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BREAKING: Couponing Makes Front Page of Yahoo! News!

Posted by Ro · June 27, 2011 8:42 pm

BREAKING NEWS

Oh boy… TLC’s controversial show Extreme Couponing and it’s impact on couponers has hit the front page of Yahoo! news. Of course, we know stores are changing their coupon policies and limiting couponers, though they’ve always done so, but all eyes are on TLC’s show for the latest changes and impact on retails, newspapers and more.

Extreme Coupons: TV Show Draws Extreme Backlash
Monday, June 27, 2011

Last month I described five reasons to steer clear of extreme couponing, and now I think I have a sixth: It brings out the worst in both consumers and retailers.

Industry watchers say TLC’s popular reality show, Extreme Couponing — which depicts coupon-obsessed men and women spending 30 to 40 hours a week cutting coupons to net pounds and pounds of groceries for pennies on the dollar (exhausted yet?) — may be causing more harm than good in the real world.

On the retail front, some big retailers — wary of couponing copycats — are pushing back on former coupon allowances for ordinary shoppers:

• At Rite Aid, shoppers can no longer combine buy-one-get-one-free coupons or promotions — a strategy that, in the past, allowed customers to get two free items. The chain is also limiting the number of coupons a shopper can use per item to four, as long as there is enough stock. Before, the store accepted “multiple identical coupons for multiple qualifying items.”

• Target now forbids “stacking,” the act of combining manufacturer and store buy-one-get-one-free coupons, in order to receive both items for free.

Phil Lempert, food industry expert and editor, told her that “shoppers no longer feel good about saving $10, or 10-to-20 percent. They’re becoming depressed that they are not able to buy $1,000 or more groceries for 25 cents.”

And, believe it or not, some of the coupon-obsessed across the country have reportedly turned to newspaper theft to take advantage of as many coupon circulars as possible. Some subscribers complain that their papers are missing coupon inserts, while some regional newspaper companies report papers have been stolen from coin-operated racks. Now, that’s extreme.

Coupon Dos & Don’ts

Still, as wary as I am of coupon mania, I’m willing to concede that there are some smart ways to use coupons — as long as you’re buying something you actually want or need. Many stores still have lenient policies. Here’s some advice for tactfully getting the most out of coupons and some coupon etiquette Do’s and Dont’s.

Do Know Your Limits. Save time, energy and embarrassment at the register by playing with the rules established by retailers and manufacturers. Visit their Web sites to learn if there have been any updates or changes to their coupon policies.

Do Ask Friends and Neighbors to Leave Aside Papers. Some people actually subscribe to newspapers for the articles, not the coupons. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask these friends and family members — politely — to set aside the coupons for you to pick up at a later time.

Don’t Barter for New Papers. According to a report in North County Times, local publishers say customers are asking to return papers for new ones with fresh coupon circulars. I’m all for trading up, but, really?

Do Start a Small Coupon Swap. Rather than stealing your neighbor’s Sunday paper to benefit from the extra coupon circular, create a support system through a small, local coupon exchange. Members can meet once a week in person for 30 minutes to exchange coupons for things they actually would buy anyway. (One person’s buy-one-get-one-free instant oatmeal is another person’s 50-cents-off cold cereal.)

Don’t Copy Coupons. Many stores mention in their coupon policies that “coupons are void if copied, scanned, transferred, purchased, sold …” etc. Again, stick with the official policy. You’ll still manage to save a good chunk of change — and by skipping a long debate at the checkout, you’ll also avoid unnecessary delays both for you and the shoppers waiting behind you.

Do Ask Manufacturers to Send Coupons Directly. If you can’t find manufacturers’ coupons readily on their Web sites, email or call them to request coupons be sent directly to your inbox. That’s what many successful couponers claim to do. It sometimes earns them freebies, as well.”

For more couponing tips and tricks, visit our Become A Coupon Pro page!

Yikes! What are your thoughts?!

(Source: Yahoo! – thanks @Meridith, Jamie, Stefanie for the heads up)

1 Laura Haeder June 27, 2011 at 8:53 PM

i was literally just going to send this article to you…sad…somebody always ruins things for everyone else bv over-doing it :(

2 jh June 27, 2011 at 9:13 PM

This is so true……. we started couponing a couple months b4 the show and we have realized how much better life was before the show. I live a heavily couponed area, every store has ppl walking around with huge binders and clearing the shelfs. I think people have taken the gift of couponing a little to far. Some of the folks on the show have a legit reason to coupon but some ppl are just OCD and hoaders. My two cents :)

3 Amy June 27, 2011 at 9:13 PM

its sad that people will take it to the negative extreme. Coupons are a great thing, as they are, in their illegitimate way of using them. I dont understand why people still try to screw with it. I can say from experience that coupons have helped my family tremendously in this economy – and I dont know what I would do without coupons, right now! But no matter what I will never stoop to trying to screw the system. If policies change, I will change with them. I have, however, encountered problems with my black and white printed online coupons. I got flagged at Walmart for it,(they were checking to see if the coupons were copied…they were not and it was seen, but they stopped to check – for the first time ever!) so I may be only using my color printer for now. :( …such an ink sucker!

4 Anne June 27, 2011 at 9:17 PM

I was already in a p*ssy mood. This pushes me over to an even p*ssier mood. :(

5 Tabitha @ Saving Toward A Better Life June 27, 2011 at 9:44 PM

AHHH!! DON’T email manufacturers and ASK for coupons. Oh geez. Give them your honest opinion of their products and they will most likely send you coupons for giving them feedback. Blatantly asking for coupons will get you shot down. Who wrote this article?

That was the only issue I had…oh, that and the ambiguity of the Target statement. They haven’t “forbidden” stacking coupons. Yes, you can no longer stack BOGO coupons but stacking a cents off store coupon with a cents off manufacturer coupon is still allowed. They made it sound like “stacking” only applied to BOGO coupons.

6 Anne June 27, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Agreed!

7 samantha June 27, 2011 at 9:58 PM

I started couponing before the show and it was soooo much easier….it upsets me that this show (which has been renewed) is causing all this. The show will eventually be cancelled because stores are going to keep changing coupon policies to the point where there will no longer be extreme couponing.

8 jh June 28, 2011 at 8:31 AM

I so agree with you !!!!!!!!!!!!

9 td June 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM

I am just sickened by this whole thing. I have been couponing now for a couple of years and I have always tried to fly under the radar. I don’t use coupons illegally but also don’t want to draw too much attention to my couponing. As soon as I heard this show was coming out, I know it was the end of couponing as we know it. Look at the people on the show. There isn’t one store out there (I believe) that is going to let you use 100 of the same coupons in one shopping trip! Not to mention, attention has now been brought to overages!

I know TLC sets up their extreme couponers for large buying sprees for the “wow” factor but the entire show is unrealistic. In my opinion, this show is going to breed (and seems like it already has) greedy, ruthless and willing-to-do-anything couponers. Their false perception of couponing and legally using coupons is going to do us all in. Since the show began, there have been nothing but empty shelves in my state. Never has it been like this. Going forward, I only see more restrictions and stricter coupon policies coming our way. It’s truly sad.

10 tanyetta June 28, 2011 at 12:55 PM

I always call companies and ask directly for coupons. I don’t see this as being rude or inappropriate.

11 Bernadette June 28, 2011 at 5:01 PM

I contacted a few companies and requested coupons and unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. The few I wrote to told me they appreciate my positive feedback but, cannot provide coupons to all the people requesting them but, to keep an eye out for sales. I guess I’ll stick to my one Sunday newspaper inserts as I have all these years couponing.

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