Monday, July 1, 2013

Adventures With Salida's Coupon Queens

   Last week I embarked on an adventure with our local couponing FB group: Dumpster Diving! Well, really it was "recycle bin diving". We met at our local recycling area which hosts recycling bins (large dumpsters and some caged trailers) for different items, including newspaper.
   I showed up promptly at 6pm, waiting... hoping I wasn't the only crazy one in our little group.. praying that I hadn't been stood up... and watching for recyclers on cell phones to lip read if they're reporting me for being a "suspicious person parked across from the recycling bins... just staring...."
   Paranoia is one of my strong suits and my over-active imagination likes to take charge at the most inopportune moments. I saw a police car drive slowly by (okay, granted there's a stop sign near the parking lot, but still...). Finally, my crew showed. There were only a handful of us (which meant more coupons for us! Mwahahahaha!) and we got to work right away.
    Apparently I was the only one brave (and crazy) enough to actually climb into the recycling dumpster. (What? It's clean... it's only used for newspapers...and telephone books...and apparently personal mail....). We sorted, we sifted, newspapers were flying left and right! All for those precious coupons that help us save $$ on items we already buy.

      For those of you who have never had the pleasure to experience the interior of a newspaper recycling dumpster, let me describe it for you. It's kind of like being encased in a pile of newspaper inside a large metal bin. The openings are your only way out and source of light. They get closed, and it's time to panic. I think newspapers are kind of like sand-the more you move around, the more you get buried in it. The more buried you are, the warmer it is, and then your imagination take flight, feeling itches and scratches and imaginary (or invisible) bugs. This is when panic sets in.
      Now if you are considering climbing into a newspaper recycling in to leaf through the papers for the oh-so-precious coupons, here's a couple of tips: First of all, make sure that you have enough space/access to enter the container (this is crucial-no one wants to be half-stuck in a bin; the EMTs would have a hey-day). Be wary that newspaper, though sturdy, can also shift and be compressed by heavier weights (like a human). Also, have an escape plan. You don't want to just jump in and not have a plan to extricate yourself.  Check yourself for bugs (because really-you just never know). Also, you may want to wear dark clothes and go at dusk (then bring a flashlight) because we weren't too clear on whether or not this venture was actually legal.
      We were there for almost an hour, scooping up unused, uncut coupons that some folks didn't even glance at. Our efforts gleaned us a small pile of coupons (and magazines too!) that we immediate dove into, looking for specific ones for our next stop- Wal*Mart. What's wonderful about Wal*Mart (we only have Wal*Mart & a Safeway) is the comp-shopping. This program is where Wal*Mart will match any competitors price, so if you find a lower price for an item elsewhere (you have to be honest about it; sometimes the cashiers will ask you for the ad), you tell the cashier and they will give you that item for that lower price. That, combined with coupons, really helps us save $$ when it comes to shopping at Wal*Mart. Safeway's J4U program, combined with coupons is another (but less frequent) way for us to save $$ on groceries & household items. 

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