Everybody has a weblog nowadays.

My brother has a weblog. My mother has a weblog. Even my Aunt Virginia has a weblog, and I’ll be darned if it’s not one of my favorites. She tells hilarious stories, such as this one, which I’ve cribbed and edited from her site (and which is an amalgamation of a couple of her entries):

Pop Buys Pop
by Virginia S.

As I have said before, my husband likes quantity and sales. This is not a new story. Stuff like this still happens all the time.

For example, his pet peeve was always shopping for nylons. Well folks, we just moved, and in the process I ran across an old sales receipt from Wal-Mart. It is for 366 pair of panty hose. Yes, that’s the truth: a total of 366 pair of panty hose. Also on the receipt are batteries, motor oil, and oil filters. Quite a combo, I would say. I want you to know that after seven years, I still have enough new nylons left to last me ’til January 2007. They were purchased in July 1999. 

More recently, Pop found a bargain at Wal-Mart the week after Christmas.  Fruitcake regularly $2.99 was on sale for $1.00 a loaf. The more you buy, the more you save. Pop saved $106.00. He bought 53 fruitcakes, all that was left in the store. He spent $53.00.

Truth is stranger than fiction!!!

And now the main story…

Some time ago, the local supermarket ran a sale on two-liter bottles of Sierra Mist: two for a dollar, a pretty good price. Pop believes in sales. If you can save fifty cents on one bottle, then you can save $8.00 on sixteen bottles, so sixteen bottles he did buy.

On closer inspection, on each bottle there was a coupon good for 55 cents toward the purchase of another bottle. That would cover the sale price of another two-liter bottle plus the deposit. We cut off all the coupons. The next time in town, Pop made a stop at the store and sure enough the pop was still on sale. Taking in fifteen coupons (he had lost one), Pop returned with fifteen two-liter bottles of Sierra Mist. Thinking he had a good deal, he stood out in the parking lot and cut off the coupons from the just purchased fifteen bottles. He returned to the store and got another fifteen bottles. I was shopping down the street and came to the pickup as he was loading the last fifteen bottles. I offered to go into the store and get eight more bottles for him. (I was too embarrassed to get another fifteen.) He cut off the coupons and in I went. I also purchased some soup and coffee so I wouldn’t look too greedy. At home, Stan figured he paid $8.80 for the first sixteen bottles plus deposit. The rest he got for free, so that means 54 two-liter bottles of pop for $8.80. If you figure the money he gets back when he returns the bottles, it come out to $6.10 for 54 two-liter bottle of pop.

End of story?

I’m afraid not.

The next day Pop decided to return sixteen coupons to see if he could get some more pop. This time he came out to the pickup and said, “You won’t believe this. The coupon is for two two-liter bottles of pop.” Looking closely at the coupon, it plainly said: Good for your next purchase of two two-liter bottles of Sierra Mist.

It seems the clerk today had kindly pointed this out to Pop. So, for $4.40, Pop got sixteen more bottles of pop. It took him awhile to digest this and to figure out why the clerks didn’t notice this the last time he was in there. He was very deep in thought about this, as we took off for home thru Nyssa. It is twelve miles from Ontario to Nyssa. About half way thru Nyssa, Pop sat up with a start: “I forgot to put the pop in the back of the pickup! Now what do I do?”

“It surely won’t be there,” he fretted. “It is only $4.40. I’m not going back.” By this time I was laughing so hard I could barely answer him, but I managed to say that in Portland it would not be there, but in Ontario, well maybe?

He turned around, and back to Ontario we went. There was no cart full of pop in the parking lot. However, inside the store at customer service sat a cart with sixteen bottles of Sierra Mist. Pop brought them out and loaded them in the pickup, We drive back the twelve miles to Nyssa and on home.

Pop’s comment about the whole episode was, “Is this how it is going to be from now on? [re: getting forgetful] Wow, Wow I think I am going to quit cutting coupons.”

I’m still laughing!!!

He still ended up with 70 two-liter bottles of pop for $10.50 and if you subtract the deposit return on the last sixteen he will have $9.70 invested in the pop plus some extra miles (which we won’t count).

Note for regular readers: Virginia and Stan are Tammy’s parents.

Oh my, but that’s a funny story. I read it the other night and was chuckling to myself. Then I read it to Kris as we were getting into bed, and we were both in stitches. I was out of breath from laughing so hard. I think my Uncle Stanley could be a guest writer on my personal finance weblog once I get it going.

I should admit that Kris and I are getting coupon-savvy as we get older. We’re particularly good at getting stuff cheap from Safeway and from Ace Hardware. (In fact, we sometimes wonder how Ace Hardware stays in business, we pay so little.) But seventy bottles of pop for $9.70? That’s like some sort of world record in frugality!

7 Replies to “Pop Buys Pop”

  1. Lee says:

    Man, that guy really likes his Sierra Mist

  2. Josh says:

    And his nylons, apparently.

  3. J.D. says:

    There was no space for this anecdote in this entry, but it’s enlightening because it reveals where some of this frugality comes from:

    It seems that in 1981 or 1982, Pop was working in the woods over 100 miles from home.  He would stay with his mom, or one of his daughters, because they lived closer to the woods where he was working. He would come home on Friday nights. One Thursday night he was shopping at the local Safeway store and found toilet paper on sale. Of course, one wouldn’t pass up a sale.  He therefore bought several cases. After all, he had nine little ones at home and they would use it.  He was driving to work in a little Mazda pick-up and the only place for his bargan was in the back of the pick-up, and since he was going home after work, the bargain went with him to work. It so happened that the lumber buyer from Boise Cascade was there that morning, and of course commented on his pick-up full of toilet paper. Twenty years later, my son (a mason) was helping with a mobile home skirtting. When the owner of the house heard my son’s last name, it brought back a memory. Years ago, he told my son, he’d met a man with the last name of S. who came to work one morning with a pickup load of toilet paper.

    If I had nine kids, I’d buy seventy bottles of Sierra Mist whenever I could, too!

  4. emma says:

    🙂 🙂 😉 Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 366 panties at once. Oh my Gosh!!! Its so hillarious.

    Your uncle is quite absurd. 😉

    sorry but I m still not able to stop laughing.

    Ha Ha Ha Ha 🙂

  5. tammy says:

    Yes but when he bought the sierra mist all nine children had already flown the coop. That was just a couple months ago!

    I also recall another very embarrassing time! There were five of us girls plus mom. Okay, thats 6 women to buy feminine products for. The local grocery store had a sale on those things and Pop loaded up two carts filled with nothing else but those boxes! Two carts heaped with feminine pads! And then he couldnt figure out why no one would help him push them through the line. We were heading out the door as fast as we could. We wanted to die of embarrassment!

  6. Lynn says:

    Those were great stories! I love coupons. I have to admit I am quite addicted. My newest favorite is the rebate program at Walgreen’s. Instead of sending back rebate checks they credit the $ to a gift card. Each month, you just send your rebate and your gift card # for your credits. My family thinks I’m acting like a 66 year old woman…

  7. alan says:

    Happy Birfday!

    Is there any reason there’s no link to Aunt Virginia’s blog? I hope it’s not because of what I did to Tammy. Hi Tammy!

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