Survey says — February 25, 2020

Survey says

If you’ve bought food and/or sundries at any restaurant and/or store in the last few years, then at least one of your cashiers has probably suggested you take part in a survey. Perhaps said cashier has even circled a phone number on your receipt and noted that by taking the survey, you’d be entered into a drawing to win monies.

In spite of my slight paranoia, a few years ago I took surveys for the Supercenter and the home improvement store. I regret to report that I didn’t win a dime and that the surveys seemed to take dozens of hours to complete. Thus, my career as a taker of surveys was short and sour.

But one day in December, as I completed some last-minute-ish holiday shopping, I swung by the McDonald’s for some nuggets. For some reason, I looked at the back of the receipt and noticed that if I took their survey, I would be able to buy a sausage biscuit or Big Mac and get another one free.

Although I’m not known for having an interest in red meat, I do enjoy the occasional Big Mac. So, I completed the survey and a few weeks later, I cashed in on the BOGO deal. (By the way, the first time I saw BOGO listed on an advertisement, I said to myself, “Self, I’ve never heard of this BOGO brand.”) In case you’re wondering, I dined on one of those Big Macs that very day, put the other one in the fridge, and feasted on it the following day. My arteries can thank me later.

Anyway, you might recall that last week I mentioned my obsession with Wendy’s Asiago chicken sandwich. (As a reminder, it’s not pronounced Asia-go.) As I completed some shopping with my sister last week, I swung by the Wendy’s for one of those delicious sandwiches. And with the memory of the McDonald’s BOGO offer fresh in my memory, I checked my Wendy’s receipt. You can imagine my exhilaration when I saw that they offer a BOGO deal – a single hamburger or regular chicken sandwich — to patrons who complete surveys.

As of this writing, my body is digesting a grilled Asiago chicken sandwich whilst a plain grilled chicken waits its turn in my refrigerator.

There’s supposedly a limit on the number of surveys one can complete in a given amount of time. However, if you have access to multiple gadgets, I’m not sure how they would enforce this. And if you don’t think I would game the system to score some BOGO chicken, then you haven’t been paying attention.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Feed your inner splurge — February 18, 2020

Feed your inner splurge

Whether it’s buying generic toilet paper that’s so thin you could read through it or re-using salad containers, you can count on me to stretch a dollar. (A dollar comprising 100 cents in change that I accumulated by scouring for said change on floors or in parking lots.)

Anyway, due to this thriftiness, it might surprise you to learn there are items and occasions on which I splurge. For example, I buy Lindor chocolate truffles. Yes, I realize a bag that costs in excess of five bucks contains only 20 truffles, which means I’m spending more than a quarter on each truffle. But every time I pop one of those delicious balls of chocolate into my mouth, I consider it (more than) a quarter well spent. Besides, I’m still using that handful of Lindor coupons I scored in November, which means the cost per delicious chocolate ball is less than a quarter.

Although I break my fast every morning with generic oatmeal and lament the fact that I can no longer find generic tea, I buy Toasteds crackers. I also spring for Nestle cocoa mix. (What can I say? Chocolate is important to me.) Of late, however, the stores have not been stocking Nestle, which has caused my stress level to shoot into the stratosphere. Recently, as I stood in the cocoa mix aisle, I debated whether I should buy an inferior brand. Finally, I said to myself, “Self, you’re not getting any weak expletive cocoa.” So, I forked over the money for a “gourmet” brand that’s actually pretty good. (It’s still not as good as Nestle, though.)

And while I don’t dine out every day of the week, I do treat myself to one restaurant meal dern-near every weekend. Lately, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with Wendy’s Asiago chicken sandwich. (By the way, take it from me, it’s not pronounced Asia-go.) When I’m feeling especially frisky, I’ll order the meal. (It’s number 13.) But I make a point to go inside and place my order so that I can choose how much ice to put in my drink. This also means that I can then guzzle said drink and top it off before I vacate the premises.

Yeah, I’m thrifty even when I’m not.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

It’s better than (some) delivery — November 13, 2018

It’s better than (some) delivery

Last week brought exciting new experiences for me – I visited Atlanta, I rode through a gated trailer park, and I bought a DiGiorno pizza.

