Thursday, February 12, 2009

A penny saved

At the grocery store Sunday afternoon, I spotted an acquaintance, Chalese, who wound up in line behind me at the checkout. She had her little one with her and a cart with maybe a dozen items, including two Sunday Oregonians (that's a Portland, Ore., newspaper, in case you're unfamiliar).

The checker rang them up ($2.50 each!) and was about to bag them when Chalese said, "Oh, no, I'm done with those. You can toss them." The checker looked askance, as I'm sure I did, and she said, "I already got the coupons out of them."

I needled her about sacrilege and stuff and we wound up chitchatting about coupons and such. She said she doesn't take the paper I work at - not enough coupons - nor a larger one down the road - also not enough coupons. She's pretty organized, too, a strategic shopper who uses coupons when the items she wants are already on discount at the store.

Chalese is the perfect person to have as a reader: She's smart, articulate, a mom, young and professional (she's a cop). How could you lose? By not having good enough coupons, obviously.

So I took her gospel to work with me this week and had some decent results. We're working on a project to help people get through these troubled economic times and Chalese or someone(s) like her are likely to be source(s) for a coupon-clipping story. The ad director was interested, as was the online guy. So, we'll see where things take us. And just today, I was passed an e-mail from another reader who wishes we had better coupons.

I'm sure there's irony in here somewhere. The best part of the whole deal was when we were bidding adieu at the store. I'd just asked if she'd be up for being a source if we did a story and she said, "Sure. You know how to get in touch with me." I said, "Yeah, dial 911."

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