Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No, Mommy Didn't Steal Anything

Just getting home from the grocery store, I'm unpacking the few things we bought, and I hear my daughter whispering to my son. Then my little boy yells out, 'Mommy stole it??' What? Mommy stole nothing. What the hell is she telling him?

'Mommy stole what, sweetheart?'
'The cream cheese. Sissy said you stole one.'

Ahh, time for a crash course in sales and couponing, I see. And, for a little lesson in morals, too, I soon realize.

Money is tight right now; really, really tight. In fact, the money I currently have isn't mine; thank goodness I have friends who care about me. I don't get my first paycheck until Friday, and it will be for one day of work; probably a measly $60-$80. Two weeks after that I'll only be getting a half of a paycheck, because I'm only doing training right now, which means I'm getting around 20 hours a week instead of 40. So, my first full paycheck, and finally some normalcy and routine in my life and my kids' lives, won't come until April. In times like these, you do what you need to. No, that does not mean steal cream cheese. I'll explain, just as I had to do with my kids, because at the moment, they had some radical idea built up in their heads and Mommy wasn't being painted in a great light.

The Food Network (my late night guilty pleasure) has been running commercials for flavored cooking cream cheese. So, after picking the kids up from school, we headed to the grocery store to see if they had it. I had $15 on me and no debit card. We needed milk, bread and the cream cheese, fingers crossed.

As I'm heading down the dairy aisle, giving the speech to the kids about how we don't have money for things like ice cream, pudding, or the yogurt with the M&Ms in it (thanks, grocery store for putting those items directly across from where my cream cheese and milk necessities are), I see that yes, indeed, they carry all 4 varieties of my cooking cream cheese. Woo hoo!! And what's this? A golden sale sign? Originally $2.99 each, they are on sale this week for 2 for $4??? Oh, thank the heavens above. Now I can try the garlic and the Italian. Sweet beans. As I rummage through, looking at expirations and what not, way in the back I see little yellow stickers stuck to some of the original flavor. A coupon for $1 off of 1 tub of cooking cream cheese? OMG, it's my lucky day. But, this is when the morals lesson kicks in...

The coupons were on the original flavor, not the garlic or the Italian. But, reading the coupon, it does say '$1.00 of any variety of cooking cream cheese'. And, this isn't like 25 cents, people, it's a whole dollar, off of each tub that I buy. Running the math in my head, sale price + two coupons = both tubs of cooking cream cheese for just $2???? Screw it, I'm taking the coupons off the original ones and putting them onto my garlic and Italian blends.

That's when my 9 year old perks up. 'Mom, are you supposed to be taking the coupons off of the other tubs and putting them on yours? I mean, if you were supposed to use them, wouldn't they just be on the tubs you are buying?'

Ummm..... damn, I draw a blank. So, I had her read the coupon. 'See, honey, it says off of any variety. And, between the sale and the coupons, it's like Mommy's buying one and getting one free. That's a good thing.'

'Yeah, but if you are taking the coupons off of the original one, but not buying the original one, doesn't that mean whoever goes to buy the original one won't have the coupon because you took it?'

Damn it, why did I have to raise such a smart daughter who questions authority like I did as a kid? So, I did what a mom has to do...

'I tell you what. With the money that Mommy saves on the cooking cream cheese, I'll buy you all some of that yogurt with the M&Ms in it like you all wanted...' Yes, I bribed my daughter. But the yogurts were only 50 cents for each my son and my daughter, so I was still saving $1 overall, and it was well worth it for my daughter to keep her mouth shut in the checkout process.

So, that's when we get home, and the whispering occurs. I asked my son what Sissy told him, and he said, 'She said you bought one cream cheese thing, and you got one free. That means you stole it.'

'No, honey, Mommy didn't steal it.' I grab a pen and a piece of paper, and break down the pricing, the sale, and the coupon, into a simple math problem for my little kindergartner to figure out. 'Wow, Mommy, that's cool. You got both of them for what you would have paid for one.' He turns to his sister, 'See, Sissy? I told you Mom wouldn't steal anything.'

'Yeah, well, she did take the coupons off of one thing and put it on the ones she was buying.'

I glare at her. 'How's that yogurt taste, sweetheart?' She shut her mouth pretty quickly after that...

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