Yet no matter how jaded or weary I become, the thrill I get from bargain shopping remains. The art of the deal is why I get out of bed in the morning. It is my own Olympic sport requiring skill, practice, and a shrewd awareness of pricing history and market conditions. There are magical buzzwords that leave me breathless with delight and anticipation:
Free Shipping.The Clearance Rack.
One of my all-time favorite stores is JC Penney. My reasons are many. As a super-tall woman, I love the fact that I can buy tall sweaters and shirts. Not too many places bother selling tall tops, and this problem has often left me feeling like The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. JC Penney also offers ULTRA tall jeans and pants which allow me to wear boots and heels with pants – a luxury I was forced to go without for the first 28 years of life.
And up until recently, JC Penney used to have the best coupons. Several times a year, I would receive my $10 off anything $10 or more. I would march into the store and get the boys some underwear. Free underwear. Four times a year. It felt delicious. Because nobody likes spending money on underwear.
So when a new JC Penney marketing guru put together a much-hyped and somewhat confusing new pricing plan which essentially ended coupons and sales events, I was shocked. I mean, did the store have the slightest awareness of its base? We were the coupon brigade! We were the bargain shoppers of the world! We were the ones who kept coming back because you gave us free underwear!
Once again, nobody asked a mom. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: always ask a mom. Heck, ask me. I’ll tell you. You just don’t take away a mom’s coupons. You don’t take away the free underwear. You don’t take away the one thrill we have in between doing laundry and driving the kids to practice. YOU. DON'T. DO. THAT.
So when the new marketing guru “left to pursue other endeavors” after a short eight months, moms were able to read between the lines. Stocks had plummeted and our carpool heroes were left pouting, refusing to set foot in a store that didn’t take their feelings into consideration.
But I still have hope. JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson has announced that he will be helming the vacated marketing role. Johnson is a former Target executive and also a Steve Jobs’ protégé. Target is my happy place. Steve Jobs is a hero. I can’t help but think Mr. Johnson will get it.
And if he doesn’t, I’ll be using my Kohls’ coupons to secure free underwear for the boys.
Because at the end of the day, nobody should ever have to pay for underwear.