And as I look back on the week, I keep asking myself the same question – why did it take me so long to buy a DiGiorno?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve dined on oodles of frozen pizzas in my time. Back in the day, I took Totino’s pepperoni pizzas for lunch, dividing the pizza in half to provide lunch for two days.

Through the years, I occasionally upgraded to the frozen pizzas that resemble the kind you order at restaurants. DiGiorno seemed a bit pricey, though, so I settled for lesser known brands. These pizza-eating experiences, however, always left me feeling less than sated. Although I tried several brands, none of them had much of a taste. Well, except for the aftertaste.

But last weekend I found myself in a precarious position. Yes, it was BYOF Saturday at the my mom’s. So, as I walked through the aisles at the Dollar General, looking for something to eat, my eyes spied a DiGiorno rising crust pizza in the frozen food section.

The cost – more than five bucks – seemed exorbitant, but the rumbling in my tummy overruled my thriftiness, so I bought the pizza.

When I arrived at Mom’s, I put the pizza in the oven, leaving it there until the cheese was on the dark side of golden and the crust was a medium brown. Once it cooled a bit, I cut a slice and took a small bite.

It tasted delicious.

I’m not a foodie, so don’t expect me to describe the sauce and cheese with flavor-filled adjectives. Instead, I’ll repeat – it was delicious. The company’s marketing plan boasts that their pizzas could be mistaken for delivery. That is not a ploy. It is the truth. Indeed, the DiGiorno I consumed was better than some pizza I’ve had from certain restaurants.

I shared the yummy goodness with my sister and still had enough left over for Sunday and Monday. But I ate entirely too much for lunch Monday, so I opted for a light dinner that evening. Then, I went to Atlanta. So, by the time I resumed dining at home, the pizza was six days old.

Although I frequently consume food well past expiration dates, I thought long and hard about eating six-day-old pepperoni pizza. I turned to my sister for advice, asking if the pizza would still be good. When she said no, I followed up by inquiring if the no meant “it won’t taste right” or “it will kill you.”

She refused to clarify her answer and I ultimately decided against eating that last slice of pizza. Yes, by my calculations, I threw away approximately 90 cents worth of pizza. But I didn’t want my first experience with DiGiorno to end with a case of food poisoning.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

A penny earned — September 23, 2018

A penny earned

One day this week, I spotted something glinting in the early morning sun as I drove through the parking garage. It looked like a bright penny, so I checked my rearview mirror to see if anybody was behind me. There wasn’t, so I put the car in park, hopped out, and scampered toward the shining treasure.

Smiling, I snatched up the penny and returned to my car, happy that I hadn’t allowed a one-cent opportunity to pass.

Later that day, I had the chance to share the news of my good fortune with a group of co-workers. Their reactions weren’t as positive as I would have liked. A couple folks mused that we’re only supposed to pick up pennies if they’re on heads. You know, because they allegedly bring good luck.

After they finished speaking, I explained that I don’t believe in luck. But if I did, I continued, I would consider it good luck to find any penny, regardless of whether it showed heads or tails. Or even if it was so used and worn that I could no longer distinguish head from tail.

Anyway, another co-worker then revealed that she tosses pennies into the trash.

Upon hearing this, I believe I lost consciousness. However, I did rebound and tell her that, in the future, she could start tossing pennies to me.

Seriously, although it doesn’t surprise me, I do not understand the general antipathy toward pennies. Whilst standing in checkout lines, I’ve witnessed folks drop change, only to look to the floor, wave, and say, “It’s just a penny.”

When this happens, I always wait for the penny-dismissing customer to leave before retrieving said cent for myself. After all, I am not a thief. For some reason, though, people frequently direct weird stares toward me when they spot me scooping up lost change. It’s like they’ve never seen a grown woman crawling on a floor to pick up a penny. But what am I supposed to do? Walk away from free money? I don’t think so.

Sure, I’ll grant you that a penny doesn’t go far by itself. But if you pair it with only 99 of its friends, plus tax, you can feast on the dollar menu or buy a box of Milk Duds.

And that’s assuming you only find pennies. Take it from me, when you’re down there scrounging around, you also run across nickels and dimes. Pair them with enough of their friends and you can upgrade to a value meal or two boxes of Milk Duds.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.