Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Gift Card Cha-cha

It was a day like any other, or perhaps like many others and not really like ANY other, because that would be too "Groundhog Day" to be credible, but still, you get the idea.

The day spoke of no great plans, no figurative mountains to climb or literal onerous duties to accomplish. There were also no festivals to attend or feasts for which to prepare home and hearth, no great "thing" to anticipate with the delicious feeling that something memorable could happen once the "thing" was started.

It was, merely, a day.

And yet......

When one considers that upon setting out this afternoon to not only FIND a "national toy store chain site" in this area but also to CONQUER it and escape reasonably unscathed, with both offspring satisfied in their choices and not jealous of the others' purchases, and that the job was actually performed not once, but twice, with harmony and even, dare I say, actual SHARING involved, it can be counted as a good day indeed.

(I live for small victories, y'all. They're almost all I have.)

Let me explain of this great happening of this afternoon, because I'm sure what you're really wanting here is a fully fledged explanation of this fascination that is my life. I can picture you, sitting there, bending ever so slightly forward with your intent desire to know MORE about this milestone achievement, a sheen of anxious perspiration annointing your furrowed brow.

Because I am not one to shirk my duties as a teller of stories about this, my highly interesting existence, here goes wid da sto-ray:

With a gift card worth $25 burning it's way through your pockets every waking moment, it's hard to stay focused when you're a kid. The card, it calls to you to USE it, to SPEND the vast resource contained therein, no matter if a school night is what's on tap or if Mom is so frazzled from work that merely arriving home in one piece could be considered an achievement worthy of some kind of "award of recognition." The siren call of the gift card must be answered, at the first possible moment! You know, if you have to ask your mother every single day of your life WHEN CAN YOU GO TO THE TOY STORE TO CASH IN YOUR GIFT CARD, then that's what it takes to appease the powers held within the brightly colored plastic cannot ignore the primal call.

Therefore, it came this afternoon to the point at which I could hold the young'uns off no longer, and made good on my promise to take them to the "national toy store's local representative site" halfway across the county to cash in the promise of happiness the gift card provides. Heck, we didn't have anything ELSE to do, so whatever. Strangely, about 5 minutes before setting out on the great journey toward kid bliss and parental stress, I changed my mind and decided to take an alternate route toward the purveyor of kid-gasms.

Because, it appears, I am a psychic genius of mouth-frothing proportion.

The last-minute route, the first alternate and not the wearer of the crown, took me past several extra traffic lights and, significantly, a certain MALL in our area that has every shop known to God and man (Cheesecake Factory, anyone?), but which, according to the "national toy store"'s website, did NOT have one of their stores.

And, you know what? The website LIES, in vivid techicolor!

There was indeed one of their stores at the great and powerful MALL, and as luck would have it, that store was in the beginning throes of a "going out of business at this location" sale.
People, can you say "that ROCKS?" Can you also say everything was an EXTRA 30% off the already marked-down prices, and not only did the kids get what they wanted, but also had money left over so that when we were done with THAT store (whose shelves, obviously, were somewhat depleted what with all the bargain shopping that was being done), we went to the site of our original destination and bought still MORE stuff, most of which was paid for by the remainder on gift cards, at a "store clearance" sale? Two BIG bags full of stuff, well beyond the amount my prior experience with this store would have estimated one could go with the amount prescribed by the young'uns cards.

(Let us all now please ignore all the bolding and capping and italicizing that just happened. It's ugly, and there for effect, because this is how I talk, and I apparently can only write how I talk)

The result? I feel at once satisfied and cheated. The satisfaction is obvious, because the trip was pulled off with the nice surprise of the "phantom store with huge bargains" and the "second store with an accomodating sale of its own," and yet I feel cheated because now I know just how badly I'm being RIPPED OFF whenever I go to that particular store to shop.

There's no silver lining with out its attendant cloud, y'all. :>


Erica said...

I salute you, O Patient and Ultra-Cool Mom. My second-grader cannot manage to save up his allowance to get the things he really wants. The second he has about $4 in his pocket, IT MUST BE SPENT on nothing in particular. No amount of pointing out that only two more weeks would get him the small Lego set he really really wants - no, he must purchase the crappy $4 thrice-marked-down Pokemon figurine - that does nothing - that no one else wanted to buy since it arrived on a pallet of similarly doomed toys over four years ago. It must be purchased that instant because he can afford it. And the real desire goes unfulfilled some more... which leads me to conclude he must not really want it that bad - that, or he's going to try to convince ME to buy it FOR him... not gonna happen...
I just don't remember being like this as a kid. I took what I got at the two agreed-upon occasions: Christmas and birthday - and anything else in between was a truly unforeseen surprise.

tiff said...

"Patient" comes and goes.....the ultracool, one hopes, is forever. Thanks for the back-pat!

Allowance? What is this thing of which you speak? Neither of our kids get these "allowances."

If they did, the older one would be waist deep in dreck and the younger one would be rich beyond all comprehension. We've got a spender and a saver in our house.