Do you clip coupons? I love the thrill of the bargain hunt and after all these years remain committed to a Sunday-evening ritual of clipping and making the week’s grocery list. I love checking the receipt to see what I saved — did I wind up getting the ice cream for free? Or was it the orange juice?
The same holds true outside the supermarket.
Big sale at Macy’s plus 20 percent off if I use my card? I’m there!
DSW points about to expire? I’ll try on every peep-toe and slingback in the place to find the right fit (no mean feat — I wear a size 5).
Simple pleasures for small minds, I know. Mind you, I’m no extreme couponer, although those folks fascinate me.
Still, in our house, my lust for a bargain is nothing compared to the deals Basil is able to procure. I’ll never know if it’s his charm or doggedness, but if he goes out to make a purchase — car, lawn mower, washing machine — he’ll come home with a long story about how he got a great deal. (I see some of you nodding knowingly.)
Not long after we moved into our house 13 years ago, we got to know Sears quite well. Within weeks of each other, the oven, dishwasher, television and refrigerator died. I had to bake Catherine’s birthday cupcakes on the grill (it worked — and no fire!) And then I found myself dragging a load of soaking wet whites to the neighbors next door. The washing machine had filled up, but flat out refused to do the load.
Basil had the oven fixed and replaced the other appliances, including the drier (which was so old it had feet), and got an amazing amount of money off due to the size of his purchase.
Similar stories have followed over the years, but his most amazing coup probably involves the fridge, which turned out to be a lemon. A year or two later, even after we had the compressor replaced (for free, under the service plan Basil arranged, natch), the thing didn’t have much time left. The freezer would alternately freeze and thaw, leaving me with mushy veggies and inedible meats.
The final straw came the morning I opened it to find rivers of melted ice cream making their way down the wire shelves. We took pictures of the mess, printed them and Basil headed to White Plains, NY, where he essentially sat outside the manager’s office at Sears until the woman gave him a new refrigerator. It took several hours, but he returned home victorious. Amazingly, the (no-longer) new, free fridge hasn’t given us a lick of trouble. I figure the Sears staff gave us a top-of-the line model in their zeal to be rid of him for good!
This week, a new challenge presented itself: The air conditioner began to fail. Given the change in weather, the unit will get us through the remainder of this summer, but we’ll need a new one before the next heat wave.
I can already see the wheels turning in Basil’s head, and I’m eager to see what deal he pulls out of this purchase.
After all, his job as Chief Bargain Hunter is needed to offset his other role, the one he fills for the youngest member of our clan: that of ATM on Feet.