By Lynda Arakawa
I need to find something cute to wear.
Now, if not very soon.
I don't have a special occasion coming up. It's just that if I don't buy something soon, then I won't be able to save money.
This may sound a little strange. Let me explain.
The clever folks at Ann Taylor mailed me a handy coupon offering me a 15 to 20 percent discount. Sure, you have to buy at least $100 worth of clothes, but a girl can't have too many tank-and-cardigan sets for the fall, right?
Oh, and did I mention this offer expires soon? Which means I need to make that purchase pronto.
I know, I know. I'm a marketer's dream — just the type of consumer these promotions were designed for. My financially prudent dad dismisses these offers as "Come on down!" ploys. When he heard me mention this coupon the other day, he chuckled, cupped his hands around his mouth and said, "Sucker."
I'm not a sucker. Well, maybe I am, sometimes. I do love a bargain. While some may turn up their noses at lower prices, I find slashed price tags and discounts quite seductive.
Thirty percent off? Woo-hoo! Half-off a second pair? Merry Christmas!
Now let me be the first to say that all this shopping needs to be done responsibly. I'm not stocking up on leopard-print Spandex just because the price is right. (Frankly, any price is too much.)
I try to shop under two rules: Only buy things you truly like and will use, and never test the limits on a credit card.
Of course, I know these discount offers are not always worth it. I recently browsed a Mainland retailer's Web site with a $25-off coupon in hand. After picking a top for work, I found shipping costs ate up nearly the entire discount. I promptly swore, canceled the order and dumped the coupon.
Still, the lure of a bargain is strong. My mom understands. She recently bought a bunch of clothes while visiting family on the Mainland. The stores there cut prices on summer clothes to make way for fall, and the woman made sure no clearance rack at the Tacoma Mall went unchecked.
My mom brought me back four pairs of capri pants as omiyage, saying the stores were "practically giving them away."
Maybe I'll bring her with me to Ann Taylor so she can "save" some money, too.
I can already hear my dad laughing.
Reach Lynda Arakawa at firstname.lastname@example.org.