Overthinking a Coupon

Classic November to begin the month: overcast skies, drizzle, cold but not cold enough for anything to freeze.

Not long ago I found myself taking a close look at a coupon for a bagel shop we patronize sometimes. Though a chain, it has better bagels than most places I can get to easily.

They’ll do, in other words, till I can visit New York again. Say what you want about that city, I agree with the idea that its bagels are really good. I found that out back in 1983. Some days I’d buy a half dozen in the morning and they’d be gone by the end of the day — and I was staying by myself.

Anyway, here’s the coupon.

Look carefully at the expiration dates.

When I saw that, I started overthinking the thing. What does it mean that the coupon expires on a day that doesn’t exist by conventional Gregorian calculation, November 31, 2017?

1. The entire coupon is invalid.

2. Only the expiration date is invalid, so it never expires.

3. It actually expires on December 1, which is the day that actually exists after November 30.

4. It expires at the end of November, regardless of what it says.

5. It means whatever the employee at the bagel shop says it means, when asked.

6. The national chain has a SOP for these cases. Call the franchising headquarters.

7. Illinois state consumer law has a provision that kicks in these cases. Refer to the appropriate regulations.

8. The circular in which I found the coupon slipped into our universe from one that has a November 31, and I’d better watch for (or watch out for) other items from that reality.

9. It’s Russian disinformation, designed to destabilize America.

10. It doesn’t mean a damn thing. It’s just a misprint.

Though it’s the prosaic choice, I’ll have to go with 10 and, as a practical matter, 4. Within the perimeters in which I live my life, that’s the sanest choice.

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