I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant the first time, I immediately made a pilgrimage to the mother of all baby stores to purchase a celebratory onesie. Actually seeing the baby clothes freaked me out, and it took me a while to regain my shopping mojo. When I recovered from the head trauma of reality crashing into denial, retail therapy once again seemed like the perfect remedy to all of life’s ills, so I went back to the same big box store to shop for a few other must-have items. When I checked out I was given a 20% coupon for any item on my next purchase. Oh boy oh boy oh boy, I thought, another excuse to shop! But, like most excuses, it was pretty sorry.

In the almost three years since I received my first 20% coupon, I’ve probably received dozens of them and only used it once. Now, before you excommunicate me for not taking advantage of a deal, an explanation is in order. First, the coupon is valid in the store only and not online. I’m sure there’s a reason they want to drive customers to their unprofitable bricks and mortar stores and away from their clicks to cash online stores, and I’m just too sensible to understand it. Second, the coupon expiration date is always way too close and it’s completely non-negotiable. A day late with the coupon? Sorry, you’re SOL. Not even the store manager is authorized to accept a late coupon. When did “the customer’s always right” get replaced with “the computer won’t let me”?

Worst of all, the coupon’s fine print is so ludicrous it makes Monty Python look sane in comparison. The coupon excludes all toys, baby food, diapers, formula, wipes, every well-known and respected stroller, car seats, baby carriers, baby shoes, anything electronic, and gift cards, and it’s probably void where not prohibited. For the love of all that is holy, what the !@#$ does this coupon NOT exclude?!? They could save ink and money by just listing the one or two things it’s good for rather than the 40 things it’s not. Maybe it’s supposed to be like a scavenger hunt? If you can find the one item that isn’t excluded, you win a 20% off prize! What they SHOULD say on the back of the coupon is: “You can use this coupon ONLY on defective merchandise, recalled baby food, slippy cups, sweat wipes, and products not made in China”. I think the one time I used the coupon I bought a breast pump, and afterwards they realized they made a mistake because now that too is on the no-no list. Perhaps you can buy creams, bottles, and a few wash cloths with the coupons, but then again, there’s probably a minimum order size hidden somewhere on that damn thing. Or maybe they allow you to save 20% on baby furniture, except if it’s made of wood or you have to piece it together yourself.

This large chain store clearly is the last to figure out that they should be wooing us mammas. We are the buyers of the family. The ones that spend the money. Don’t drive us away by insulting our intelligence! This makes me so mad I want to boycott this store. Better yet, I should invite the CEO over for dinner. I would cook him forty different dishes and give him a coupon redeemable only for the forty-first course on the following Friday from 4-6 AM. I don’t think he would want to come back to my house, unless he’s on a diet. Well, that’s the same way I feel about his stores. I don’t ever want to go back to be humiliated and insulted again by one of those coupons! Unless, of course, it was the last place on earth to buy what my baby needs. Or there’s a really cute onesie there.

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