Coupon and on and on

Updated: May 2, 2016 - 1:27 pm

“Look at this!”

As I pulled the rectangular piece of cardstock out of the mailbox, I could barely believe my luck. A free burrito at Chipotle?! The second coupon, to be used in a separate transaction — unfortunately though not unexpectedly — was for free chips and salsa.

Score!

The only better thing would have been receiving a Chipotle burrito itself in the mailbox. Of course, I can see the downside of that arrangement too.

I would be visiting Chipotle for the first time after a three-month hiatus. I’d been avoiding them since Thanksgiving. With the exception of that one time in December when my brother invited me to meet him at Chipotle and then said he’d “had a big lunch and wasn’t hungry.”

Suspicious.

That’s when all the news stories broke and it seemed like it was time to take a break. Maybe something my brother was doing already?

But then early in February, I had coffee with a friend who announced two important things to me. One, she was pregnant! Two, she was “eating Chipotle all the time!” She, a medical professional, considered it low-risk to eat Chipotle.

I wondered which happy piece of news was the motive of our coffee rendezvous.

Then a week later, my husband, who had also been taking a Chipotle time-out, went there for lunch with a friend. He brought me a bowl home, with a tortilla on the side — a secret a friend taught us to get the most bang for your buck.

Delicious. No one got sick.

People often ask me, “What are your favorite restaurants in your neighborhood?” I try to restrain myself from saying, “Chipotle.” I have other favorites, but my husband and I can go on a date night to Chipotle four times or to the delicious and local Gorkha Palace just once for the same price. So we save Gorkha for special treats. And Chipotle for all the other nights.

Kidding.

Mostly.

We are used to subsisting on Chipotle when need be — or when opportunity arises. The last time we moved — from one condo to another across the street — we ate at Chipotle during the packing, moving and unpacking process. It was easier to access than our pans and forks. It was closer than the grocery store.

One time an employee said to us at dinnertime, “We missed you at lunch today.”

So now Chipotle wants our business back, and I’m game. Please don’t let me down, Chipotle.

“I wonder if there are any more of these flyers in the recycling?” my husband asked as we got upstairs with our treasured coupon.

The next day as we were getting our mail, after checking to make sure no one was watching (though who knows how many unseen onlookers could have been observing our escapades via the surveillance cameras!?), we took a look in the mailroom recycling bin.

I spotted a coupon and pulled it out.

Then, toward the bottom of the bin, I pulled out a second coupon for a free burrito!

Success.

Not only that, but I found a Pizza Lucé coupon for a free artichoke dip. Perfect for a fancy Vegan Cheat Day.

I did the math. There are about 50 units in our condo building. Minus us, that’s 49. Usually a few people are out of town, so let’s say there were 40 others checking their mail. And 2/40 of people threw those coupons out? Five percent of people were uninterested in free burritos!?

And that’s not even taking into account that someone else might have checked the recycling before us.

“You know, we could head over to the other building and see if they left any coupons in their recycling,” I told my husband.

But we decided against it. All’s fair in love and Chipotle, and those are someone else’s coupons to scrounge up.

Carissa Jean Tobin is a Minneapolis-based teacher, writer, and coach. Her hobbies include creating humorous surveys for friends, lounging at the Wilde Roast Café, and scanning old papers in an effort to minimize. Visit her website http://www.goodworkgreatlife.com for tips on great living.