Repaying Mom for being a mom

I don’t know if I had a stomach bug or a particularly nasty case of food poisoning, but I was in pretty bad shape all weekend. Now, I’m well into my 30s and can admit without shame that it doesn’t matter how old you are, there is nothing quite like having your mother take care of you when you’re sick. I can’t tell you how helpful it was not to have to get my own ginger ale and toast and water while I was cramped in half on the couch.

Normally when I visit my mother, I take her out for dinner and maybe brunch. This was a 4-day weekend during which my apartment was making me money, and I’d have thanked her with even more treats for making it possible by putting me up. We did not go out for a meal, not even a coffee, and the only thing I was able to do for her was make chocolate chip cookies…and show her how to work the CVS system.

In my last post, I stated a goal of getting her $30 worth of stuff for under $10, and leaving her with $12 in ECBs (store credit). I underestimated my fledgling CVS skills – I got her $78 worth of Aussie hair care, Garnier Nutritioniste facial cloths, Maybelline lip sheers, Twizzlers, Bare Minerals foundation, Dawn, Colgate, etc. for $9.60 and $10 ECBs. We also have some money-maker rainchecks, so in a few days, that total will be $96 in products for $11 with $18.50 ECBs.

Money-saving stuff out of the way, it was a truly entertaining experience. I’d give her one batch of stuff with ordered paperwork (card, coupons, ECBs, etc) and a guideline of what she should actually have to pay, and off I’d go to assemble the next little batch of products. At one point, we messed up slightly and came in 2 cents short of a wash, and I hear this shout of “MMKate! MMKate! Help, it’s not working!” I swooped in with a KitKat that was also on ECB special, making it free, and solving the cash register problem.

On our fourth trip through the checkout, the women in front of us were listening to my mother wondering aloud, “How can CVS stay in business doing this? This is embarrassing, getting all this stuff for free, are you sure it’s okay? I’m so glad you’re walking me through this, I’d never have the guts to try it on my own.” The nice, normal women in line pulled us aside and asked how they could do it – at which point, Mom began to lose her reservations about the whole thing. I directed the women to check out the newbie forums on HotCouponWorld. Hm, maybe some of you CVS experts out there could “snowflake” a one-shot training session for wannabe CVS gamers, because there are a lot of intricacies to it. Even the cashier said that she gets asked about it all the time when she’s not at work – like when she picks up a pizza and someone clocks her nametag.

In any case, we found the ideal CVS to do this at because it’s located in a town which is half summer homes and half Orthodox Jewish residents. Know what that means? An empty CVS on Saturdays, and therefore no worries about holding up other customers in line. I suspect my mother is on her way to an addiction to free stuff. After all, she has already made me stop saying “free crap”, because it’s “not crap at all”.


2 Responses

  1. Wow, that CVS gaming sounds like a lot of work. I was impressed I got some lip gloss 2 for 1 when I got some meds.

  2. Aww I like your mom, mine was never very good at the nurturing thing. You can stay home if you’re sick, but you’re on your own. I looked at my weekend CVS flier and didn’t see much ECB offers, I think the only free one was for denture cleaner! By the way there was one tiny coupon insert in Sunday’s paper, they wanted to prove me wrong.

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