Extreme Couponing: The “Real” Effect
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.