All you clever, prepared people who have every possible emergency supply in case of disaster, I have passed you by. I have a year’s supply of testosterone. See? You forgot that one, didn’t you? You need to follow me around.
Here is how I came by this marvelous motherlode. I was innocently shopping at Walgreen’s (you notice I only go to the best places), and had just finished checking out. The clerk says to me, “You know, you can get a ten-dollar coupon if you buy one of these.” She points to a stack of white boxes on a display at the counter. These boxes are about six inches square. “All you pay is the sales tax, and then you get a ten-dollar coupon.”
Okay, I hate story problems. In fact, I hate all math problems. I cannot understand how this is going to work, but she convinces me to purchase one of the boxes for a few cents, and then promises to give me a coupon worth ten dollars, which I can use against my cart full of purchases. First she has to void my purchases and start over. “While you’re at it, you may as well get a couple more,” she says. “But each one has to be a separate transaction.”
Well now even I can see that I will soon have thirty dollars deducted from my bill. This is bargain-ese, my favorite language. I glance over at the white boxes and then I realize what they are. In GIGANTIC (unnecessarily gigantic) lettering on one side it says, “TESTOSTERONE” and on the side it says “WEEKEND WARRIOR.” I cringe. Does it really have to be testosterone? I glance around. I am one of those women who convinces her husband to buy her tampons, so I am waaay out of my comfort zone with these boxes.
But thirty dollars is thirty dollars, so I quickly stack three of them on the counter, and wait for the magic to happen.
Except that it’s dark magic. The clerk's computer jams and she has to call her manager, who apparently has to finish an entire season of Downton Abbey before he can come to the front, but who finally gets there. By now two more people are in line behind me. While the manager and the clerk pull receipts from the machine and try to untangle the three refunds, I notice two more people have gotten in line now, and they’re starting to crane their necks around to see why there’s a hold up.
The boxes, meanwhile, have grown to the size of shoeboxes, and from fifty feet away you can read “TESTOSTERONE.” I consider turning them, but “WEEKEND WARRIOR” will show if I do that. I can feel heat creeping up my neck and blooming crimson on my face.
I force a chuckle. “Boy, my husband is really going to laugh when he sees these,” I say. No one believes me. I am a middle aged woman in obvious desperation, loading up on the one item that can save my marriage. In public. At Walgreen’s. With a growing line behind me.
There are now twelve cash register receipts on the counter, and the clerk--- no longer my bargain buddy, but my mortal enemy—is trying to match up which receipts go with which purchases, and which enormous white box, each one now the size of a television set, can rest atop each of the three piles. The lettering of “Testosterone” is now blinking in red neon. I can feel sweat dripping down my back.
People are shifting from one foot to the other now, sighing and wishing they hadn’t gotten in line behind a crazed woman in the throes of unrequited passion. I think about turning and saying to the lady behind me, “This is such a good deal,” but then I realize I have no idea how to explain the mathematics, and she’ll just think I’m making it up. Actually I’m beginning to wonder if the clerk is just making it up, as well.
Finally they get all my purchases into bags, including the oven-sized testosterone boxes, and I dash from the store like a robber. I am already dreading Bob’s reaction when I show him the novel way I saved us thirty bucks, but hey. At least we’re ready for Armageddon.