One of the benefits of being a Microsoft employee is something we call the Prime Program or Prime Discount. As an employee, you get a card that looks like a credit card. It identifies you as an employee to all retailers that offer discounts to us. I'm typically pretty bad at knowing when I can use the card. I usually forget to ask or get embarrassed that the person will think I am a big cheapie. There are enough retailers that offer discounts that it's hard to remember who they are (they are listed on an internal website). You have to ask for the discount, they don't just offer it; or so I thought until today. I also thought I didn't have too bad of a shopping problem. Hmph.

I was at Bellevue Square at lunchtime today. Shoes were calling me. Did you ever see that Sex and the City commercial where Carrie looks in the shoe store window and says "hello, lover"? Well it sounded like that only the voice was deeper. It's a pretty mutual relationship. So it would be rude for me to just ignore the call.

I went into ShoeFly and selected my 2 pair (because one pair is just a pair, but two pair are a party). When I went to pay, the salesperson looked up my name in their computer and I watched over her shoulder as she pulled it up (I hate it when people do this to me but this was a show store, not someone's personal office). Next to my name was a note (I kid you not): "Buys a lot. Microsoft employee". Holy crap. I'd say about one tenth of my shoes have come from here (granted, my favorite Italian sandals are from here and they were a splurge), but evidently, one-tenth of my shoe collection is "a lot". Whoah, hello, self; we may have a problem here. And just as I was about to start thinking about possibly starting to contemplate reconsidering my shopping habits, the salesperson looked at me and asked "Do you have your Prime Card?". I sure did and I saved 15%. I;'ve decided to compartmentalize any concern over my shopping habits. I've decided to revisit that issue when I accidentally buy something ugly and expensive that can't be returned.

My friend Ann is good at knowing when we can use the Prime Card when we go to lunch. I only remember this because when we go to Coho cafe for lunch, it's buy-one, get-one-free; Ann remembers. I would have totally paid full-price had I gone there with anyone other than Ann. I want to get better at remembering when I can use my discount. I recently realized that I paid full-price for my new washer and dryer when I totally could have gotten a discount (doh!). So, I am going to start documenting the money I save when I use the Prime Card. That way, someday when they go to bury me with my shoes and handbags, they can start to understand what went wrong. I'll never be the cat lady, I'll be the shoe lady. And I saved 15%. I'm totally cool with that.

Money spent: $193.46 (don't judge)

Money saved with Prime Card: $31.35