In fact, at this rate I’ve probably already got enough to re-shingle the roof of my house!

Although granted I’m not sure the HOA would approve of the bright red, savings-implying color…

Still, as I sift through this massive pile of ExtraCare cards that I’ve somehow managed to accumulate over my many years of shopping at the 24-hour pharmaceutical/late night junk food-facilitating giant, I can’t help but wonder two things:

  • How in the world did I amass so many of these in the first place???
  • What am I supposed to do now that I have them?!

Of course, the answer to my first quandary is actually pretty simple.  No, I’m not one of those dastardly types who might say that they don’t have a card for the express purpose of collecting as many of those shiny, red trophies as possible, despite already being a registered member of CVS/pharmacy’s illustrious rewards program.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I’m above that sort of irresponsible, juvenile behavior … in fact, my memory recalls one particular evening back in high school while I was on spring break with some of my friends where we managed to collect a ridiculously unnecessary quantity of gas station squeegees from about a dozen service stations throughout a particular town in the Florida Keys that will not be named for legal reasons!  So I totally get the immature, albeit cynically gratifying comedy in such a scheme, but alas that’s not exactly the case here…

Instead, my stockpile grew surprisingly without any mischief whatsoever, slowly building each time I would return home from a trip to find a fresh card hidden in the bottom of my shopping bag, sometimes even when I distinctly remembered presenting my own card in a vain attempt to collect all of the tasty discount coupons that I never actually get around to redeeming later on down the road.  I don’t know if CVS cashiers are paid by the number of rewards cards that they hand out each day, maybe the employees themselves are paid in rewards cards and the only way to get rid of them is to give them away to other people!  For all I know, this pile of red plastic before me could simply be the result of one too many cans of Red Bull at two in the morning when some cashier just finally lost it and took to his register proclaiming, “Free ExtraCare cards for all my late night shopping patrons!”

No matter how I got them, though, obviously the more important question is what does one do with enough discount cards to essentially get one of everything that my local CVS sells for free?!  This is the question that I’ve been pondering all week, but so far I think I’ve got some pretty worthwhile leads…

  • Build a replica of something large and awesome – can you say CVS-o-saurus?!
  • Hand them out as Christmas presents – the gift of savings is one that keeps on giving all year round!
  • Bundle them as complimentary bookmarks with every purchase of my book.
  • Open my own chain of retail stores that uses the letters CVS as an acronym – Cute Velociraptor Shirts?  Crazy Vic’s Scrapbooking??  Certainly Very Sexy???
  • Walk around the mall parking lot and leave them on the windshields of vehicles that look like their owners could benefit from the extensive discounts that the ExtraCare customer rewards program is known for (i.e. pick-ups with Truck Nuts hanging from them).
  • Carry them in a sack and throw them over my shoulder like confetti, showering the streets with savings (and non-biodegradable litter) everywhere I go.
  • Feed them to Cleo, our new puppy … assuming she hasn’t already found them and chewed them into unrecognizable chunks of plastic anyways.

In the meantime, it almost makes me afraid to walk into my favorite neighborhood pharmacy, knowing that every purchase could inadvertently add to the reserves that I so painstakingly need to figure out how to dispose of.  I dream of the day when eventually CVS catches up with the rest of the stores that already did away with their rewards card programs, ridding households of the mountains of discount cards that had erupted out of purses and onto coffee tables across the countryside.   One day quality discounts will be the prize of all shoppers, not just those who have been inundated with plastic swipe cards, and on that glorious day when the final ExtraBucks have been excreted from the cash register – that’s when the true healing will begin.

In the meantime, though, how many of these things do you think it’s going to take me to make a dinosaur, anyways?  With scales made of savings and razor sharp, discount-wielding claws, CVS-o-saurus will be the fiercest predator in the retail industry, slashing prices with a thunderous cry and products marked 20% over list price flee in terror…