We went to the mall yesterday to combine a $15/50 coupon with a jean sale at Old Navy.

After piling all the kids into the car, then out of the car and into the stroller, then through the mall doors that weren’t really created to accommodate double jogging strollers, I found that I hadn’t read the fine print on the coupon.  I was a day early.

When the nice sales lady politely informed me of this fact, I stared at her.  Then I stared at my children, all three crammed into a double jogger and not portraying the attributes I would rather they portray in public*.  Then I stared back at the lady.  Who was staring at my children.  And then staring at me.

Really?  I ask.  You can’t take the coupon a day early?  I have to come back?!

She sincerely apologizes but replies that yes, the computers simply will not take them early.

Deep sigh.

Back to the van.

Back home.


Back to Old Navy.

Three kids piled, once again, into a double jogging stroller.

We must have been a pretty unique sight because out of the hundreds of customers she sees everyday, that nice sales lady recognized us!

And to compensate for the hassle of having to come back, she gave us a $5 coupon!

And so we shopped.  And shopped.  And stopped children from running amuck.  And shopped.  And stopped children from chasing each other.  And shopped.  And tried things on.  And returned things to racks.  And got new things.  And told children to please not attack each other with hula hoops.*

Oh yes.  Old Navy surely wasn’t thinking when they set a supply of hula hoops in the middle of the store.  My children loved them.  Everyone else in the store?  Not so much.  They tried to obey.  They tried to be good.  But do you know how hard it is not to lasso your sister with a hula hoop when both your sister and the hula hoop are right there??

And then, mysteriously, somewhere towards the end of the shopping trip, the display of hula hoops just vanished.  Disappeared.  My kids were mystified.  I was mortified.

Yes.  We were the reason that management had to come confiscate the hula hoops.

I wanted to be done.  I’d been in that store for hours.  Days?  I wasn’t sure anymore.

We were past the point of using fitting rooms like civilized people.  I crammed shirts over heads with abandon.  Tried skirts on under dresses and over shorts and called it a day.

In the checkout lane, guess who waited on us?  That’s right!  Nice Sales Lady! While there, I noticed a different $15/50 coupon on the counter.  I asked if I would be able to use that one, as well.  She told me, no, I couldn’t use both in the same transaction.

Oh, but I’m an ex-CVSer.  I know how to work the system.  If she’ll let me…

Can I, {insert innocent, slightly haggard mother-of-three look} possibly make this order into multiple transactions?  And then use both coupons?

Why, yes!  Yes I can.  And I did.

And that’s how I shop.


*My children really weren’t that horrible in the store.  Not in the stroller yesterday, and not during the hours we were back there today.  They were not vicious, angry, malicious, or violent.  Just energetic.  And excited.  It took a lot out of me to keep things sane.  So it felt worse than it really was.

Although, I’m not exaggerating about the hula hoops.  They really were confiscated.