I have a bunch of those little discount tabs on my keychain, including one for CVS and their ExtraBucks program. I always present my keyring tab when making a purchase but up until recently, I’ve more or less ignored the subsequent 10-foot long receipts I would get when purchasing a pack of gum at CVS. But lately, I decided to start paying attention.
While a lot of the coupons on those receipts are irrelevant — $3 off a bottle of Fibercon tablets! Buy one bottle of Coppertone, get one free! — there are some pretty nifty deals to be had. Look — in this pile alone, I have $11 of essentially free money, plus $4 off if I buy $20 or more. I get $4 just for giving them my e-mail address, whereby they will likely send me MORE discounts. In the end, I could buy $20 worth of products for $5. Imagine how much toilet paper and deodorant that will get me! Not to mention trial size bottles! *drool*
This is not the first time I’ve exploited these types of opportunities for my own financial gain. Back in the day, I scrounged up $1 bargain bin copies of Brendan Benson’s “One Mississippi” and sold them on eBay for $20-plus. I bought Salvation Army CDs for $2 and resold them for twice or three times that amount online. I took advantage of the completely ridiculous buy-back values Strawberries had for used CDs by bringing in the dregs of my collection and getting a pretty penny in return. Perhaps in this day and age, I will sate my inner deal-hound through CVS coupons rather than hip bargain bin CDs. I am OK with that. Either way, the cheapskate inside me is content.
So, yeah. I know that in the end, their profit margins are probably such that I am only enjoying the illusion of milking their system. I know that given the prices they charge for things and the large number of people who ignore the coupons entirely, it is not like I am taking this giant corporation for a ride (as I did with the folks who bought the bargain bin CDs on eBay). They’re gaining my loyalty and my business, which for them is a big win. But you know what? I don’t have to think about the big picture. I’ll take my coupons, redeem them and be happy. And who knows? Maybe I’ll use the money saved to buy some bargain-bin CDs. There could be deals in there, you know.