Monday, December 5, 2011

Behold the power of the Bar Code.

We have a new thing in our house as of last week.  It's called:  Scan a bar code with your I-touch and see how much it costs anywhere on earth and where we can find it cheaper.  Literally.  I can search the whole world and see the store that has the cheapest price.

Thank you Alex and the App Store.

See, this all started two weeks ago when Alex had a good OT session.  When he has a good session we have agreed that he can download one free App to his I-touch.  Yes, I bribe my kids.  It's horrible I know.  It works for us so I'm not stopping.  There I said it.

Anyway, it was great fun for the first twenty minutes but now everything in the house is being scanned including, but not limited to: tampons, toilet paper, a can of refried beans, a mechanical pencil, calculator, a game of scrabble and hand soap.  Anything with a bar code.

See, here's the game of Scrabble.  

Our Scrabble bar code.

And here's where we can buy it cheaper.

You got screwed if you bought it at Micro Center.

So on Sunday, stupid, stupid me, I decided we need some of the basic elements of survival including milk, eggs and bread.  I hauled the kids to Costo, two Sunday's before the Holiest of Holy Days on Earth.  Somewhere in the back recesses of my mind I thought that was a good idea.

Next time I come up with a gem like that someone, anyone, can you find a baseball bat and just smack me around a bit?

Stupid, stupid me.

Anyway, Alex was twitching before we even got to the car having a heenie since, "Costco DOES NOT have free wireless, Sam's has free wireless.  We should be going to Sam's Club NOT Costco.  Did I mention that Costco does not have free wireless?  Is anyone using their ears?  ACCCKK!"

"Yeah babe, I'm using my ears and I hear you but we need to get Gracie's milk at Costco and Sam's doesn't have it."

"Uggggh, but Costco doesn't have free wireless!!!"

"Uggggh, should we just let your sister starve then?  All because you want free wireless???"


Mental Note:  Never ask a Spectrum kid a question you don't really want an answer to and a personal thank you to Sam's Club for stocking everything I need except Soy non-refrigerated milk that my daughter chugs by the gallon.  And yes she really does have a milk allergy.  I'm looking at you extended family.    

So anyway, we get to Costco and wouldn't you know they DO have free wireless.  Falls under the category of things that would have been nice to know yesterday, or forty-five minutes earlier, but I digress.

As we were walking in to Costco debating the finer points of free wireless Alex had an epiphany.  He saw Costco in a whole new light.  He made a connection.  It was like the pearly gates opened up and God smiled down upon us.

All the things in the store have bar codes.  Every last item had scanning potential.  And we were in a warehouse of scanning potential.  A warehouse.

Everything that usually hurt his eyes became something entirely different.  They became: The Ultimate Scanning Opportunity.

At that moment Costco was my boys version of Heaven.  He almost lost his I-touch he was flapping his arms so dang hard.

And for the next two hours we stayed in Costco scanning every frigging item he could get his grubby little hands on.  DVD's, games for Play Station, Wii, socks, books, meats, produce, Christmas garland, nativity scenes, jewelry, cheese, cutlery, soda.

You name it, we scanned it.

And because he was extra excited he was talking in his outdoor voice inside Costco the whole time.

He made friends all over the place.




It's the season of giving all right and let me tell you, my son's a giver.  He was giving price advice all over the place.  And the thing was, for the most part people loved it.  Impressed that an eight year old was able to tell them the best deal from his I-touch.  They loved how he was sharing and giving unsolicited advice.  Because when it came to money, people listened.

And that my friends is the true story of how our weekly visit to the inner circle of hell turned into a two hour adventure on Sunday.  For the first time ever, we had fun at Costco and our meltdowns were at the beginning of the trip and not at the end.

Note: Alex uses the App called RedLaser.  If anyone's interested just click on the link.  I think you can also get it at the App Store as well, I don't know I'd have to ask Alex.  Anyway, enjoy your shopping and now you too can start scanning every frigging item Costco sells.  Have fun with that.  


  1. I know the Red Laser app - we do have fun with it in this house too. I was thinking that Costco must have wireless! I could not help but smile at this story. Bless Alex's little 8 year old heart - now ask him for me where the cheapest place is to get 9 volt batteries - is it really Costco?

    And btw, I was wondering - since the hubs has banned me from Costco for never leaving without spending over $200- how much did that two hour trip "Costco" you? ;)

  2. I must admit that I can get a little obsessive with the bar code scanning myself -especially this time of year. Maybe you could let me borrow Alex a couple times while I'm trying to do my Christmas shopping?? He can work the i-Touch and I'll work the credit card!

  3. Oh how this post made me smile!

    First off I am going to download this app immediately.
    Second I think Costco should hire your sign for marketing. It's brilliant!! He is happy, you make some extra holiday cash and Costco gets more people spending more dough. It's a win - win people!!

  4. Stuff like this makes me want a smart phone. My cell phone only makes phone calls.

  5. Just yesterday, Vince told me he wants me to go to Costco with him next Saturday. I told him if he thinks I'm going to Costco on a Saturday in December, he is obviously on crack. However, if you will lend me Alex for a few hours, I may reconsider. He and Vince would get along FAMOUSLY.

