That Time I Bought New Pants For A Penny

crispydoc Uncategorized 7 Comments

It was a decade ago, the day of our annual hospital gala, an event known in our household as Doctor Prom, and I had no pants to wear for the evening’s festivities.

I’d recently found a snazzy blazer that screamed Christopher Moltisanti from the Sopranos. I needed a matching tie to fit my budding image as a would-be mafioso.

Additionally, what few slacks I owned were worn, sad legacies of my fellowship, when I was expected to wear khakis on duty in the ED.

(Don’t get me started on what’s wrong about about New England doctor wear. Nowadays, you can take my scrubs when you pry them from my cold, lifeless body.)

This was a decade ago, well before my financial awakening, but I still loved a good deal.

Hoping to spend down a gift card left over from our wedding, I headed to the local Macy’s, where I bee lined for the discount rack.

I found an adequate tie as well as a decent pair of slacks that rendered my appearance most callipygous (as my wife would later tell me).

The slacks had multiple markdowns already noted on the tag, with the most recent reduction noting a price of ten bucks! Sweet!

I brought my items to checkout, where the polite woman behind the register informed me that a special seasonal promotion would result in a further discount on already discounted items today only. Triple word score on Scrabble good fortune!

She rang up the tie – $10 off plus an additional 20% discount. So far, so good.

Next she rang up the pants – one penny.

I didn’t have the heart to let her undercharge me and risk her employment, so I asked her if this was a mistake.

She took a moment and ran the tag through the machine again – no mistake.

I looked around for hidden cameras, but there were none.

They should make rings to commemorate this kind of victory, like a World Series of Discount Shopping.

If you find that they do, please be warned: I don’t pay retail.

Comments 7

  1. That is amazing you kept the receipt from way back then. Lol

    The receipt is definitely trophy worthy when you score a deal like that.

    It is funny because even now when I go into my clothing store of choice (Kohls) I head to the discount rack myself and can get some great clothing for 80% off. That plus additional coupons can get me some really nice polo shirts in the 3-8 dollar range when original prices are usually $45 or higher.

    1. Post

      A man after my own heart – admirable use of the Kohl’s coupon multiplier effect (my wife gets the mail discount, and when it hits 30%, off goes our trigger to re-up on kids’ clothing). More friends and family have seen my penny pants receipt than my college diploma, which in retrospect could be a form of social commentary. To whet your appetite further, if you acquire insider knowledge of the local thrift stores, those Polo shirts can run a buck or two apiece!

      Thanks for stopping by,


  2. Win! There is a whole sub-culture that subsists on this kind of deal making, they are called couponers. My wife has dabbled. She could go shopping with her pre-planned scheme , put $200 worth of stuff in her cart and come home 5 bux richer than when she left. It was very much like high stakes poker you had to pair and sequence your deals to maximize your “profit” and understand the odds. I have about 10 years of free deodorant on the shelf to prove it! She was on the board of a couple “sharing centers” around here that served needier folks and was always coming up with schemes to pass the loot from the haves to the have nots that didn’t involve the government and confiscation. My mom worked a thrift store run by our church and they would get pretty good stuff, the area the store served abutted a rural ghetto. Kids would come and go home with a toy for a dime if mom was manning the counter. I knew a guy who fed homeless Vets with this coupon scheme. He didn’t feed them a great well balanced meal but things like Lance crackers. He knew how to multiply 5 bucks into 20x that in food which he would then take out in the country to a Vet encampment a few miles north of me and the boys living out there in the bush had crackers or what ever else he could scrounge up for them. My daughter copped a bunch of jeans being thrown out by Walmart all different sizes brand new maybe 100 pair and she figured out a way to get them to some kids who had nothing, but after she stopped by they had new jeans. My neighbor had a small herd of goats. My kids would go to the grocer at the Publix and get bags of out of date produce for free, and ride their bikes down to feed the goats. The goats would get pregnant and as they fed them and named them they would watch the whole story of life unfold before them. It’s a whole different take on “economy”.

    1. Post

      When you can channel a pleasure out of proportion activity (especially a talent that might otherwise augment your least financially healthy consumerist tendencies) and make the beneficiaries of that talent folks in need, it’s brilliant. I need to borrow from the playbook of your family members, and figure out how to turn my love of the good deal into a love of the good deed.

      Time for me to follow some of those examples.


  3. That is awesome Crispy Doc! The best pair of work pants that I ever got were water repellent dress pants from a Work Warehouse. Cost: Forty bucks. Watching the inadvertent artline insertion squirtage bead and roll right off. Priceless.

    I do the hospital greens now too. Best part is that I can leave them at the hospital to get washed. Second best part is that I don’t have to strip in the garage and get the hospital germs hosed off before entering the house anymore. Winters were chilly.

    1. Post

      I can envision those pulsatile emissions from the a-line vividly. The joy that good gear brings is one of my pleasures out of proportion.
      What were you and I ever thinking to wear dress pants to work when scrubs get the job done?

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