I did several errands yesterday only to arrive home to one more.
My wife wanted a few items from the grocery store for supper. Not a problem. She was offering to make one of my favourite meals!
I trudged off to the store with relative enthusiasm.
At the end of the transaction, the cashier handed me a teeny stamp. Just one. Months ago, when times were much simpler, I would ever so snootily refuse when they asked whether I collected the teeny stamps. Each time, I itched to reply aloud and haughtily, “No, not I - I have no time for your petty proletariat propaganda.”
Unfortunately, after weeks of me turning it down, it turns out my wife did have time for the teeny stamps. She urged me to start accepting the teeny stamp nonsense. Apparently, you can never have too many good pots and pans.
It was much easier when, after you spent a pre-determined amount, the cashier would offer you a choice between the complimentary gift, or a gasoline discount. I tried the gasoline discount for a while but decided it was perfectly pointless. I’d put gas in the car, hand them the discount slip and the clerk would hand me back a nickel. Golly, gee.
On the other hand, accepting the complimentary gifts meant unfamiliar breads, noodles, juices and cleaning products in our house. Naturally, when the gift was a chocolate bar or package of cookies, my wife would urge me to spend much and often, in order to get the gift more than once!
Now, I quietly try to cope with the stress of this teeny stamp nonsense. Sometimes, late at night, I scan the internet in hopes of locating a Teeny Stamp Anonymous group close to my neighborhood. So far, no such luck.
Days like yesterday are especially challenging because the single teeny stamp can disappear like a mischievous sock, carelessly transferred from the washer to the dryer. It’s there one second and gone the next! Every time I move my hand in or out of the pocket containing the single stamp, I switch to slow motion, staring intently, to make sure I’m not about to lose the teeny stamp.
A row of teeny stamps is not so bad, just slightly more difficult to lose. Provided you keep it on the down low, I will confess here to losing more than one row of stamps over the last several weeks, along with several single stamps. I haven’t told my wife.
They just float off to wherever; parking lots, snowbanks, lint traps...
Now, I’m resigned. When the cashiers ask whether I collect the teeny stamps, defeated and downcast, I nod yes. Crushed, I wallow in it.
Anyway, after weeks of collecting the teeny stamps, we finally redeemed some teeny stamp sheets for a pan. We were still required to pay $10 cash! What’s the point of all this collecting! We have ten million teeny stamps and we still pay cash? You can’t put a dollar value on the agony I endure but let me tell you, that pan ought to be free!
I’m told the pots and pans are only in the store until January 28th. Actually, I’ve heard different dates from different cashiers. No one seems certain. I ask whether the teeny stamps will continue, some think they will, others insist the teeny stamps will disappear. What if we have nearly completed teeny stamp sheets? Are we collecting the teeny stamps in vain? Am I continuing to endure this annoying stress for no reason? Will it be teeny stamps in exchange for cutlery or counter sponges?
I seek peace.
I need to know. No one at the grocery store has definitive answers. I’m hoping I’m off the hook, no longer required to accept and transport the teeny stamps, free and clear of all the teeny stamp nonsense. Not only is the alternative too difficult to contemplate, it could quiet seriously end with me stamping my feet.