Generally, people can be divided into those who believe anything is possible, and those who do not.
I’m a member of the former, a devoted dreamer / believer, who most days takes Alice’s view to believe at least six impossible things before breakfast. But, life has shown (as much as I hate to admit) impossibilities do exist. They creep in when we least expect it, when our defenses are down, in the mire of the mundane and everyday.
So, though I try to give very little weight to the concept, here are a few things I’ve come to accept as truly impossible.
1) To get everything on the shopping list at the grocery store in one trip.
This can’t be done. I don’t care if you allot three full, uninterrupted hours with just you and the list, you will come home to find that while shopping, something you hadn’t needed before leaving was eaten up by the people at home and the odds are very high they ate up the one necessary ingredient for something you committed to make for the church/school/neighbor/whatever that has to be ready first thing tomorrow morning.
2) To get four drivers who understand the rules of a four-way stop at a four-way stop at the same time.
After years of driving experience, I’m 100% sure the probability of this occurrence is equal to zero.
3) To have ALL the laundry done, ever.
EVER. I used to think I could achieve this, then I realized unless I died a planned death in the nude on a bare floor I’ll die in clothes that will need washed. Granted, someone will probably throw them out, but the fact remains, I’ll have left laundry.
4) To get the kids to spend any length of time together that doesn’t turn into fighting/eye-gouging/a WWE smack-down.
Because this is how they express love, by beating each other, and they love each other so much. (This is my story. It helps me cope with the incessant fighting/whining/arguing/etc.)
5) To get more than one dollar’s worth of coupons accepted at a particular store that may or may not use a bulls-eye as its logo.
I see people all the time on social media bragging about their electronic coupon app successes, their ever-mounting savings, but despite shopping there frequently and spending much time and effort on the app and gathering paper coupons, I’ve never managed any real savings.
After so much rejection and coupon-ing failure, I thought I was going crazy, was maybe for some reason now unable to read and/or retain information. Perhaps maybe physiologically unable to register details presented in fine print, especially exclusions written in .008 sized font. But, the good news is, I don’t think it’s me any more. I think I’m finally starting to figure it out.
See, this whole ‘coupon’ and ‘savings’ thing is just an elaborate ruse put on by the executives at this store. This is big time. From what I can tell, they’ve committed extensive company resources to nudge unsuccessful savers toward mental breakdowns with the tantalizing (yet empty) promise of savings.
I’m still working out the details, but so far, I’m pretty sure the company is recording and broadcasting the footage of customers (like me) who can’t successfully use coupons to their employees for morale boosts and entertainment. I imagine they kick off board meetings and big internal announcements with a well-edited montage of these coupon failure interactions.
They’d start at the checkout when the register spits out a few great coupons boasting $1.50 off this and $5.00 off that. Your excited when you get them. Your face lights up. You tuck them safely into the coupon section of your bag. At home, you look at them again. Make the shopping list and be sure to note the items for which you now have a coupons. You use a little star, just to remind your self.
When you’re next at the store, you select the items, prideful and excited by your thriftiness. I bet the editors zoom in so the employees watching can probably read your lips when you smile and say, “Oh, I shouldn’t get this, but I have five dollars off.” Then they watch you finish shopping, adding items and coupons and phantom savings up and down every aisle.
At the checkout, you present your items and coupons and wait to see the ‘savings’ ring up and mount before your very eyes.
But then, there’s the tell-tale honk of the register. The clerk’s shoulders drop. She won’t look at you, half out of pity and half because she doesn’t want to laugh right in your face. She looks over your items, mumbles something about the machine, tries the coupon again. A third time. The honk-beep-failures fill the air, one after the other. Other shoppers start to notice. Everyone knows the sound. They either commiserate, or gloat privately.
Gloating ensues when they’re one of the lucky ones who’ve been selected to actually achieve savings. This is a very necessary part of the plan. The success stories fuel the angst and frustration of the rest us who see their savings and mistakenly believe those savings could be ours, too. The real savers are the bedrock of the company’s plan, the expectation from which the rest of us spiral downward.
The clerk says she’s sorry, the coupon doesn’t qualify. It was for $5.00 dollars off a $25.00 item, and your item was $24.99. And the $2.00 off fresh fruit or vegetables, that one was for items totaling $10.50, but not exceeding $11.16 and couldn’t include berries and/or the 16.9 ounce bag of organic spinach. Your total was $11.22 and you had the organic spinach and berries. (So sorry.) And the coupons you brought back for the price adjustment, even though the clerk from last time assured you it would be totally fine and you didn’t need to go back to your car right in the middle of that last checkout for them, well, that $15.00 dollars worth actually isn’t valid either because you didn’t request the adjustment within three days of the original sale. Even though the last clerk didn’t tell you that. Even though the coupons are still valid today, and you have the original receipt.
Now you have a choice. How much of your life and pride are you willing to give up for these savings? How much desperation and self-righteousness are you willing to display to that clerk and all the staring people? How long will it take to call the manager over, hear them repeat the BS policy, re-argue your point, maybe, possibly, get the mark-downs or part of them? How late will that make you to pick up your kids?
All of these things flash through the micro-processor of your subconscious while you turn red and feel shame and clutch and crumble the sweaty coupons she’s handed back to you.
The employees watching are cracking up. The video reel shows a quick flash back of your happiness when you got the coupons, found the item, justified the purchase, handed it to the clerk. And now, back to the present where you stand while everyone waits to see if you’re going to say you still want the thing now.
Wait. Sorry. I derailed for a sec. Just blacked-out a little there.
Let’s just say, I’m glad I use a store card for the 5% discount because that, at least, guarantees some savings, which prevents me from achieving a level of frustration that might lead to day-dreams about mild (non-human-harming) acts of domestic terrorism, like lighting all the candles in an aisle or unrolling every single roll of toilet paper in the entire store.
All in all, I’m happy with what I find possible in every day, and I realize these little impossibilities couldn’t be less inconsequential in the scheme of life. For that, I’m grateful.
What impossibilities have you accepted in your life? Nothing significant, I hope.
Image Credit: Resistance https://flic.kr/p/mUbkUm by Julien Sanine license link https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/