An Attitude Problem in a Burnout Costume

Last week in the course of my CVS shopping I bought a package of Pull-Ups and realized too late that they were the wrong size. There is no way size 3T-4T will fit Hannah, and if she still needs Pull-Ups by the time she’s a size 4T, well, by golly… I’ll just have to deal with that prospect when I come to it. In the meantime, she wears size 2T Pull-Ups for naps and even those are a little big on her, so I figured I would just exchange the package for the smaller size.

Have you ever tried to exchange something at CVS when you spent Extra Bucks on it instead of money? Yeah, it’s not simple. The cashier had to call the manager. The manager looked at my receipt, clearly showing that I bought the Pull-Ups. She looked at the 3T-4T Pull-Ups I brought in, and the smaller size I wanted to exchange for them. She said, “Wellllll…you’re going to have to take these back to the store where you bought them.”

I was trying to be nice so I thanked her and left the store, but then I started stewing over it. I was trying to make an even exchange, not asking for money or store credit back! It’s not like I was going to use coupons or anything else to complicate matters or try to cheat CVS. Now, with gas nearly $4 a gallon, I’m going to have to drive half an hour round trip to exchange this package at the store by my doctor’s office where I bought it, rather than the one right down the street from my house?

I had already been feeling a little burnt out by constantly cutting coupons, poring over store sale ads, and constructing CVS scenarios. The incident with the diapers really pushed me over the edge. I fumed and raged: “I’m sick of coupons! I’m sick of trying to figure out the best deals and most efficient way to hit multiple stores without wasting gas! I’m sick of how much time and effort this is taking me!”

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty rebellious, and was feeling pretty justified in my feeling that way.

Then this morning our pastor preached on Philippians 1:19-30, and in the course of the sermon he mentioned a conversation he’d had recently with someone whose response to her problems was “but I didn’t sign up for this!” Boy, did I identify with that remark! The pastor then gently pointed out that, actually, you probably DID sign up for whatever it is, and in any case, the situation is God’s will for your life at the moment. The appropriate question is not “Do I deserve this?” but “How will I respond to this?” After all, I doubt the apostle Paul’s life dream was to be imprisoned and killed for his beliefs, and yet he was faithful in that circumstance.

The thing is, couponing and deal shopping saves us about $300 a month, often more, in food and toiletry costs (and I’m not talking about the extra shampoo and toothpaste that will get sold or donated, just the stuff we’re actually using). Right now we don’t have that extra money in the budget to throw around. There’s no inherent virtue in couponing, and maybe at some point I won’t be doing it anymore, but right now it’s a good service to my family, and I should do it to the glory of God. I realized that what I had been diagnosing as “burnout” was really an attitude problem masquerading as burnout.

All this to say, I am still annoyed by the CVS diaper incident, but I’m resolved to approach CVS and my other deal shopping with a better attitude and with thankfulness that I even have the option of saving this way. God is gracious to provide for us, even if the means are not necessarily what I would choose, and I will praise Him for His gifts.

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