I use coupons. I have done so for off and on several years. I enjoy it. It makes me feel like I am helping out our family by saving big money and getting foods/products we use. It helps our budget. There are many more reasons why I coupon but things have changed recently.
There is a TV show out there called “Extreme Couponing” and it is ruining what we have done for years now. Why? Well, to begin with, let me explain. This show is entertainment. It is scripted and planned well in advance so that they can show the most extreme couponing they can. The stores are notified, the stores order plenty of whatever the person on the “show” will be buying, and it is, a show. It is nothing like those of us who go out there to purchase items for our families and others and do so in moderation.
If I were to do what they do on that show, I would have to prepare well in advance, gather tons of coupons, and notify the stores what I will be purchasing weeks in advance so they can stock up on it. Is this real world couponing? No! It is just what I said it is, a TV show. Why am I complaining then? Let me explain…
This show has taught others the value of couponing, for which I am thankful and is a good thing. However, it has not taught the etiquette of couponing, nor has it shown the real world experiences of real people. As a result, many stores are having people come in and buy out all of certain products and then have to issue “rain checks” for those who only need one or two. Stores are also limiting the number of items you can buy in one transaction. Again, this is a direct result of this “show”. You see, it is not good for a store to advertise a sale, then not have the item in stock. It makes people not want to shop there. It is like a bait and switch scheme, however, the store has no control over it because one person came in and bought out the entire shelf of the product! They are now putting these limits to stop this but it has impacted those of us who did not do this in the first place.
Add to the mix, the manufacturers who decide how much value on a coupon they will give. For example, if a toilet paper manufacturer offers a 50 cent off coupon and the store carries a 4 roll pack and allows for double coupons, you can potentially get the item for free. Free is good, but because of all the people grabbing ALL of the product, the manufacturers are now putting limits on the coupons, such as “only good on 12 roll packs”. This way, the sale earns money for them and the store without allowing it to be “free”. Some stores are also not ordering the packages of toilet paper that would be “free” with a coupon. Why? Again, it is because of people who buy out the whole supply in one trip.
The backlash has more than stifled those of us who have done this for years. It is making it difficult to purchase items for our families. In short, it has done more harm than good.
Let me share with you some coupon etiquette:
1. Never take all of the items on the shelf (unless it is the last one or two)
2. Try to be considerate of others by leaving items and only taking the ones you use.
3. If you have excess items, please donate them to a worthy cause (I donate to the local food pantry, abuse shelter and free clinics.
4. Share your bounty with others in your family.
5. Do not abuse the rules of the store by having others purchase for you so you can get all of the items on the shelf.
6. When you can get free items with your coupons, only get a few, leave some for the rest of the couponers.
Those are the rules of etiquette for couponing. If you have another one, feel free to share it here. Educating others about these things can make the difference in whether or not we can all share the bounty we can purchase with our coupons.
Share your couponing tips here too! I love to get tips on how to do something better! Thanks for letting me spout!