TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” has brought a lot of awareness to the art of couponing over the years. Prior to the show bringing to light the savings that people can take advantage of at the grocery store with coupons, almost no one used coupons a regular basis, and those that did weren’t usually eager to brag about it.
Now it’s nearly impossible for me to get through my weekly trip to the grocery store without encountering at least one person proudly walking through the store with a massive coupon binder in tow, and every few trips I have the “luck” of winding up behind one of these extreme couponers in the checkout line with their overflowing cart. I suppose we have TLC to “thank” for that.
I’m certainly not anti-coupon or anti-saving-money-at-the-grocery-store, but I do think extreme couponing has nearly ruined savings at the grocery store for everyone. Here’s why:
Extreme Couponers Have No Tact
It’s such a hassle to run in for a jug of milk when you have these couponers blocking the aisles with their multiple shopping carts, clearing shelves of every product with a sweep of their arm, and slowing things down to a crawl at the checkouts as they use their 1,000 coupons. All of these go back to one main idea: extreme couponers have no tact.
They don’t think about how their slow pace around the grocery store with multiple shopping carts might be hindering other shoppers from getting the items they need. They don’t think about the fact that clearing off the shelves when products are on sale will prevent others from taking advantage of low prices. They don’t think about the people stuck in line behind them who only have 5-6 items to purchase who now have to wait for 30 minutes to an hour (or longer) while you do 20 different transactions and make sure every item and every coupon rings up properly.
Store Policy Changes
After losing money on enough transactions, thanks to extreme couponers, stores and manufacturers have had to make drastic changes to couponing rules and policies to make them stricter for everyone.
While extreme couponers weren’t technically breaking any laws or policies by separating their shopping trip into 20 different transactions and using hundreds of copies of the same coupon, they were definitely taking advantage of holes in store coupon policies to get their products for free (or nearly free). Plus, it’s likely that they don’t need all of those items and they may not even be able to use them before they are expired.
The enhanced strictness of the coupon policies hasn’t just affected extreme couponers, it has affected everyone who tries to use coupons.
Using coupons is still a great way to save money, and I think the original concept behind the TLC show was to prove that using coupons can be a very worthwhile way to save money. But somewhere along the way, that message got lost as the people on the show seemed to get more extreme in their couponing habits as the show progressed.
Do you think extreme couponers have ruined grocery store savings?