Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm Afraid Even Walgreens Disappoints

So, I found online all these claims that WGs would give me 3 8x10 photos. Sweet. I ordered three cute ones we had in our computer, but upon arriving, they informed me that only one would be free. I knew they'd probably run the deal again, so I turned down the offer to take home the other 2 for just $2.50 each. If reading the fine print would have helped, I'd be advising myself to do that next time. Oh well. No way will I bad-mouth them for only one free picture though. ;-)

Alas, I arrived this morning an hour and three minutes after they opened and was too late to pick up a free hairdryer. Oh well. I have two already. I was going to use this one as a gift . . . sometime.

There's always next week, eh? The fun continues. . .

CVS Super Sales

I wasn't at the store at midnight. I might have considered it if I had really thought about it, but I didn't really know until yesterday, and I wasn't going to go then. So I ended up with Halls cough drops, Crest toothpaste, and Listerine. All for $0.38. Not complaining, not complaining. How'd you do?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Part 2-And Then the Sun Arose

It wasn't there! I had risked the ire of the cashier only to have another transaction fall flat? It was then that I fell apart. (By the way, if you're lost, see Part 1-"It was a dark and rainy night. . .") "Why do I even bother to do this! It never turns out how I plan."

My astonished husband assured me everything would be fine.

Fine! How could anything possibly be fine when we were sitting in a car full of 7 bags of $3 candy we'd never tried, that we didn't need, and we never would have given a passing glance to if they weren't going to be FREE? And no Extra Care Bucks to show for them. And my coupons were gone. The realization of what had gone wrong slowly rattled into clarity in my befuzzled brain. Not only were the Clusters not part of the deal--of course, it all makes sense now! Neither were the Reeses Pieces.

And here is where the Extra Care Plan really shines. The card. I didn't have to use the same receipt or buy all the candy at once. I have a card. (At least I used to have a card. But Jon still had a copy of the card, and he would give me his if we never found my keys. Which we did. But that's another, much shorter, story.) And by means of this card, any cash register in any CVS in the country remembers me, knows my name, and retains a record of my purchases.
In short, we could go home. I'd fix the whole mess later.

I was still somewhat irked that we had just paid full price ($3.99) for a bag of Reese Pieces that clearly stated they were 2/$4. I'm sure they were labeled that way. I just know they were. But that doesn't matter any more.

I returned Friday to my CVS. The one with the really, really nice clerks. I was prepared to do something only people like you, my readers, will understand. I was going to attempt to return a $4 bag of candy so I could buy $2 worth of candy so I could get $10 back.
To bring my story to a happy conclusion, it not only worked like a charm, it restored my confidence in the general helpful, cheerful character of CVS employees. I had two of the very nicest to assist me in my little adventure that day. And it will be to the Taylors CVS that I take as much of my future CVS buisness as I can.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It was a dark and rainy night. . .

So. It never goes quite as planned, does it? At least I don't think it does. But, though I really thought all was lost at one point, it turned out just fine in the end. Dramatic? Yeah, well, you should have been there. My husband should have been ruing the day I ever heard of the Extra Care Program. But he was really nice. And, as fairness demands me to add, he was right; and I was wrong. But it sure looked bleak.

