May 2, 2011

Thoughts on Extreme Couponing

The monthly Nabisco Cookies Facebook printable hit its print limit so quickly this month that I couldn't help but wonder if the new TLC show, Extreme Couponing, has resulted in more people using coupons.

That in itself would be a great thing - while it might eventually cause prices to rise because stores can't afford to lose too much money on loss leaders, I think everyone should have a price book and pay rock bottom prices whenever possible. It would do wonders for our collective financial consciousness if everyone paid more attention to how much money they spend. Maybe it would even get people thinking about living within their means!

I've only watched one segment of Extreme Couponing, and I have to admit that it made me uncomfortable to see carts full of the same item. If the store is okay with a customer buying 100 of the same item for free after coupon, I guess it's fine. I personally would be uncomfortable and reluctant to do that, especially in one transaction.

I've read some things that indicate some of the couponers portrayed are actually committing coupon fraud by using coupons for items other than those stated on the coupon. That is obviously detrimental to all coupon users, especially those of us who follow the rules stringently. I hope that rather than glorify coupon fraud, the show will actually condemn it and maybe even help to stop it.

I'm also hoping that the show will result in less animosity toward coupon users. There are so many stories in the coupon forums about cashiers and other shoppers getting annoyed or even rude when the coupons come out. I've experienced this a couple of times myself, always at Target, and I now shop there a lot less than I used to. Maybe Extreme Couponing can make cashiers and other customers supportive or at least curious when someone uses a bunch of coupons. I've gotten "wow"s on occasion and that's always fun.

One thing about couponing that I'm not sure is accurately portrayed on the show is how much time and effort "extreme" couponing takes. I don't consider myself "extreme" and yet I'm maxed out on time and effort. It takes time to plan my shopping trips and transactions, clip my coupons, go to the different stores, make adjustments depending on the store's stock, and pay for my purchases. It's a part-time job in and of itself - which is fine for me, because I consider it fun. But I certainly couldn't do more.

What do you think about Extreme Couponing?


Lauren said...

I've noticed lately that stock at some stores has been surprisingly cleared out and I also can't help but wonder if it's a byproduct of Extreme Couponing. I don't like how all the segments I've seen of the show (which is really only two or three) seem to encourage shelf-clearing. I only hope that will diminish at some point.

Anonymous said...

I watched a couple of episodes. It seems to me that the couponing is a bit staged, in that the couponers are saving up coupons (including general merchandise credit catalinas) and clearing shelves just to get the big wow on their episode. Otherwise, please tell me why someone would buy 100 bottles of mustard when her family doesn't even eat mustard!? (And, no, I'm sorry, there cannot be that many food pantries in need of mustard. Good grief, just walk away from the mustard!)

20 and Engaged said...

I think it takes all the fun out of using coupons. They turned it into a full time job. I like the fun of knowing I saved money without reserving an entire room for my stock pile.

Valerie said...

It makes me sad to see someone with 1200 deodorants socked away in their garages when there are so many living without basics.

This side of Typical said...

with a husband working in television, i can watch the show knowing that most of the people on the show dont' really shop like that. But, people watching the show don't know that. I don't like the attitude of "us vs them" that it seems to be creating either. There is being frugal and there is ridiculous.

That being said--having my husband watch the show has gotten him "on board" with helping me with the couponing. he loves him a good bargain--and once he learned there are deals out there--and lots of blogs that will discuss them, he's been clipping every sunday!

Christine said...

I'm new to your blog and appreciate your posts. You mentioned a price list, something I have in my head for where I currently live. However, we're moving to a new state soon (SoCal, hence reading your blog for deals) and I have no idea what the going rate is for food there.

Are there any "generic" price lists out there for regional areas that tell you what a gallon of milk runs, bananas, cereal, rice, etc? I'm trying to plan ahead for the move and I know that I'll have to do a bunch of stocking up right after we arrive so I want to be frugal, but it's hard not knowing what things go for.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, paying any amount of money for something you truly don't need or won't use is silly and illogical. If you spend only $20 for $1,000 worth of goods, you've still wasted $20.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Lauren - You're not the only one, I've noticed that shelves seem barer in stores that are usually well stocked.

@Anon - LOL! I'll never think of mustard the same way.

@20 and Engaged - YES! I don't think I would do it if it wasn't fun.

@Valerie - I read somewhere that the show would feature a couponer who donates a lot, which will be nice because yes, there's no point in hoarding stuff just for the sake of hoarding.

@This Side of Typical - I don't know, based on the stockpiles these people seem to have, I suspect they really do shop like that. It might be exaggerated, but I don't think they can be anywhere near "normal" couponers. But I'm glad you have help now!

@Christine - Hm, I don't know of anywhere that has a "generic" price list. And even here in SoCal shelf prices differ by region. But if you see the drugstore and Ralphs deals here at CFO, you'll see what are generally the lowest sale prices. Since they're advertised prices, they should be the same throughout the area.

Anonymous said...

Extreme Couponing does more harm to Normal Coupon Users. The show is more excessive coupon users and hoarders. The show may effect double coupons for policy change showing it may affect the store bottom-line. The how

There are supermarkets like Vons at some locations are hostile to coupon users already. The show may aggravated some cashiers, managers and even other customers.

Plus, I doubt many of us are allow to do some of thing the show coupon users get away with like 100 coupons for mustard.

Tia said...

The show is not highlighting anything real and I see it causing more negative reactions at the store because people think it is ok to shelf clear or use coupons incorrectly.

When I was waiting to have a receipt adjusted at Vons Sunday (they missed the 50% off markdown tags on my cheese)I was listening to 2 cashiers discussing "all the people trying to buy a lot for nothing" and "trying to scam the store" because of the show. I think more likely what is happening is people are trying to buy a ton and that Vons has always said they have a limit of 2 "like" coupons and they don't budge on it. They also won't take coupons that don't scan and I often get cashiers that say "the picture doesn't match" at that particular store so they are were not very coupon friendly to begin with. I felt like the show has added fuel to the fire there though and I ill definitely be avoiding that Vons.

Unknown said...

Vons is notorious for being very coupon unfriendly. I have heard horror stories shared on the net.

As for employees talking negatively even it not about you, then complain to customer service or corporate management. When employees act hostile even feeling hostile, then complain to customer service or corporate management.

No one should feel bad or unwelcome to shop at an retailer. It no different if employees talk something offensive. If enough complaint at the store or company, corporate will do something.

Recent Walmart and Target changes could be example of changes from hostile employees.

This show is not helping but no one should feel unwelcome. Not shopping there will not solve the problem. Why? another version will be a victim.

Anonymous said...

I think the show is having a somewhat negative effect. People see the show, want to emulate it so they can get a whole lot of something for nothing. Why? Because people on tv are doing it. I have a couple friends who are now all into couponing because of the show, but are dabbling in "shady couponing" practices so they can get stuff for free, and justify it because of the economy and tv. (multiple coupons for one item, not turning coupons in at self-checkout) I personally don't like watching the show - I did like that one chick, Jessica, who does a 30day meal plan, but seriously who needs a garage full of stuff like that? What are the odds you'll use it before it expires?

Chief Family Officer said...

Interesting that the overall impression seems to be that the show is doing more harm than good. I hope the show doesn't have a long run if that's the case!

Unknown said...

Google News Search for Extreme Couponing

Media is having both a positive and negative effect about couponing.

I read from several thread around the website, there seem to be increase hostility from supermarket employees.