I was checking out at Staples with my new purchase of a spiral notebook. The checker scanned the barcode and I started to swipe my credit card.
“Wait a minute,” she said. “Don’t swipe it yet.” Time passed.
“Okay, go ahead.”
After I swiped the card, she said, “Can you read me the four-digit security code on the front of the card.”
I read it to her. More time passed. “Can I see the card please?” she said.
“I thought this was supposed to be easy.”
“It is easy.”
Along with my Staples receipt, I was given a coupon for 40 percent off a different, more expensive brand of notebook. I had actually looked at the other brand of notebook when I was in the store, but didn’t think it was worth the extra cost. If I’d had the coupon at the time, I might have used it to buy the more expensive brand.
The coupon expires in three weeks. I’m not going to need another notebook in the next three weeks. What’s the use of giving me a coupon for a notebook when I just bought a notebook?