Here's what happened. We had to go after church on Wednesday, since we were getting this little gift for Thursday (which incidentally we forgot on Thursday, so the recipient never would have known the difference, but that's neither here nor there), and it was raining, and it was late. So we had to go to the CVS which is opened 24 hours, not the one right on the way. I had my list planned. I even dropped a hint that Jon stay in the car with the baby so we didn't have to haul him in and out of the car seat. Once again, he was right, and. . . you get the idea. I rarely just "run in" to a CVS; something always throws off my plan or looks different from the ad or something. This night was no exception.
So I got the candy. Jon kept saying, "One more time, how will this be free?" I got 5 bags of Bliss, 1 bag of Reeses Clusters (because the coupon showed Reeses Clusters; my fatal mistake was assuming the ad also did), and a bag of Reeses Pieces that I still would declare to you were marked 2/$4. Perfect. $20 exactly. Doesn't usually work that way on "Spend $xx, get $y Extra Bucks" deals.
Now to find the contact solution and Powerade so my total will be over $15. (Insert disappointed cartoon music here, you know "Wamp, wamp, wamp, waaaaamp.") No contact solution. A nine-dollar monkey wrench at 9:30 at night with a restless one-year-old and an admittedly understanding husband who is not quite in the same Extra Care zone can cause things to fly apart. But it didn't. After locating the Powerade, I was about to say, "Forget it. I'll spend my $15 later," when Jon says from behind the ad of all places, "Hey, you could get handsoap here. You get $3 back. Well, we needed handsoap, and I knew for a fact I did not have SoftSoap coupons at home to mock me when I returned after having not had them with me, so I jumped.
We checked out. The cashier insisted that I hand her my Extra Bucks along with my coupons. I was momentarily nervous about whether that would throw off my beautiful $4/$20, but it didn't. The total was $5.36 even after the $15 ECB--well over what I expected it to be. That should have impelled me to stay right by the register until I had figured out exactly what happened. But I knew I was getting lots of Extra Bucks back so I allowed two things to lull me into complacency: 1) The receipt was a mile long; I knew the Hershey deal must have been successful, 2) The cashier was not at her perkiest at 9:30, and appeared to wish me and my coupon-using self anywhere but in front of her register. I was intimidated, and I thanked her most politely for her help (she hadn't seen anything yet, I'm afraid) and ducked through the rain to my car.
Whereupon I devoured my receipt as I always do to figure out just how I'd faired. (Cheesey dramatic music "Dun, dun, Duuuuuuuuuun") We got the soap, we got the Powerade. . .no $10 for the Hershey.
"We've got to go back!"
"No way."
"No, no. We never would have bought all that candy if it wasn't super cheap! Oh no, and the lady doesn't want to see me again!"
As the car is U-turning on 291, "Want me to do it? I don't know what I'm doing."
Slight pause. It's tempting, but he's right. "No. I'll go in," I said flatly, wishing I'd never heard the word "deal."
Sheepishly I approach the counter. "Umm, I must have misread the sign. These Clusters were right next to the other candy. . . but can I exchange them for the other kind that qualifies for the Extra Bucks?"
"Only the ones marked go with the deal."
Knowing it would be impolite to point out that I had as good as just said that very thing to her, I said an innocuous, "Yeah. Would it be all right if I return these and get the other kind?"
"Yeah. I can do a refund and then you can buy the other kind. Only the ones that say they go with the deal really work."
By this time, I was beginning to feel that perhaps this would be a good time to play dumb. I had a suspicion I was as familiar with the oft-referred to "deal" as she, but prudence seemed to support a meek, "Yeah." Because, you see, I failed to mention earlier that we were nearly late to church on account of a desperate search for my key ring. So I didn't even have my card. I had used the bigger one that Jon carries, but he now had that in the car with Paul.
"I, umm, left my card in the car. . ."
I was not rewarded with the customary "No problem; how about a phone number!" I am used to hearing from CVS cashiers. Rather I got a dubious, "We can try a phone number."
Endeavoring not to feel that I was suspected of putting one over on her, I responded with my husbands cell-phone number (our main contact).
Tappity, tappity. "Nope."
"Oh." (She'll never take back the Clusters.) "Okay, how about [my cell phone number]?"
It worked. I felt like a "not guilty" verdict had been handed down. She gave me the money for the Clusters in cash, rang up the Bliss, received three of the dollars she had just handed me, printed out another mondo receipt, and bid me a fond farewell.
Back in the car, I triumphantly pulled out the new receipt and searched for the $10 Hershey Extra Bucks. . .

That's enough for one post, I think. I'll be back later with . . . the rest of the story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CVS Battle Plan 12.10.08

I don't usually spend too much time posting about CVS here because my mom doesn't have any she can go to. So I just make my little lists and head there when they've got smashing deals. They haven't passed up WGs in my opinion, but I would be remiss not to check them out every week. I've got a $15 ECB that's kind of hard to spend and still get a good return, but I think I can do it this week. Here's what I'm hoping to buy:

$18 6 bags of Hershey Bliss candy
$2 4 other Hershey candies that are 2/$1
$8.99 Complete contact solution (I don't wear contacts, but my sisters do)
$1.59 PowerAde

$4/$20 CVS coupon that was e-mailed to me
3 $2.50/2 Hershey Bliss coupons
$2 Complete IPQ here

So I get to use my $15 ECB since the total will be $17.08 (plus tax).
Then my friend the register will spit out $20.58 in ECBs. I love it when I come out on top! And imagine all that candy around here!!

