I walked into the area big box club warehouse to redeem my cash-back “you deserve this windfall for being saavy enough to hold our 22% interest card… and don’t forget you need a gross of toilet paper, a massaging chair with a reading light, and a sheet of brownies big enough to have its own zip code” check. I kept my eyes down, my Jeep running in the parking lot with the teenagers bee-bopping inside, and my mind focused. I did not sniff the brownies. I did not fondle the flowy blouses marked at an impossible $12.99. I did not take a quick tour through the warehouse to see what I could see. I avoided the gregarious octogenarians offering samples and the especially tricky office supply aisle.
I took the money and I got the hay out of Dodge. I was Odysseus, lashed to the mast of the SS Indebt, but getting rowed out of earshot of that money-sucking Siren song. I was Indiana Jones, grabbing my treasure and making a mad dash out of the booby-trapped cave. I was Angela Bassett, walking away victorious while that traitorous, two-timing fool’s sportscar went up in flames. My buddy Dave Ramsey would be proud. I don’t have a lot of Dave-worthy moments, but this was most decidedly a win. As my mother would say, you won’t see me darken their door again.
As a two-time Financial Peace University dropout (to my credit, I did read the book and it is really sound advice that I should follow), that cash was burning a hole in my pocket by the time I hopped back in the Jeep. The girls and I headed over to the near-dead mall to see what we could see. Two department stores and several empty storefronts later, I came out with all my cash! Yes, I even offered to let the girls go halvers on the windfall. Their only stipulation was that they could not buy t-shirts. You could make a quilt large enough to cover three football fields with our t-shirt collection.
I will admit the girls are pretty picky when it comes to any top that’s not a t-shirt. It can’t be purple, pink, or floweredy. It can’t have sparkles, ruffles, eyelets, cutouts, or spaghetti straps. It can’t be scratchy, see-through, or have a lame character or saying on it. Above all, it can’t be deemed “cute” by me. Apparently, I have the market cornered for decreeing the stylistic kiss of death. The upside to this is that, as you can guess, I totally got a free pass on that pink, overpriced girly-girl store! The downside is my girls practically live in t-shirts. I’ll take it.
Watching their fashion frustrations gave that cash time to cool down, and believe it or not, we all came home without one thread of buyer’s remorse. Maybe I’ll try out the envelope system that Ole Dave touts again. Maybe this time, I won’t lose an envelope full of cash. Yep, that really happened. After all, I’ve learned a few things about “exclusive” club memberships that offer “cash back”.