Please don't tell her I did this.When your wife of nine years leaves her career as a stay-at-home childless mom for the fast-paced world of extreme couponing, what's a husband to do? Many men find a woman in the workplace intimidating, especially when the workplace is your home and the woman is your wife and she won't stop sobbing hysterically at the "limit 30" printed at the bottom of a coupon for 35 cents off of Gorton's Family-Sized Surplus Oysters. Sometimes these outbursts can be blessings in disguise, but more often than not, we extreme couponing spouses receive terse e-mails telling us to eat all of the about-to-expire Fruit By the Foot in a part of the garage now known as "Quadrant A-4." For these times, I share with you my knowledge to make both your life and marriage semi-tolerable, and optionally functional.
- Know how to manage expectations. If your wife greets you excitedly at the door, eager to show you a "surprise," quickly manipulate your reflexive grimace into something resembling dull enthusiasm. That way, when you are made to witness cases of Barbasol blocking every bathroom fixture, the fragile ego caused by a full day of cream research will remain intact.
- While it may save money, a day of extreme couponing does not replace the wages of a full-time job. Consider opening your house up to neighborhood children as a kind of supermarket museum, where the future shoppers of America can look-but-not-climb-on the products they will one day buy. I must stress the last point, as a single unsupervised visitor ascending a pyramid of Rust-Oleum driveway sealant can soon have you paying out of pocket for a costly child casket, as well as the fines behind the child endangerment ordinance now known as "Becky's Law."
Yes, FOG, whisper to me your dark teachings.
- In times of stress, it helps to answer to a higher power. I call mine THE FOG and it is the result of a pallet of ammonia and bleach perpetually leaking next to each other in the basement.
- Though your wife may break no laws with her extreme couponing activities, she will be regarded as a menace by the bureaucracy of your chosen shopping establishment. Thankfully, corporate training breeds identical personalities, so please consult the following when dealing with supermarket authorities:
- Albertsons managers: speak softly, but carry a big stick. Avoid the stick. They will try to hit you with it.
- Vons managers: High and mighty. Will respond to groveling, supplicance, urinating self on command.
- Trader Joe's managers: Touchy-feely. Ask to give backrub, make joke about "Trader Jose," then go south of the border.
- Costco managers: Immobile, unfeeling. They are the Terminators of the grocery management world. Fake multiple heart attacks, feign death.
- Having a couponing crisis? Return home, bury your face in the living room carpet, and inhale deeply. Obey THE FOG.
- It is best to abandon any notion of pets in an extreme couponing home. An adorable anniversary present in the form of a tiny kitten soon turned into three days of panicked meowing within the second floor paper towel labyrinth. It's been impossible to go a few feet beyond the top step since that Target ad misprint, so I can only pray that the decomposition process continues as expected.
Is that a supermarket, or the corner of our pantry!? I am not joking. I cannot tell anymore. Someone please help me.
- On this note, once the Extreme Couponing film crew leaves, the team from Hoarders won't be far behind. For the sake of your family's reputation and well-being, see that they don't find cat skeleton one.
- The "checkout" period of an extreme couponing outing is very exciting -- this I will not deny. Those final bill-tallying moments can be more intense than any orgasm, and for many of us this brief moment of ecstasy will have to substitute for the real thing. But after the shouts of "WE GOT THEM" and "LOOK I AM WRAPPED IN THE RECEIPT LIKE A MUMMY" comes the expected post-shopping "downtime." Make sure to be there for your wife, or, alternatively, wedge yourself covertly between storage units until her bad mood blows over. Have a clear escape route planned ahead of time, in case of product shiftage.
- No more space for furniture? Items can be cleverly stacked into couch and chair shapes, with a decorative sheet thrown over them to complete the illusion. Your guests will never know they've been sitting comfortably on several packages of disposable diapers during your dinner party! And they will not want to know. Please do not make the mistake of telling them this.
- Share no details of your nightly FOG OATH. It is between you and THE FOG.