The Coupon Game

Today in my blog feeds there was an especially interesting article. Seth Godin posted about the Four Stages of The Game:
  • You don't even realize there's a game. (And any contest, market, project or engagement is at some level a game).
  • You start getting involved and it feels like a matter of life or death. Every slight cuts deeply, every win feels permanent. "This is the most important meeting of my life..."
  • You realize that it's a game and you play it with strategy. There's enough remove for you to realize that winning is important but that continuing to play is more important than that. And playing well is most important.
  • You get bored with the game, because you've seen it before. Sometimes people at this stage quit, other times they sabotage their work merely to make the game feel the way it used to.
  • And then a new, different game begins.

    This reality struck me that my couponing is a game. I like games, I think most people do. The problem is that they can be big time wasters. So, I don't have an Xbox or 360 or whatever those game toys are called. I don't download games or even play games on my computers. I spend so much time on computers being productive, I don't want to waste my time on chat, facebook or games - if I did I would be on the computer at least fifteen hours a day. As it is, I spend at least ten hours a day using the computer. Way too many.
    So, my couponing is a game. I call it my new hobby, giving up photoshop and scrap booking since that wasn't productive. But with couponing I can make money and save money on things I would have normally spent money on. So I coupon. And its a game. And its challenging. Every successful shop is a so great feeling. And even after couponing for years, every rejection still hurts bad.
    This week has not been a great coupon game week for me - a lot of drama in my opinion. It started with the gas card deal at Publix last Thursday, when the assistant manager Bob wanted to deny me the use of a $5 off $30 PQ and the $10 off $50 gas card wyb $25 coupon, when I only just $30 on my cart. His interpretation was that it intended for shoppers to spend $80 to use both coupons. Which I explained to him I had because I had the $30 groceries plus the $50 gas card, which equals $80. I offered to call corporate to clarify, but then he said ok, you can do it this time.
    Then at another store the assistant manager said they couldn't take the Rachel Ray PQ because it was a copy. I explained that the coupon is only available online on Publix website and must be printed. The coupon is poor quality and is difficult to read, but it is a legit Publix coupon. I got the, "we'll do it this time" story again, only after offering to show the site to her on my smartphone.
    The latest drama involved the crest white strips $7 coupon and the trial pack. My unfavorite manager Bob denied the use of this coupon. I should have been on alert when the shelf was stocked with a dozen of the item. It was clear he would not give even after threats of contacting corporate or assurances that the coupon could be scanned.  So we abandoned our order and left. We did not want to escalate the situation in our close store and it was clear no one there could make the right choice. 
    So this morning I called corporate to inquire as to the status of that coupon and the use on the trial pack. Corporate assured me it is valid to use on the trial pack. They look at it as P&G's problem if the use is not what they intended. But Publix stores are supposed to accept it for the trial pack because they will get reimbursed. So the District Manager is going to get involved and hopefully we can get this store #685 trained on proper coupon review and acceptance.
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