Saturday, July 9, 2011

TLC Show's Extreme Couponing and the trend for out-of-control couponers

SusieQTpies view: I've always used coupons even before all this extreme couponing crazy over the past few years. Over the years, store clerks for the most part do not like coupons due to the extra work they have to do. I didn't care, I just adhered to store policy and used them.

Lately, though, this extreme couponing crazy is giving mild couponers like myself a bad rap. Stores now are putting steep limits on coupon products and even taking off the items from store shelves so people with coupons don't come in and take all the product. I think stores are wrong to do this because they aren't loosing out any money and are making customers mad.

I'm not for the hoarding that is going on and think that shoppers are taking it a bit too far to go into a store and purchase or get free all 10 same products off the shelf of something that they only use 1 of in a year. I buy what I need and feel that if I take that many then I'm taking away from someone else who might need or want it.

What is your opinion on all of this? Do you use coupons? What and how do you use them? Do you have favorite stores?? Enjoy the below guest article.

A recent article on The Consumerist found the TLC show, Extreme Couponing, has sparked a trend of out-of-control couponers who ransack stores with little regard for fellow shoppers. Merchants have taken notice and many major retailers are starting to change their policies. Here are some of the big ones.

Rite Aid
Rite Aid has taken the same steps as Target to crack down on shoppers looking to exploit BOGO coupon offers. The drug store chain has also made other changes including limiting the number of coupons per item to four. If inventory is running low, managers may limit the numbers further.

Target
The biggest change at Target comes to their buy one, get one (BOGO) policy. They now only allow one BOGO coupon per purchase. Previously, customers could "stack" Target printable coupons, combining store and manufacturer BOGO coupons to get both items for free.

Walgreens
Many high tech shoppers have even started to crack coupon barcodes, allowing them to use coupons on products they're not intended for. Walgreens is working to combat this fraud by adopting a new type of barcode. New barcodes will be able to hold more data and can better make sure Walgreens coupons are used for the right product.

Publix
At Publix stores throughout the country they're also limiting the number of coupons that can be used on one product. Their new policy limits couponers to one manufacturers coupon and one store coupon per item.

Shopping with coupons is certainly a smart way to save, but there are right and wrong ways to do it.

Here are some basic do's and dont's to help you coupon with class. 

DO play by the rules. Couponing isn't too complicated and common sense should get you by in most cases. Rules vary store to store, so if you're planning to use a large amount of coupons, it helps to brush up on coupon policies before you shop. This includes making sure you're buying the item the coupon is intended for and checking to see if they'll accept expired coupons or not.

DON'T clear the shelf. In the eyes of casual shoppers, clearing entire shelves of popular sale items crosses the line between couponing and hoarding. If you really want to stock up on certain products, try making multiple trips or call ahead and ask a manager if they'll set aside an order for you.

DO be organized before you check out. It's a nightmare for cashiers and people waiting in line when you hand over a haphazard pile of miscellaneous coupons. It'll be much appreciated if you clip them before hand and make sure they're all facing the same direction. Also, remember to remove coupons for products you didn't end up buying. If you are using mobile coupons, have them ready on your smartphone for the cashier to scan.

DON'T shop during the busiest times. The stress level of those waiting in line during peak times is high enough. Using dozens of coupons takes time and will only irritate other shoppers. Instead, go shopping when business is slow. It takes the pressure off to complete the transaction as quickly as possible for both you and the cashier.

DO be polite to the cashier and fellow customers. Sure, you might have some knowledge other customers and even clerks don't, but it's no excuse to treat others like they're beneath you. If a cashier isn't familiar with coupon policies, stay calm and ask to speak with a supervisor. They're much more helpful if you don't lose your cool. When your cart is overflowing, give those behind you a heads up that you'll be using coupons. If someone is waiting with just a loaf of bread and gallon of milk, let them cut ahead.

DON'T steal coupons! A growing trend turning the tide against couponers is theft. Newspapers and newspaper subscribers are increasingly finding coupon inserts stolen. This is a big no-no and can get you into some serious trouble. Many people will willingly part with their unused inserts if you ask nicely.

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Thanks to Consumer Savings Expert, Andrea Woroch for providing this guest article. Andrea has been featured as a media expert source on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, FOX & Friends, ABC News NOW, MSNBC, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Smart Money and many more. To view recent interviews or for more savings tips visit AndreaWoroch.com.

11 comments:

Denise H said...

I stood behind an extreme couponer at Target the other day. (I would have chosen another lane if I'd been given a heads-up that she had 50 coupons.) She was very courteous, but yes, had a number of coupons that were either expired or were for the wrong item or items she had not purchased. I admired the fact that she cut her bill by more than 50%, but after looking at her items, I was reminded why I don't use more coupons. Most of her stuff was junk-food or brand-name items which I never purchase anyway. If someone would start offering coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh meats (without connecting it to something I'm not going to buy), I would be much happier!

SusieQTpies said...

Thanks Denise for leaving a comment. I agree that I don't use a lot of coupons because they are for products that I don't normally purchase. I'm all for the fresh product coupons!!

barb pfister said...

I agree with a lot of what you said. I think a lot of this is just another form of hoarding, I saw one of those shows where someone had 40 years worth of toilet paper and was still purchasing more. I know that some of the people donate stuff to food banks and charities, which is a very good idea. I also noticed that some people spend up to 40 hours clipping coupons, that is a full time job and most of us do not have enough hours in the week already. I say that if you play by the rules and only get what you need and will use good for you. I also say that those people who are just in it to see what they can get for free need some serious intervention.

Our Banana Moments said...

I stumbled across you page on a google search and I am very glad that I did. I am now following you via GFC, facebook, networked blogs, and twitter.

http://www.ourbananamoments.com
http://www.facebook.com/ourbananamoments

Marsha

SusieQTpies said...

I agree, Barb!

jan C said...

I often clip coupons, but find more often than not, I forget them at home. I rarely buy anything that isn't on sale though. I too would love coupons for fresh produce. Nice blog Susie Q!

ElfRenee said...

I just don't get how this works for them. Every coupon I've ever seen has said limit 1 per person.

manda said...

i have LOTS of coupons and I generally donate probably 75% of them to readers on my blog. I don't know, that show reminds me of Hoarders just a little more organized on the shelves than on the floors. It's not healthy and it is really starting to ruin it for regular couponer's at our supermarkets. /sighs

Anyway, I found you through the Alexa Blog Hop and I really like your page! :)

http://www.inrandom.com

Jaipur Property said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vanessa said...

I never remember to take them with me lol... they are always for things I hardly buy, but when I need them I forget the dang Coupon lol... I wish they made them for every day items like eggs milk cheese bread and so on. I do see more coupons for coffee TP and stuff liek that but I can never remember to take them with me ... Does anyone know does Wallmart do double Coupons? I know KROGERS does up to a certain dollar I think lol see I do not Coupon... but boy do I need to start doing it just not like those crazy people in TV I about died when I saw how much crap they have lol.

Liz said...

I totally agree! There are definitely rules and etiquette that couponers should follow. It's so sad when people like that ruin it for the rest of us! I use coupons but not in a crazy, hoarding, rule breaking way.

I have to apologize, I'm not sure how it happened but some how I missed following you back from Feed Me Friday last week. However, I am now following you back! Sorry about that and hope you join us again this week!

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