Tuesday, April 6, 2010

MY March Madness

I’m trying to clean my desk, but I can’t throw my Kohl’s receipt away.

It’s dated 3/4/10. That was the day my kid’s were begging me to bring them to Game Stop to get a new horrible video game. Normally I would say no, but Game Stop is right next to Kohl’s and I just that day realized that my winter parka was so old and ugly and shoddy that I couldn’t wear it a single day more. So I agreed to bring them to the game store in the hope that I could find an inexpensive replacement parka next door.

It was March, so I know the pickins’ would be slim. There was exactly one small rack of winter jackets left. It was tucked behind all the bathing suits. The only attractive thing about it was the sign: 70% OFF! Most of the jackets were not my taste, but they had some nice Columbia parkas with zip-out linings – some were red, some brown. There was one plum-colored parka but it was only the shell; the lining was missing. I looked all through the crowded coats for the missing lining. It was nowhere.

I really liked the plum coat, so I took the lining out of the red version and zipped it into the plum shell and took the coat, along with two jackets for my 10-year-old and multiple packages of boys’ sweat socks, up to the register.

Immediately, I was nailed.

“This liner doesn’t go with this coat,” the cashier said. He could tell this instantly because they really don’t match. “I can give you just the shell and take 10% off since it’s damaged.”

I told the cashier the whole story -- not about my ugly Land’s End coat from 2001 that I couldn’t wear a day longer, but about switching the linings because I need a complete winter coat: shell and liner both. I explained that the store was really in no different position; there’s still a shell on the rack with no lining…it just happens to be a red shell now. Then I waited with fingers crossed to see if he would let me buy the newfangled plum coat.

The Columbia coats were originally $220 and reduced to $66 on the rack. Additionally, I had a 20% coupon for my entire purchase, so I was already starting to experience that giddy feeling that comes with getting a two-hundred-dollar-something for under fifty bucks. I crossed more fingers and shot a look at my kids for them to do the same.

The cashier called his manager and the manager called her supervisor. The supervisor went off in the direction of the coat rack and we all stood stock-still. The phone next to the register rang. The cashier picked up the receiver. “Okay. Okay. Okay,” he said.

“We can give you the whole coat,” he said, turning to me as he hung up the phone. “And we’ll take off 10%.”

I looked quickly at my kids and screamed silently with just my eyes.

After all the reductions, the coat itself cost $48 and I’ve already gotten my money’s worth out of it. But the receipt is the real treasure. Total purchase price: $90.24 for three coats and several 6-packs of socks. Total saved: $243.76!!!! The cashier circled that number in red.

Then he gave me $10 of Kohl’s Cash so I could come back another day and have another out of body experience.

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