Sofas, Memories, and Coupons

Mauree Miller

Today, I watched as two nice men hauled away our precious purple leather sofa and the “why did we ever pick that awful floral” sofa. I loved the purple leather, but the realization that it was part purple and part an unknown scratched worn color led to the decision to replace it. When we bought the floral sofa, it seemed like a good choice but when it arrived, it looked weird. But, over the course of 15 years, it became the beloved ugly duckling of the house.

Memories floated fondly as I watched the sofas go. There was the indentation on the purple one that represented my husband’s permanent space. I could visualize my daughter on the other end, lying on the big stuffed dog my son had bought her one summer from his job at FAO Schwartz. My son would be in the corner, wearing his favorite sweatpants and tee shirt, stretching his long legs almost to the edge. I go back farther, to the first sofa we had—gray canvas, but it was a bad choice because my son would fall asleep on it when he was little and drool as he slept. I learned that drool doesn’t come out of canvas. Although he stopped drooling long ago, I quickly found that leather is durable and the easiest to clean, so we opted for leather from then on. For my husband and me, the floral sofa was the last stop in the evening before bed, when we wanted to sit upstairs, watch TV, and check emails as the day slipped away.

In a major scheduling coup, I was able to have the old sofas removed in the morning and the new ones be delivered in the afternoon. How did I get such a seamless transition? Usually there is the “We only deliver to your area on Thursdays, between 9:22 and 3:35” type of deal on delivery. I avoided that problem by choosing a great single owner store where the owner got involved with our logistical needs and set things up accordingly. I nailed it down clearly when we made the purchase, making sure that he understood that we wouldn’t buy unless we were guaranteed what we needed on removal and delivery. We talked about the details, and checked out everything that he told us about the removal company and the delivery company. IT IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO ARRANGE DETAILS THROUGH A TRUSTED SOURCE AND DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE THE EVENT

What to do while I waited, missing what was gone and anticipating the newness and change to come? I decided to get practical and go through coupons. I love coupons, though they do involve significant work. When my children were small I was really diligent but finding the time is difficult. There are TV shows about couponing where you can see that maximizing savings is a career in itself, but you can do it in moderation and still save money. I learned to cut and organize coupons while I watched Sesame Street with my kids when they were small. Later, during their homework time, the coupons became my homework. Now, with the kids out of the house, I still do it, but less diligently. Today would be a good day to keep me less nostalgic about the passing of furniture and time and more focused on saving money.

There is a large chain store that advertises: “We are delighted to accept competitor coupons.” Notice that they don’t say “we will accept.” No, they say “we are delighted.” So why is it usually an ordeal as they scrutinize the competitor coupon as if it were written in Sanskrit and find a manager before finally take the coupon anyway? I’ve pointed out that they are supposed to be “delighted” to accept the coupon but the staff usually isn’t amused or convinced. I have gone over this with several managers, and it has gotten smoother. Today was great because I found a 30% coupon for an entire purchase in an email from another chain store. LOOK AT YOUR EMAIL. SOMETIMES YOU’LL FIND GOLD BURIED IN THE ROUTINE ADVERTISING. And lucky for me, today’s transaction was smooth.

Why did I use the coupon at a competing store? This store was conveniently located closer to my home for the delivery and their prices are better too, so 30% off lower prices becomes even more of a bargain. I handed the clerk my manufacturer’s coupons, as well as my 30% competitor coupon. My initial bill was $48.99 but after the 30% off, it went down to $34.29 and after my manufacturer’s coupons, I had a final bill of 26.79. I saved $22.20—almost half!!

Moral of the story—arrange your deliveries carefully, keep the nostalgia going, and when it all gets overwhelming, go out and save money!