Thursday, October 22, 2009

Free works for me!

2:24 p.m. Today's project was to take my Jeep to the dealer for its quarterly service. The reason my 2005 Liberty never gives me a lick of trouble after 77,000+ miles is precisely that: quarterly tuneups ever since I bought it brand new. It's not even costly! I just wait for Moss Motors' coupon deals to come in the mail, sometimes $19.95, today's price $17.95, make an appointment and my car has its oil changed, other fluids filled, tires rotated, systems checked and, best of all, washed shiny clean! I do try to budget in the major mileage appointments, taking advantage of "customer loyalty" discounts, then, too.

The Lord had a good reward for our diligence today when we went to retrieve my ride and pay the total , which, with tax and who-knows-what extra California fees, came to $22.53. The service manager looked us up in the computer and said, "It says here that you have $35 in Reward Cash, so why don't we take that $22.53 out of that?" Woo-hoo! Moss still owes me $11. That's what I call a good day. And I will be back.
I realize that some are uncomfortable with "magically" receiving coupons at checkout for your favorite brands, a store's generic version, or even competitors' products. They cite privacy concerns, and it's understandable.
Although I imagine if I owned a store, I'd want to track products that my customers want, so as to build customer loyalty, just like I keep detailed records of my own Mary Kay customers ' preferences and needs. Computerized systems have only accelerated a process that began with civilization and bartering in the marketplace. I tend to favor privacy for medical records, banking, and insurance, for instance, but I am overjoyed to receive retail coupons online, in the mail, the newspaper, and anywhere else!
Americans haven't had any real privacy for quite awhile, probably since we got Social Security numbers. If Publishers' Clearinghouse was able to find out who lived in my house in a newly-completed tract within two weeks of our moving in 21-1/2 years ago, it wasn't because I told them! On the flip side, my three successful school board campaigns paid good money to the County registrar for voter rolls so I could walk door-to-door and greet folks by name.
There are ways to request removal of your name from junk mail lists. I've gotten onto "Do Not Call" programs that do alright for landlines, but never seem to take for my cell phone, somehow. I use the simple solution of not answering 800 or 877 calls, or any odd area codes. One caution: those lists expire, and bless my friend Robin for notifying me when they do!
When our women's ministry was having us all bring baby items for Riverside Life Services a few years back, I participated, and soon began receiving not only coupons for baby items at checkout, but whole books of baby coupons in the mail! (My Baby was around 18 at the time). I gave them away, but since I still buy baby wipes for all kinds of purposes, I have more coupons to give away, and that's fine with me. Makes me feel like a young mom of five again--thankfully, NOT!
We will all have our opinions of the invasion of privacy, and there may come a time when any one of us decide to take a stand. But I am encouraged by the the One who knows everything about me, my thoughts before I think them, my motivations, my plans and my actions! God knows my heart and loves me with all of His! Anyway!!
Hebrews 4:13 tells us, and I take this as a warning and a comfort, "There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."
Openness, accountability, forgiveness and restoration--that's the life I live under the watchful eyes of my Heavenly Father!

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