My In-Box is full - daily. Sadly not with notifications from friends on face book or alerts for comments on the blog or even from friends just sending me good old fashioned emails - in spite of my pleas for communication. No! My inbox is full of promises... Lies and Promises. I don't mean I have secured a publishing agent and have promises of a book deal on my blog. I have missed that boat - some bint in the North has already done that. (actually I really must read that book because apparently one day her new neighbours discover she has been writing a blog about them and their ways... I could do with some top tips of how I extricate myself from such a situation in case my American neighbours ever discover my blog... I wonder if they still lynch? This is the south).
No! My inbox is full of promises of rewards from stores. Somehow I have joined LOTS of store reward programmes - inadvertently lured when I have been asked for my email address from the store assistant. They ask for your email address like your purchase depends upon it and stupidly I have given it.... and WHAM you have SPAM!
America is a real 'something for nothing' coupon culture. A good colleague of mine told me once there is no such thing as a free lunch. He was right. I paid dearly for my free lunches as a teacher. Dry cleaning bills for the tomato sauce skirted up the back of my suit, the stress of having to sit with students in my only free time, the toll on my digestive system of free school dinners... He needs to tell Americans that there are no freebies! They get sooooo exited by 'Must have deals' that are so good it's like they are paying me... so good it is like it is free... so good the more I spend the more I earn! People actually shop according to the coupons they have. How does that work? could do with some cat food, my cats are starving but I don't have a coupon for cat food but hey I have a coupon for Cake. Let them eat cake!
My daughter loves the sparkly clothes they sell at one particular store. It is nasty . Clothes designed for hookers to fit little girls. (can they sue me for an opinion? Probably - this is America- Would I have to prove that hookers shopped there or little girls who shopped there became hookers in later life to escape a visit fro the law enforcement officer?). The prices at the ironically named Justice are expensive by USA prices for clothes unless you go on a 40% off everything (YES! 40% off everything) day. Then the prices are acceptable. Or you can go on a 'spend $50 get $25 off' day. Beware of these deals - sometimes you get the money as a rebate by sending in your receipt, joining their club, ticking the box accepting a shit load of spam, waiting 50 years and signing in blood... then you get a check (cheque) in the post minus handling costs.. not a lot you can do with a nickle and a dime (whatever they are). Just got a great deal though. My daughter is looking slutty tonight! Party girl!
Then there are the special member's deals - to our special friends we have priced this item as it should be. Not in our club? then pay treble you non belonger! For most of these kind of deals you just have to sign up for the aforementioned free store 'rewards' card. Yes! they will reward you with bright lights and voices in your head... No - sorry, it is God who does that. These cards just reward you with reasonable prices. Then there are shops you cant even go in unless you are a fully paid up member. Shops they charge you to join! How does that work! I inadvertenly tried to fill up at a petrol station of such a club. Luckily someone wanted the reward points they would get from me buying petrol and let me use their membership. I felt special - if only for a short while - then I was out of the club you have to pay to join...
I have realised that you have to resist the coupon culture - it sucks you in to buying shit you don't need. Hey - I had a coupon for a frontal lobotomy - BOG OF - I had one myself and gave the other to my BFF! The Buy-one-get-one-free deals are mostly for things you would not want two of! I have got to the point though where I do not pay full price for clothes. I have also realised that the more expensive the clothes or shop - the better the deal, probably because the initial mark-up is so absurd. My children now wear clothes I couldn't afford in England - Ralph Lauren, Gap, Osh Kosh... because you can get them for less than shopping at the equivalent of Tesco if you are savvy. I don't keep coupons (I forget I have them) but I do use common sense. You also have to resist the 'OMG - This is so cheap I'll have 6 of them' - because then it isn't cheap! (remember though - you are not allowed to say 'oh my God' - You can say 'Oh my Gosh' as a substitute - like saying freakin for f**king - I love the hypocrisy!!!)
So this is the land of the free (maybe) - but that doesn't include freebies. Don't believe the Lies and Promises... The Promised Land is full of them!