same_sky: (mood swing)
My niece texted me a couple of weeks ago to heckle me about the Extreme Couponing show on TLC. "Amateurs!" I replied. I had heard people mention it though, so I set my DVR this weekend to catch it. Evie and I are having a pretty lazy day at home today, so I watched it while folding laundry.

I hate those people. Or, I should say... I hate that those people let themselves be aired on television in a manner like this. You know what happens when you sensationalize your coupon usage like this?

2. "Normal" people think they can coupon just like the people on the show and set out to make every last rookie mistake in the books, and what do you know? STORES GET PISSED.
3. and finally, you get all these dorks running around in your stores, clearing shelves and acting like idiots, and then YOUR stores get pissed. At couponers. AT YOU.

If you know me, you will know that I try to share the joy of couponing even if you don't necessarily want that joy. I like to see other people taking advantage of good deals. At this stage in my life, I only have so much time to be running out to the stores without my child (who used to be my shopping buddy but now hates it, so I had to scale my operation down). I don't get to do quite as much shopping as I'd like, especially since I live in a relatively rural area. I go to the same stores over and over because those are the only stores available to me unless I leave town (which yes, I do that too sometimes.) It's unavoidable that you will have incidents with certain coupons or certain cashiers, but the trick is to be calm and reasonable, or the next time you walk into the store, they are going to be all over you like white on rice. I am telling you this from personal and painful experience.

Newbies created from shows like this? They do not understand this. They walk in and have a deal fall through (it happens to everyone, but especially at the beginning) and they do crazy stuff, like throw twenty boxes of facial tissue on the floor, kick them around and yell obscenities at store personenel. You think I am making this up, but this actually happened at a Rite Aid store yesterday, according to someone on a forum I belong to. It takes time for people to learn the guidelines of extreme couponing. Jumping in and trying to get those insane deals in bulk is a recipe for disaster, and it trickles down to EVERYONE who coupons.

ALSO, what drives me REALLY nuts is that this is completely unnecessary. You can buy the exact same crap without drawing so much attention to yourself. I mean, I am not talking about unreasonably small transactions. It's not that uncommon for my pre-coupon totals to be $250. If I had more than two carts full of stuff, I would take my stuff to the car and then come back inside, or better yet, go to the next store. The people on that show--well, the first and the last one, anyway--were basically just showing off. You can do that kind of shopping, but you can't do it like, every day. 1,100 boxes of cereal? First of all--you are crazy, dude. Secondly, most stores have closer to 11 boxes of cereal in stock than 1,100... yes, some store managers will order things for you like they did for him, but it's not exactly common practice. It was done for effect and that's all.

So, thank you, attention whores. You have successfully made the stores get pissed and start trying to figure out how to prevent people from doing this kind of thing. You have made manufacturers think a little harder about what coupons they release. You have made store managers get wary of people coming in to use couponers. And most of all... you have created drama and competition for me personally to complete my stash of free toothpaste. :p

(I enjoyed the stockpile pictures, though. My stockpile room is not nearly as prettily arranged anymore, since it largely goes in tubs in the basement for yard sale season now.)

If YOU were inspired by that show and are thinking of getting into couponing, please coupon responsibly. And also, please stay out of MY stores. ;)


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