Hillary never clipped coupons

Did Hillary ever spend her weekends clipping coupons?

I don’t know this for sure, but I am willing to bet she didn’t. But if you don’t make much money, you need to spend time trying to save money, and there is a huge industry out there that is asking for your time.

A quick search on the web for clippable/printable coupons gives me thecouponclippersdotcom, klip2savedotcom, bargaincouponclippersdotcom, couponsthingsbydededotcom, stockpilingmomsdotcom, hotcouponworlddotcom, couponcarryoutdotcom — and that is just the first page. Your mailbox — the actual mailbox which is sitting on a pole in your front yard by the curb — is stuffed with magazines and thick envelopes exclusively filled with coupons. If you get the paper version of a newspaper, your weekend could be filled with going through the coupons in the special weekend sections. Every time you buy something in a store, they ask for, no, demand your email address, so you can get coupons, or “special offers”, in your electronic mailbox. And if you forget to check the little box when you buy something online, you get them as well. Even if you don’t want to spend your time keeping track of your email coupons, your time is taken up by cleaning up your inbox to get rid of the coupon offers. If you have a school-aged child, or maybe just know someone with a school-aged child, chances are you have spent $25 on a special coupon book — because even if you only use a handful of the 200+ coupons in there, you will get your money back, and you did a good deed by supporting the school/band/PTA.

And if you are a mom with a school-age child, you also look for box-tops on the stuff you have bought, and then you clip those and paste them on to a sheet of paper, and if you do this all the time, you might have gathered about $5 worth of little cardboard box-top symbols at the end of the year. And of course, if all the 800 moms at school do just that, the school gets $4000, which is a nice chunk of money that can be spent on something useful and good. But how much time and effort went into those $4000?

If you are one of the valiant coupon clippers, you probably have a special folder in your purse with a highly intelligent sorting system for knowing what you have coupons for and where to find them. It might be alphabetical by store, then within that alphabetical order it is alphabetical by products. You have a system for expired coupons, and you just know — because you have memorized it — which ones actually do expire and which ones just say that they do. It still takes time to get out the right ones when you are at the cash register, though, and it takes some of the cashier’s time to check them and scan them.

Time. How much time?

Women’s time is up for grabs. After all, when you are a mom and have children who need to be fed and clothed and emotionally supported and transported to activities and playdates and who need help with homework or just need to be with you, because we are humans with human needs, how much time do you have to spare? A lot, right? No?

And you are working a part-time job or a full-time job and have a one hour commute each way, but are so badly paid that you still need to do the coupons, because your money needs to be stretched and this is the solution that is screaming at you from everywhere you turn? A penny saved is a penny earned, and there are pennies to be found out there. And after you have spent some hours earning your pennies, you go to the school and volunteer some more of your time organizing the car line or helping the teacher laminate drawings or summarize box-tops. Because you are a good person, and everybody needs to contribute something. Right?

The immensity of this coupon industry bothers me a lot, because what it really does is tell women that their time is worth so very little. It is designed to take time, to discourage the people who are properly paid for doing substantial work from clipping coupons, but it keeps those who need to save the pennies occupied. Busy. As if they have nothing better to do.

People object to coupons because they make people who don’t use them pay for the savings for those who do. I object because they steal valuable time and resources from more worthwhile pursuits. Women are worth more than that. A lot more.

Right, Hillary?