The Surprising Use for Big Lots Reward Cards


One of the prominent qualities of a true fashion freak is the ability — nay, the instinctual need — to one-up.

You wear a feather in your hair. I wear an entire ball gown made out of feathers. To Walgreens.

You wear a trendy patch of lace on your sweatshirt. I wear more lace than a Mexican quinceanera: a purple seven-layer(-dip) lace skirt, black lace leggings, a gray lace corset-style blouse and a gray scarf. Too much? Nah, I scaled back and I left the lace wrist-length gloves at home. Ridiculous? Only if you’re boring. I prefer fearless and fun.

So needless to say, when my husband achieved the master one-up on me, it sent me into an identity-crisis tizzy.

He put the card in my pants. How? How did he do it? And more importantly, how could I ever beat that?

The challenge began about a month ago in the queue at Big Lots in Longmont, Colo. Despite the Hub’s intimidating appearance — he towers above Too Tall Jones like a 7-foot-tall tattooed totem pole — he, like most huge beasts, is extremely gentle. So much, in fact, that he could not say no to the elderly cashier when she asked him to sign up for a Big Lots Buzz Club Rewards card. She said just spend something like $200 a Big Lots and you can redeem a 20 percent-off reward.

Gee whiz.

I would understand a Walmart rewards card because it’s impossible to walk out of that war zone without dropping $2,000, even if you just “run in” to “grab some batteries.”

But is it even possible to spend $200 at Big Lots? I don’t think the entire store of dinged-up junk amasses to 50 bucks. And if we were to somehow blow that much cash at Big Lots, 20 percent off is a totally sucky prize. I mean, isn’t the premise of the store that everything is already discounted? So, what, after spending $200 I can get my toilet paper for $1.40 instead of $2 discounted from $5?

Obviously, I had to make fun of my husband, because I am as short as he is tall and everyone knows that short people are generally evil. To rub it in, I sneaked the Big Lots card into his car — “Just in case you need it, sweetie.”

Later that day, I found the card in my wallet. So I put it on his key chain. Without saying a word, he wedged the card into my lipstick.

Oh, hell no. Not the lipstick.

It was on.

He nearly choked on the card while popping sunflower seeds on our recent road trip. I nearly vomited when I found it at the bottom of my beer. Then it appeared stuck on the inside of my sunglasses, in the leg of his surfing wet suit, under his scrambled eggs, wedged inside my apple pie, in the left cup of my bra.

The card made it inside my book, inside his shoe, under my pillow and in the bag for my white Halloween wig.

I was impressed when he managed to affix it to my bobby pin while shopping in Vegas without me noticing. When he grew suspicious of my actions, I enlisted a friend to slip it in his right shorts pocket while we were dancing on Halloween. I thought the superlative was when I found the stupid card taped to my back; it had been there all day.

But then I found it in my pants.

This brought up all kinds of complicated emotions for me. How oblivious must I be to my surroundings if A) He had managed to accomplish this, and B) I had not noticed for I don’t know how long. Not to mention the gross factor. He swore he’d disinfected it, but after the scrambled eggs and wet suit, I felt a little violated, I did.

Which brings us to today. I’ve been paining over how to get back at that sneaky freak of mine.

With the full acceptance that some things just can’t be one-upped — like, say, Gaga’s dress made out of raw meat — I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t at least try.

Dear Husband, I hope you enjoy your lunch. I made that pizza just for you. Pick a slice, any slice. I call this game Russian Rewards Roulette.

This story originally appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera. Read more stories from the weirdest city in America, Boulder, Colo., here: Only In Boulder.

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The New York Times recently led its “Review” section with a very long, data-filled summation of where men and women stand on the subject of sex. Alongside pieces on “How Auschwitz is Misunderstood” and “Who Will Rule The Oil Market,” you could learn that “one of the more common questions for Google is “How big is my penis?” and that “women show a great deal of insecurity about their behinds.”

Was the newspaper of record–the one that still resists reporting gossip–finally getting down and dirty? Even while cloaking those ‘he says, she says’ numbers in so-called academia? (Would you tell a pollster the truth on how many times a week?) Forget that there was little context to the survey, or that it felt excruciatingly intrusive. The truth is, it was yet another public step into an area many feel should be kept private.

Alas, more analysis and sex-tistics are soon to come: the justification, I predict, being the movie version of 50 Shades of Grey, which opens in a few weeks. There is nothing inherently wrong with surrounding a fictional phenomenon with interesting perspectives. But you have to wonder when it becomes an excuse for just a tad more titillation, the ultimate in high-brow meets low.

50 Shades, by, the way, has not been previewed by its makers: usually a sure sign that it will not land on any ten-best lists. On the other hand, the movie will likely be critic-proof and already, pre-sales are huge. I confess I have never read one word of the trilogy by author E.L. James: perhaps a shameful admission for someone who supposedly keeps tabs on the culture. Is it snobbism because the books are apparently literary-challenged? Is it reluctance, because I might be intrigued by the sexcapades? Is it pure and simple jealousy that this first-time writer is making zillions? But enough about me.

These are strange times we live in, when virtually nothing is private and everything is virtual. Just ask “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft, whose sleazy texts to a former lover recently enjoyed a tabloid run. Just ask actor Stephen Collins, whose audio messages landed him in what might be called his own Seventh Hell. Much like what the Sony folks learned regarding business affairs, public figures–in fact all of us— need to save erotic thoughts for in-person dealings. Or for academic researchers, apparently.

At times it is difficult to imagine that anything new can be said, or more revealing can be shown, about sex. Personally, even if I cared about the size of one’s genitalia, I wouldn’t share it, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks on the subject. I am insecure about a lot of things, (though not my behind) but am not sure why that matters to anyone else. As for what we see on screen, I will refrain from saying things were sexier when they were implied. Nor will I say that I mostly dislike how Lena Dunham’s girls and boys express their sexual desires because I fear younger generations will wonder why they should ever look forward to coupling.

Perhaps I am in the minority, but regardless, stay tuned, as “experts” lecture about dominance and submissiveness, and why we may secretly crave them. Already the discussion has begun:The author of that New York Times piece claimed she was finally ready to reveal all her research, writing, “Call it everything you wanted to know about sex, but didn’t have the data to ask.”

Really? Who asked?

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