JIM DAVIS: Getting the Most for Your Money
I've written before about Marilyn's tactics when we go grocery shopping.
When we enter the store, she sends me off for something impossible to find, like capers or anchovy paste. While I'm engaged in my futile search, Marilyn is free to roam the aisles at will, without any interference from me. Empty-handed, I usually meet her at the checkout counter where I importantly whip out my credit card to pay for the groceries, the cashier never suspecting that I've been the victim of a plot.
After all these years, you'd think I'd be onto all of Marilyn's tricks, wouldn't you?
The fact is that I know when she's playing me for a sucker. To tell the truth, I'm kind of glad to get away from Marilyn in a store, because I can't stand to watch how she shops. I hate to watch her trying to determine whether a nine-ounce box of macaroni is a better buy than two five-ounce boxes on sale. Rather than trying to figure out stuff like that, I happily wander aimlessly around the store alone. I kind of hang around out of sight until I figure it's safe to meet her at the checkout.
Having said all that, I will now admit that as much as I don't like grocery shopping with Marilyn, I love shopping with her for big items like furniture or a car. In those situations she's stubborn, creative, and absolutely fearless. I stand in awe of her.
I once went with Marilyn to lease a car after she had seen the dealer's newspaper ad stating a certain price per month with no money down. That poor salesman never had a chance.
When he tried to bring up things like placement fees and preparation charges, Marilyn just kept saying no. Finally the salesman tried the usual ploy of bringing in his big gun, the so-called "regional manager." At one point in the ensuing conversation, Marilyn got up and said, "Come on, Jim, we're leaving." She finally ended up with the car she wanted, at the advertised price, and I was so proud of her that I still get emotional thinking about it.
Years ago I found myself in the position of having to buy a house without Marilyn. My company had transferred me from Pennsylvania to Kentucky. Two small children and her teaching job made it impossible for Marilyn to go house hunting with me, so I conducted my search alone. I narrowed my choices down to one beautiful colonial, and I couldn't wait for Marilyn to see it and get all weepy about what a good job I'd done.
I met her at the airport and drove her to what I was sure would be our new home. It took her less than a minute to discover that the hall closet, where we and our guests would hang our topcoats, would not accommodate anything longer than a golf jacket. I got one of those pitying looks that a wife gives her husband when he's done something monumentally stupid. We didn't even examine the rest of the house, and the deal was off.
Another time we were shopping for a sofa for the living room in our new house in Pittsburgh. At a nearby furniture store we found the perfect couch, a long, low, rather expensive piece that I fell in love with instantly. I wanted it, but Marilyn said we couldn't afford it. She was right, of course.
Several months later, the store put it on sale for less than half-price. We bought it, and it was a part of our homes for the next 45 years. Marilyn saved us a small fortune.
When it comes to buying big ticket stuff, she's my idol.
Excuse me, but I have to go now. We're going shopping for a mattress, and Marilyn's waiting in the car. She's already got her game face on.
Contact freelance writer Jim Davis at watson8252 @embarqmail.com.
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