24/7 MOMS

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Extreme Couponing: The “Real” Effect

Amy Hannold,
247Moms Frugal Living Editor   
In my smaller home town and in big cities across the country, the eye-popping, popular program “Extreme Couponing” is having an effect on couponing now – and in the future.

TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” focuses on sensational purchases, including multiple items of little nutritional value.  Its goal is to entertain, not enlighten.  “Extreme Couponing” is not “Real” couponing.  Most “Real” couponers are trying to keep their home cupboards full; they’re generous, considerate neighbors helping neighbors.  Maybe “saving money” and “Frugality” is more hip now, but we down-to-earth folks have a new stereotype to contend with.

“Real” couponers predicted stores would be changing their coupon policies. Grocers and drugstores retain only a small profit margin from what they sell.  It’s understandable (but unfortunate) that they might answer this storm of couponing bliss by changing their coupon policies.

What is the best, vital move now for the “Real Couponers” community?  Those of us, no matter where we are on the “couponing scale”, need to be advocating that couponers be “real” (as in reasonable) to preserve couponing as a money-saving option. “Extreme Couponing”, the program, will hopefully become redundant enough that it goes away.  In the mean time here are my “Values of a Real Couponer”.   My hope is that you’ll share them, so that couponing, while riding the “extreme” tide, comes out clean and still a viable money-saving option on the other side:

Hometown Help:
  I know that “how-to” is not as sensational enough for cable, so if you have the skills, and use them prudently – please share them with someone who could benefit.  Offer to host a class, couponing club (with tools and coupons shared/provided), or simply practice “RAOCK’s” (Random Acts of Coupon Kindnesses) – share coupons with your fellow shoppers.  You’d be blessed with valuable friends when you demonstrate saving money to others.
Just Say No to Clearing Shelves:  What amount of product to you need, really?  If you want lots, place a special order, if possible.  Consider that shoppers like yourselves are also making the effort to get to the good deal , so be nice.      
Don’t Try to Fool the System:  Retailers are now implementing “smarter” systems to avoid losing big bucks due to coupon fraud.  Manufactures rightfully refuse to reimburse retailers when shoppers have not purchased the coupon-specified product.  Coupon abuse by shoppers leads to higher prices down the road – for the crooks too!  Coupon fraud is against the law, and it’s not worth your smarts!
Don’t Do This:  We’re adults here, right?  Let’s not forget that the people around us are watching for how we operate – it does affect how couponers are encountered in the future.  Please, no pushing or shoving.  Stealing is out too, including from the tear-pads or items from your neighbor’s cart – don’t do it.  Yelling, criticizing, or other uncalled for verbal abuse of store employees also looks bad for all of us.

Keep Couponing “Real” and valuable:  Make friends at the Customer Service desks, they’re really our best allies.   Do your best to be informed of policies as they change.  If you doubt a coupon to be legit, you can go to www.cents-off.com for a list of current fraudulent coupons.

Labels: ,


Blogger Storm Safety Blog said...

As soon as I heard about the Extreme Couponing TV show, I figured it was going to spell doom for a lot of people who really do rely on coupons to make ends meet. It's the handful of people who abuse the system (always) who spoil it for the rest of us.

The only time I've had serious problems redeeming coupons and really fought to redeem them was a few years ago, I won a bunch of Coke coupons in an Olympics giveaway. Each coupon was for (5) free 2-liter drinks. When the cashiers scanned it, they had to calculate the price of (5) drinks and enter it manually. Of course. I'm sure most registers are not set up to handle that type of coupon. I was also accused of printing multiple copies at home, even though they were primarily silver, glossy paper and obviously offset printed. I won quite a few of these coupons, and the reason I thought about it was your "don't empty the shelves" plea. I would use (or try to use) 4 or 5 coupons at a time for 20-25 drinks of a variety of Coke brands. Yes, that's a lot, but I had good reason because I was planning my parents' 50th anniversary party. I still wasn't leaving anyone's shelves bare, and I tried to spread out the coupons among a number of different stores.

It does become frustrating when you are trying to do something honestly and you're basically accused of being a liar and a thief.

May 13, 2011 at 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Keenly Kristin said...

Great post...and an important issue for those of us who are honest and reasonable -- and trying to do what we can to budget and provide for our families. It's a disgrace, really. And, very disappointing.

Kristin :)

May 14, 2011 at 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Jackie said...

Wonderful posts. More people need to try and keep couponing real. My area has seen a few reprecussions from the extreme couponing show. Many of our stores will no longer accept internet printed coupons. And all of them have quit doubling the coupons.

May 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home