I’m not crazy about couponing. I tried that a few years back but the successful money saving algorithm escaped my methods. My efforts turned into spending more than saving so I ditched the lists that led me all over town.
For some reason I still cut out some of the coupons that come in the mail, but I rarely get around to using them. I have even tried keeping them in my wallet, but they always get neglected and put in their final recycle bin resting place a year after expiration. Maybe my subconscious is hoping that I will become a responsible functioning adult someday. Apparently, those money-savers are tickets to grown-up success. If only I could figure out how to make them work. There must be a secret button that turns them on.
The only ones I get around to using are the shiny little papers that have F-R-E-E boldly printed on the front. I’m not talking about buy-one-get-one free or spend $100 to get something free. I’m no sucker. I learned my lesson earlier. The man won’t get me with his tricky ploys. The ones I like are just free. No strings attached. Free and clear of manipulative wizardry.
Where do these coupons exist, you might ask. This magic comes in the form of a little cardboard card with a scantily clad, photoshopped 20-something on the front. Normally, this model robot, who we all know isn’t real, is staring off at something in the corner of the room. I have no freaking idea what she’s staring at, but whatever this robot is doing works. Victoria Secret is trying to be meek and alluring at the same time, but we all know her cute little smirk says, “YES! YOU CAN HAVE ONE. YOU GET A FREE PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!!!”
The execs at VS are geniuses because this little card gets me into their store every. single. time. Never mind most of the free products end up wadded up and thrown into the back of my underwear drawer. Those smooth silky things are wedgie magnets and I can’t function like that. But these little pieces of fabric art are free. Just free, and normally with their own strings still attached. Bonus.
It’s great. I get to walk in, grab my brand spankin’ new undies and stroll out of the store without ever digging into the abyss that is my purse. My wallet never makes an appearance. Free is a magic four letter word.
Every few months the postman delivers this card to my mailbox. When I open that promise of complimentary sexiness, I get giddy. I start to visualize how I am going to trick that sneaky Victoria Secret. Her mystery has nothing on me. I’m no dummy. I know these on-the-house panties are just a ploy to get me into their store, but remember, I’m not a coupon newbie. I know how to put on blinders and walk past the cute AND sexy sports bra. I can ignore the soft stretchy yoga pants. The glittery-lettered “bombshell” would look awesome on my booty, but, NO. I’m not a sucker. Those PINK tanks and shorts, meant for girls 15 years my junior, fit really well on me…. Don’t get sucked in Lindsey. Blinders, remember? I’m here to get my free stuff and that’s it. Stay strong.
Since I had never set foot in this VS, I made sure to do an observational pass-by before going into the viper’s nest. As I slowly strolled along on the shiny mall tiles, I peered into the wide entrance. Okay, it looked fairly normal. Black and pink lace threw up all over the perfectly proportioned mannequins and hung on the pillowy hangers. There were a few sales people assisting other customers. Good. I was in the clear so I shuffled in and stuck to the outer perimeter. I couldn’t let any of those bouncy sales ladies see me. If I had to talk to one of them, I might get sucked into the sexy, cute madness.
I refocused on my original objective. As visions of free silkies floated through my brain, I bumped into something purple and lacy hanging off a cushioned hanger. Oops. My clumsiness was loud. The sales vultures had me in their sights. Crap.
I put my head down. No eye contact. NONE. I may still have a chance.
I pretended to be looking at a random display. I needed to find the free of charge product and quick, but where was it? For the love, it was probably at the back corner of the store.
My tactics worked for 0.3 seconds before a cute, short brunette hopped up in front of me. She was dressed all in black with a pink measuring tape hanging around her neck like a soccer scarf. Are perfect size and shaped boobs a requirement for working at VS? It must be.
HI! MY NAME IS BROOKE. HOW ARE YOU?
Was she yelling? I looked around to see if anybody else thought the volume was excruciating. Everyone else was moving along, business as usual. Just me then.
For a split second I contemplated pretending I was mute. But that was abandoned when I knew I had to get what I came for. I don’t mess around when it comes to no-charge undies.
