December 20, 2011

December 20, 2011

Stamped Out

Whatever happened to savings bonds? And ration coupons? And Subway stamps?

Call me old-fashioned, but I long for a time when anything worth doing was worth doing well, and involved saving and pasting little bits of paper inside a folded piece of flimsy cardboard. Those were the days.

There’s just something about the collecting/saving/redeeming process that appeals to the human spirit in all of us (me especially, hello). Look at the Extreme Couponers, with their massive binders. While I disapprove of them on many levels, those people certainly do know how to work a system.

History lessons about company towns (mining, manufacturing, etc.) often cite the use of scrip (company-issued currency redeemable only at the company store) as a factor in the eventual fiery crash and burn of the hamlet. I, on the other hand, am enamored of the scrip concept. It’s like Monopoly money BUT IN REAL LIFE. The fact that I can only use it in one place just makes it that much easier for me to shop. Also, if everyone pays with scrip, the chance that I’ll get stuck behind an old woman paying with a check goes way down.

(WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL PAYING WITH CHECKS AT THE GROCERY STORE?)

Everything is electronic these days. Gift cards, and reward cards, and interfaces that beam directly into your brain through your retina. When I was your age, my aunt got me a gift certificate for the local mall that was an actual certificate on an actual piece of paper. No plastic involved.

(Don’t even get me started on the new version of Monopoly that uses debit cards, because IT WILL GET REAL.)

Please tell me that stocks are still issued on certificates. Please tell me that if I someday buy 500 shares of stock in Google, I will get a ream of stock certificates from Google Inc., 123 Google Drive, Google, CA (exact address may vary, phone number is probably 1-800-GOOGLE). I don’t want to live in a world where my future Google stock is shot via laser into my eyeball. I really don’t.

When I was your age, my parents were pretty poor. (Thus began my love affair with thrift stores.) I remember the day they decided to sell a savings bond my grandpa had left them when he died. I got to actually look at it for once, since it was usually stored away from the kid who kept spilling and/or coloring on everything (a.k.a. me). I believe my actual quote was, “It’s so fancy!”

And I totally miss the Subway sub club, not least because it rewarded me with free food. Sure, I had to figure out how to affix tiny pieces of impossibly-thin paper to a holder the size of a business card, but that was all part of the challenge. They say that only the strong survive, but I’d add that only the smart get that free sandwich after 8 stamps (double stamps on Wednesdays).

2 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke:

I am desperately searching for all the levels on which you disapprove of extreme couponers (having seen my first episode just last week . . .)

Epic fail on my part. Footnote has been removed, and will be converted to a separate entry in the mood of "things that piss me off."

If you're a fan of the extreme couponing concept, I apologize in advance.