Wednesday, September 24, 2008

President Bush, We Already KNOW

“The president believes it is important for the American people to fully understand the depths of the crisis affecting our country."

— Dana Perino, chief spokeswoman for President George W. Bush

As President Bush prepares to speak before the nation tonight, I would like to give him a little heads-up: WE KNOW.

"Somebody had better come up with $700 billion ... and fast." We hear you. Loud and clear. But folks like us aren't really ... in a position to help you. And we don't really have the time. We are too busy helping OURSELVES. We are too busy staying home and not using gas. We are too busy cutting corners that might not exist tomorrow or next week or next year. We are too busy preparing for what may or may not happen. We are too busy teaching our kids the fundamentals of microeconomics and the value of choices, the merits of negotiation and the joy of finding less expensive ways to go about things. Lessons that are hard-learned; lessons that maybe somebody should have taught the U.S. Government.

So we really don't have time to try to understand this problem. But maybe you could learn a little something from us.

In some circles—mine, for example—we negotiate, bargain-shop and say "no" to the non-essentials. We find ways to enjoy life as we are accustomed to because ours is not a generation that has generally had to do without, and some things simply cannot be cut. Like Waffle House. Which is an essential. At Waffle House, a couple can still have a fine meal on a Friday night, enjoy impeccable table service and easily pay a $7.20 tab for two without much guilt. And the bonus here is that after dining at Waffle House, you still aren't hungry the next morning, thereby saving yourself the cost of another meal. A win/win.

No doubt, we are living in tough times, and nowhere is it tougher than at the drug store. Just ask one of my Alert Readers, who has transformed coupon-collecting to a full-tilt ART FORM and has recently been overheard, saying, "You think I'm going to pay full price for Kotex? Think AGAIN." She sent out an e-mail detailing her recent visit to CVS. Too many of these trips by too many consumers, and you will witness a complete collapse of the entire American economic system, but hey, we didn't ask for these hard times:

1 Soft Soap - Reg. $2.49 on sale for $.99
2 Colgate Toothpaste (bogo) - $3.29
16ct. Kotex liners - $1.49; I used $2 off $10 purchase coupon
$1 off Kotex liners
$.35 off Softsoap
$1.50 Colgate
$1 off Kotex coupon (a second coupon)
$1 off coupon (on my receipt, but not sure what for...but I'll take it)
My subtotal was -.08, but with $.22 tax, my total out of pocket was...$.14.

That's 14 CENTS for some fairly essential items. This particular friend is SO alert, in fact, that she snapped a photo of her inexpensive purchase and attached it to her e-mail, as proof of what she could do when pushed to the limit.

May her foresight and above-average math skills inspire a nation.