“Hi,” I whispered.
Brooke (with a bright-eyed smile): WHAT’S YOUR NAME?
Me (still trying to sneak shifty glances to find those panties): uhh….Lindsey?
Brooke: WHAT BRINGS YOU IN TODAY? IS IT YOUR DAY OFF?
Me: Umm, no, well kind of.
A confused look spread over her youthful face.
Me: Well, I’m a Stay at Home Mom, so I’m kind of off the clock right now.
Brooke (still a bit confused): Oh yeah! I guess it’s around 2. Where are your kids? Are they at daycare?
Me: What? No. Umm, they are at school.
< pause >
Brooke: Oh! Right! School.
I was extremely glad she’d heard of school. Maybe this little sales pitch would be over soon.
Brooke: What are you shopping for today?
Me: Oh, I’m just looking around.
Dang it! I should have said something else. Now she’s going to show me exactly what I should “just look around” for.
Brooke: Welllllll! Have you seen our new bra? It’s amaaaaaaazing. It has CREAM inside the lining. FEEL IT!
Me: What? Okaaaay…
Brooke: This new technology actually makes up for deficit areas.
Now I was the one confused. Brooke barreled into the undergarment technology lesson by using her own boobs for example.
Brooke: See here, on the outside of my chest?
Oh gosh, now she is touching her own boobs. I started looking for the exits.
Brooke: I always feel like I need a little more oomph right here. (Now she was man handling her outer boob portion, right next to the pits.) The cream fills into the places to give you a fuller, more balanced chest. There’s another girl who works here who needs a little extra help right here! (Now she was showing me her impressive cleavage.) IT’S GREAT, RIGHT!?!
My deer-in-headlights look gave her the indication to move onto the next product description. She grabbed my hand and dragged me over the the next table.
Do saggy mom boobs count as deficit areas? I’d heard of the age-old bigger is better in the boob department, but I had no idea that Victoria was a scientist. Was that her secret? Did she go to MIT and get an engineering education? Wow.
Brooke: Have you tried this one? It’s amaaaaaazing….
By then, I was on discomfort overload and I can’t even remember her next technology lesson. I think it lasted for another five minutes, which, of course felt like five hours. I was sweating and trying to hold back the hyperventilation.
She may have received indication that I was no longer paying attention because she shoved a card into my hand with instructions to check off all the undergarments I wanted to try on.
Brooke: What products have you worn in the past?
Me: Uhhhh….I can’t remember….something with “body” in the label.
Brooke: Oh! Was it Body by Victoria or Beauty Body or Body Sexy or Secret Body?
Me:……..I’m sorry, I have no idea.
By now her smile was fading and an exasperated look was starting to creep into the corner of her eyes. I was clearly a lost cause. There was no hope for me. She tried another angle.
Brooke: What size are you? Have you been measured lately? I can measure you right here and now, no problem!
Whoa! I held the check off list up in the air like a white flag.
Me: No! Nope. No thank you. I know my size, thank you very much. Thank you for your recommendations, I will go now.
And with that graceful departure, I slunk off to hunt down my free goodies. The mission was not lost yet. Set backs happen, time to move forward.
After careful survey of the store I finally found my prize. As I walked up to the register, another smiley lady began her approach. This time, I had my bearings and I held up my white check off card flag, “Brooke has already helped me. Thanks!” Now get away, salessnake.
I had a little moment of panic at the cash register. The minksy blonde asked if I wanted to purchase anything else. She rattled off all the deals going on at the store that day. I knew back and forth conversation was my downfall so I just smiled and let her list off the amaaaaazing deals.
I replied with a mirrored smile and a, “No thanks, I’ll just get these today.” She seemed kind of pissed as I inched the panties closer to her scanner.
I marched out of the store with my head held high and my prize wrapped up in pink tissue paper. I did it. I survived. Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!!!!!!
Yep. I just posted a picture of my underwear on the internet. But it was a MAJOR AWARD. So sue me.