe the poor cashier.


  1. ·

    I worked briefly as a grocery store cashier when I was in college and saw this a lot. We didn’t price match, though, so when someone told me “Publix has that for 10 cents less,” I would smile and say “This is Kroger, though.”

    What I really hated were the customers who would hand over a gigantic stack of coupons mostly for items they didn’t purchase. I eventually imposed a three unused coupon limit. Once I hit that you got your stack of coupons back and you could either not use any more or you could sort out the ones you actually did use. Surprisingly nobody ever complained.


  2. ·

    That’s crazy! Although partly inculcated by Walmart itself. Honestly, they could have used that same energy and time to *create more* money for themselves instead. (and spared you)

  3. Kat French

    Charles – I’m betting they knew they were skating on thin ice in terms of the social contract anyway, hence the lack of complaint.

    Nancy – People will go to extraordinary lengths to feel like they’re getting something for nothing. Making money ends up feeling like work, even if it’s, to your point, less work than “saving money.”


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