I'm pretty sure if I had been born in the Middle Ages they would have killed me. Between the dreadful eyesight, the sans make-up resemblance to a ghoul, and my utter disinterest in cooking, cleaning or children, I suspect I would have met an early and fiery end. While I've mellowed on the children since having my own, I remain bemused by the domestic divas swarming the blogosphere and reality TV.
The TLC show Extreme Couponing was especially confusing because in Canada we don't have "store coupons," you can't use two kinds of promotions at once, and the grocery store flyers all say "We reserve the right to limit quantities" in the fine print at the bottom. The retail environment isn't structured to let you buy 1,000 tubes of toothpaste for a grand total of 25 cents.
Still, as I watched yet another determined housewife wheel her loot out of the store, flushed with triumph, I felt that tiresome twinge of gender guilt. Maybe I should be doing more to stretch our family's budget than buying clothes off-season and choosing the ice cream flavour that's on sale.
But as the camera panned over rows upon rows of gleaming soup cans filling a proud couponer's oversized garage, I realized I wasn't jealous of her dedication to thriftiness. I was angry. This family's cibosity was larger than they could possibly use in their lifetime, and while they were hoarding non-perishables in their comfortable middle-class home, struggling families in communities everywhere were going hungry. The local food bank could have put 100 jars of peanut butter to better use than decorating a garage wall.
Perhaps food banks should hire their own extreme couponers. Now that would be a money-saving spree to be proud of.