Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CVS Lesson: If You're Not Making More Than a Couple Bucks on the

I had two good transactions at CVS today and one bad one, and I learned something.

OK, but first, in my defense: I don't normally go to CVS three times in one day. Honest! But the monthly deals end this week, I have coupons expiring, and I had a short list of deals that I wanted to get done before those things happened.

Here's what happened with the bad deal: I stopped by the CVS near my gym, once again during the busy time of day and with two tired kids. Once again I got hassled about all the coupons I was trying to use as the baby tried to wriggle out of my arms and the 4-year-old wandered around touching all the candy.

In the end, they disallowed one of my coupons AND made me buy something extra, and the deal I though would be a moneymaker actually cost me $3.

Besides the obvious lessons -- don't drag two kids to CVS when they're tired and it's busy, and don't try to stack coupons at this other, stricter CVS store -- I learned something more fundamental: Only do a deal if a) you really want the stuff or b) you are going to make a significant amount of money on it. Preferably, both.

Because if something goes wrong, as it often does -- a disallowed coupon, you can't get an item you're looking for, you get the wrong thing -- and you end up a few dollars off, you will be really annoyed if you didn't want the stuff AND you don't end up making money. Suddenly you'll realize you just spent a half hour in hell -- trying to hold down toddlers and work out a complicated transaction in a busy store -- for nothing.

On the upside, once I looked at my purchases, which I had mainly bought as a moneymaker, I realized that I really did want them. It was the Neutrogena makeup deal. I recently bought a bunch of CoverGirl foundation as a moneymaker, but this Neutrogena foundation looks much better. It's made of titanium dioxide, the same stuff that expensive Mustella baby sunblock (recommended by our pediatrician) is made out of. Has SPF20. And I read that Neutrogena cosmetics and other facial products are the best for your skin. I already use some of their other stuff and am a fan.

The other item in the promo was mascara, and I had been wanting to get some of that too.

Since I have the $4/$20 beauty coupon that was sent out in email, and those things cost $16, I rounded it out with two tubes of that Lumene Body Aktiva firming moisturizer. These were $2 each and free after ECBs.

Not only is the concept of a firming cream the silliest thing since the lip plumper I shoplifted with permission a few weeks ago, the tubes actually say "FUKTLOTION" on the back,  in the apparently Finnish-language portion.

Which leads me to wonder just what this stuff is supposed to be firming. Eh? Eh?