Walgreens Battle Plan 12.10.08

It's shaping up to be a good one. Right when I needed laundry detergent too. I had to ask my college student sisters to bring their own last time. Only they don't have their own. Go figure. But we had enough for last week, but it'd be pushing it for this week. So, you'll rejoice with me that I'm picking up:

4 Arm and Hammer laundry detergents for 5.96 (details here). I didn't bother to go to another computer to get 2 more printables, so I'm settling for getting my soap for $.96 rather than getting paid $1.04 to buy it. I know. . . I'm a pushover.

So that'll be the first Walgreens. Did I mention I get $5 in Register Rewards from that soap deal. Okay, so I had the hardest time coming up with enough stuff to cost $5, but by throwing in a treat or two and a necessity I have no coupons for, I came up with:

$2.99 2 Nestle ice creams
$4.99 2 Maybelline lip sticks
$2.50 Sure deodorant
$2 Scotch tape
$2.50 chicken wings
$.99 (hopefully) Walgreens brand hand soap--we're fresh out
$.99 Reynolds wrap (after in-ad coupon; don't know the price before)
$16.96 (before tax)

2 $4 Maybelline lip make-up coupons (12/7 insert)
$1 Sure coupon here
$1 Reynolds foil coupon (11/16 insert)
$1.50 Sure ESQ

For a grand total on the register of $5.46 (plus applicable taxes). Which I will spend my Register Rewards to obtain, leaving my gift card $.46 (plus tax) lighter. Okay, and on the tax thing, I know how to calculate sales tax, but in my state, they don't charge sales tax for food, and I'm really not sure if that includes ice cream, and besides that leaves me with all kinds of nonterminating decimals or whatever, so just mentally tack on around 6% of my original $16.96 to the final $.46 total, kay?

So for the whole day, folks, I'm planning to plunk down $6.42 plus tax for the above products. Except that on account of the tape I can expect another $2.20 to find its way to my gift card when all is said and done. So let's call it $4.22 (plus tax, which is roughly $.84) for just. . .yeah, boatloads of merchandise. What a blessing! And right when I needed laundry detergent. . .

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Glorious Dress

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in Thy great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

-Nikolaus von Zinzendorf

Last night's sermon focused my attention on the righteousness of Christ. His impeccable life has been attested to by impartial observers like Pilot and enemies like the Pharisees, Judas, and the unsuccessful false witnesses drummed up to testify against Jesus. Even the great infidel Thomas Payne admits that Christ's morality is above reproach. Actually, have you ever heard anyone claim that Jesus was a bad man?

Christ's apostles testify again and again of His perfection. Though they are quite candid about detailing their own failings and sinfulness as well as that of their fellow workers in some cases, no one has one negative incident in Christ's life to relate. After three years of close scrutiny, not one time does a Gospel writer report anything Jesus did requiring Him to ask anyone's pardon.

By far, however, the most convincing testimony for those of us who plan to be arrayed in Jesus's righteousness in the midst of flaming worlds is that of the Father Himself. "This is my Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).

Do you have this irreproachable righteousness as your glorious dress?

Back from vacation

Howdy. Vacation was great, if not exactly as expected. Ever had to quietly slip off the stage of a wedding due to sudden illness? Oh. Well, I have. Thankfully another bridesmaid thought to follow me down before I made off with the groom's ring.

Anyway. California is still itself and still home to some great people. (One fewer now that the wedding is over and she moved out this way, but who's counting?) So, the only problem was being there on November 28 with way too much to do to consider ducking into a drugstore for merchandise that was being handed out for the taking. And there aren't any CVSes for miles and miles. But I'm over it. I've got a stack of coupons to cut, enter, and file, and a whole week to enjoy drugstores to my heart's content.

And now, I have even more reason to be stockpiling toiletries, but more about that later.