Go Ahead: Discount My Wife

Photo via pixabay

My wife has this bizarre power over money that I can’t think of a rational explanation for. Though she has never earned all that much money through her salaries, she has always been able to save. Even when we were both poorly paid graduate teaching assistants, she was able to save money into a savings account as I ran up credit card debt. But that ability isn’t even what most befuddles me. Her more impressive paranormal power is that businesses keep giving her ridiculous out-of-the-blue discounts that nobody else gets.

I’m not talking about bargains she patiently hunts for and expects. She is a great bargainer and locator of sales, but I’m talking about discounts that she herself can’t figure out why she’s getting. This happens so routinely that family members refer to this phenomenon as “the Carolyn discount.” She says she has Romani blood in her veins and has told me there are tricks to attracting money, like wearing red underwear or taping up pictures of piles of money in your house to help you creatively visualize getting rich. Who am I to discount such beliefs? And damn if they don’t seem to work for her.

Carolyn once took a trip to Italy with a friend (whom I’ll call Gloria), and they went to a local bank to exchange dollars for lira. Carolyn made the exchange first and was pleasantly surprised at the rate she received. Seconds later, Gloria converted her dollars but got a significantly worse exchange rate. She was outside the bank when she realized this, became furious, and tried to re-enter the bank to complain, but they wouldn’t even unlock the door for her. Gloria was still fuming over this financial injustice when she and Carolyn began shopping at an outdoor market. Carolyn found a beautiful saint’s icon, admired it, talked in broken Italian to the older woman selling it, and when she asked, “How much?” was quoted a surprisingly low price. She bought it and showed it to Gloria, who also loved it and immediately went to get one for herself. But Gloria was told a higher price for the identical icon, and her loud complaining didn’t change the vendor’s mind. She must’ve felt like she was in the Twilight Zone.

Another frequent witness to Carolyn’s weird superpower is her identical twin sister, whom we call Sissy. Once in a store Sissy watched as Carolyn went to buy a belt that she found on a sale table. Then Carolyn learned that she got an additional discount because of an unadvertised storewide sale, and when the cashier mentioned a third discount if Carolyn signed up for a store credit card, Carolyn said, “Sure.” The belt ended up being nearly free. Sissy just shook her head and sighed.

Once, Sissy figured she’d cash in on the Carolyn discount herself. Carolyn was buying one towel set priced at $4.50 and a napkin set priced at $15. Sissy asked Carolyn to buy a second set of towels that she wanted, thinking she’d get a lower price since they’d be in Carolyn’s cart. The cashier rang up the purchase at a total of $9 before tax, when the twins expected a total of $24. When questioned, the cashier told Carolyn, “It must be because you bought two towel sets, the napkins were free.” So Carolyn was getting the much more expensive item free. Then Sissy said, “I didn’t see any sign that advertised this deal.” When Carolyn further protested, “That doesn’t seem right,” the cashier responded, “Isn’t this a great place to shop?” So Carolyn got free napkins worth $15 for her $4.50 outlay. When it hit Sissy she had to reimburse Carolyn full price for her towels, she folded her arms and gave her sister the stink-eye.

Eventually, what everyone in the family jokingly predicted, incredibly actually came to pass. Carolyn bought a box of candles at Pier One and the cashier gave Carolyn money. Supposedly because of an alleged credit in her account. Carolyn made it clear she didn’t think she had such a credit, but the cashier assured her she did. Carolyn kept repeating, “I don’t think this is the way it works” as the cashier put bills and coins in her hands. Carolyn walked out with the candles without paying a dime, walked out in fact with more cash than she entered with. So, yes, now when Carolyn needs a little extra money, she goes shopping and buys something.

I wonder if men’s underwear ever comes in red.


(Bill Spencer is author of the book Uranus Is Always Funny.)

Share this Post:

4 thoughts on “Go Ahead: Discount My Wife”

  1. I love this for many reasons but to find out Sissy was actually Marilyn is a twist of epic proportions.

  2. As the twin sister mentioned in Bill’s story I can attest to all that being true. Carolyn has the magic!

Comments are closed.