    Seriously, your son is awesome. Future career as a personal shopper, perhaps?

  6. Fantastic, I'd love one of them but daren't. Its bad enough with the self scanners/self pay; can't get my son off them. He will even stand in a queue just to use a self scanner in a supermarket. Until these were invented, he couldn't cope with a supermarket! Deb xx

  7. So what happens when you are at the store and scan something only to find it is cheaper elsewhere? Do you go to the other store or stay and get all your things in one place. That app sounds like pure awesomeness and pure hell all wrapped into one. I hate going to different stores but I think it would nag at me knowing I could have saved money elsewhere.

  8. that sounds like a super fun app. I barely even know what an app is as I like to stay a good three steps behind the current technology.

    Can your daughter drink lactose-free milk at all? Ella has a lactose thingy, so that's the kind of milk we have to buy for her.

  9. @Jim--me too!

    @Karen V.--we never make it out of either store under $100. This one was about $150 since we were only price shopping for Santa.

    @ACtB--You can borrow him any time. He'd love it!!!

    @Peg--I think Costco loved us on everything except the movies and games. They were almost always about $10 MORE expensive than Wally-world or Target.

    @Rebecca--yeah, thing is, I have a hard time making a phone call with it. And my butt, arm, car seat, whatever always makes calls for me.

    @Grace--yeah, I think Vince is on crack. Right along with my husband. The crowds totally don't even phase him. He even went out on Black Friday. I stayed home laughing my ass off at him.....

    @Deb--our kids are great with technology, I love it!

    @Allie--Yeah, I had to go into the dynamics of a Cost Benefit Analysis in the middle of the store to explain how $10-$20 was worth putting an item back and buying elsewhere but $1-$4 was worth paying the extra money at Costco to NOT have to drive, park, find the item and deal with all the extra BS that comes with it.

    @Karen--She can drink regular milk but in teeny-tiny doses. Any more and she's a pooper. Literally. More than about an ounce and she sick. Thing is, she only drinks Costco's soy milk--and only the regular flavor and not vanilla. Good luck finding that when you have to go on an airplane.

  10. I am not going to buy a darn thing until you've consulted with Alex for me! I don't want to overpay for anything! Glad you found a new adventureland!

  11. I just recently downloaded the red laser app and I freaking LOVE IT! I can understand why your little guy was so excited! I have the same reaction and I'm 26, lol.

  12. Oh this made me laugh and made me green - shops with with wifi? OMG it would solve all my shopping problems...

  13. This is too funny, but now I want to download that app!

  14. If it gets too out of control you can always put the brakes on by asking if he's figured in the cost of gas to the different stores.

  15. Now I know which apps to block from my kids. Thanks!

  16. First of all...awesome!

    Secondly...I will never again go to Costco without thinking of the "pearly gates". :)

  17. hahahaha.... I'm laughing my head off here!! I can just see it all! Costco must have been pleased with Alex' sales advice!! And I just LOVE 'is anyone using their ears'?!! Sounds so familiar...spectrum speak, nothin like it;-)

    xx Jazzy

  18. Thank you Alex! Holy crap! I have that app on my phone because of those cute little QR codes that when you scan it lead you someone's website. BUT I had no idea it was the same one that lead you to bargain shopping!!! I just tried it! I could have saved $7.50 on Style Snaps (a lazy person's way to hem pants, geez)- I never buy that kind of stuff but it was an impulse buy at Bed Bath and Beyond. But I'm curious..... did he find that Costco was overall cheaper than most stores? I think Costco is heaven too.

  19. Downloading....... And .... Mamma's gonnahave some fun today!

    To think, Iwas dreading my trip to the grocery store!

  20. We too made a jaunt to Costco on Sunday, but we spent our time accosting the sample ladies multiple times while screeching "where's the next sample lady!"

    I wish my kid would hurry up with this whole "learning to read" thing so I can download that app and make it his personal mission to save mama some sheckels.

    Sounds like a successful trip, and fun for the whole family!

  21. Update: I have downloaded this app to my phone (they have it for Android, too), and now I'm whipping it out every time I see a barcode on something lying around the house. (Hee hee, I said "whipping it out". . .)

    I have not shared this with my son because he already has my phone 90% of the time to play Angry Birds, and if he catches on to this new bit of awesomeness I'll be completely incommunicado.

  22. And this is why I'm not a good bargain shopper...well, that and I don't have a fancy phone that lets me use apps.
    Sorry about your experience, but loved the retelling of it, especially the little aside to the extended family!

  23. @Mike---he was looking into that!!!

    @Pam--wait, what??? Why are you looking for pants? It's like 80 degrees or something down there right now!!!

    @Grace--yeah, if you let him have the app, you can just kiss that phone or yours goodbye!

  24. wow
    he is soooooo impressive
    love that kid

  25. I think that I need Alex to go shopping with me next time.

  26. Let them starve for a free wireless? LOL. Good thing you had a friendly fella back there at Costco. Anyway, that was a wonderful adventure. The bar code certainly is powerful.

    1. Thanks! Costco can go wrong on so many levels, it was good this trip turned out OK.


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