You know, sometimes frugal instincts just reach logical absurdity. For example, I just spent more than half an hour and a good amount of brain power to get free shipping.

Kohl’s had some good-looking men’s microfleece PJ pants that I’ve been meaning to get all season. In fact, I was going to hit the sales on Black Friday. Then at one of the many other sales during the lead-up to Christmas.

Finally, I meant to get them the day after Christmas. Except that I felt awful from the progesterone. (It’s a bit better now, as long as I keep my blood sugar up at all times. Which means eating something every hour and a half. Sheesh.)

So I didn’t get out there until Saturday, when tumbleweeds were blowing across the shelves of discounted holiday items. Sears and Kmart weren’t any better.

I had to bite the bullet and get the suckers online. Normally, I like buying online. I get to shop through cash back sites, like Mr. Rebates. In this case, it meant 5% cash back.

The problem is that I only wanted 3 sets of pants at about $10 – 12 each. The minimum for free shipping with Kohl’s is $50.

I decided to get myself a couple of pairs of PJs, too. I haven’t been all that warm lately either — sorry, Mom, your daughter’s turned into a wimpy lower-48er — so I wouldn’t mind a little something cozy.

Which brought me to…. $49.54. Seriously. I swear Kohl’s sits around doing this evil math just to put shoppers in these positions.

I kept taking my PJs out of the cart and deciding to just pay the damn fee. But every time I tried to click “Check Out” I ended up staring at the $6.95 charge. I swear it was smirking!

I pointed out to myself that the ever-present Kohl’s 20% discount basically covered the fee. But then, my frugal brain insisted, I wouldn’t be getting the discount on the pants. And, hey, some PJs would be nice!

So I’d sigh, put the sleepwear sets back in the cart, look at the increased total and start fretting all over again.

In the end, I found a pair of earrings I like for under $5. All I had to do was ignore the fact that I don’t, in fact, need more earrings. And that earrings can often look much better on a website than in person. And that this was all patently absurd.

So instead of spending $34.83 including $6.95 for shipping, I spent $57.97 and paid no shipping charges.

You know, once upon a time teachers thought I was good at math.

Actually there were two deciding factors. First, I can return any of the items in-store if they don’t meet expectations. Second, and more importantly, I do want some PJs, and $23.14 for two pairs is a pretty good deal.

All of that said, there is no doubt in my mind that they got me. I’ll enjoy the items, and I’ll use them. But I lost this battle, even after I won free shipping.

Stupid effective marketing techniques.


Do you fall for the free shipping ploy?

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