I get tons of facebook messages and emails from well meaning friends and family members each time an episode of Extreme Couponing airs on TV. (Please notice I am NOT linking to this show or site, and it's for a reason)! So many stores and companies are changing their policies based on what they have seen on this show.
Yes, many people have been inspired by the results shown, and have begun to use coupons and save money, which has helped family budgets. That is phenomenal, and I am so glad that it has happened. BUT, the downside is that many store clerks, fellow patrons, and companies have developed a negative attitude towards couponers. Now if you know me, you know that I could really care less what other people think about me, but, it does affect me when I receive less coupons in the newspaper and online, and when store clerks don't want to accept coupons from ANYONE because they think you are doing something wrong.
TLC is supposed to be “The Learning Channel” which implies to me that the programming should be educational in nature, and should engage in promoting ETHICAL and LEGITIMATE shopping strategies. I realize that people are drawn to extreme examples of things, but that is more harmful than helpful. Staging scenes, getting stores to bend or break all normal couponing rules 'just for the show' does not show people the reality of what THEY can do when they are shopping and using coupons under normal circumstances when they don't have their own TLC crew with them.
Take this clip for example:
Lowes Foods had this to say about the clip:
“The guy who walked up to the shelf was one of the crew members,” Selip said. “It was all staged.”I wish stores would STOP agreeing to participate in this show. It is NOT good for your business. I wish bloggers and fellow couponers would STOP agreeing to be featured on this show. It was in the news last year that some of the people on the show were being investigated for coupon fraud because it is ILLEGAL to buy and sell coupons. It says so right on the face of every coupon I have ever used. That's why I do not promote coupon clipping services, and I do not give coupons away. I have a separate tab of links that go directly to the stores websites or LEGAL sites that companies have contracted with to offer online coupons. You will also see widgets for some of these sites on my sidebars. You can rest assured that these are legitimate sites, and should google ads ever put one up for a clipping service, please let me know, because each time I see one, I go in and manually block it from showing again.
From this article here: When Coupon Clipping Goes Wild
What I really wish is that a network would create a REAL Couponing show that actually taught people the ins and outs of how to coupon in a legal, responsible, and ethical manner. Purchasing newspapers, visiting legitimate sights to print the LIMITED quantity of coupons (usually 1-2 per person) online, and then making realistic shopping trips to use them. My local store doubles ONE like coupon per day, and requires the use of a loyalty card to get sale prices, and to use coupons. This means the MOST coupons I can have doubled in a single week is 7, and that's only if I buy 7 papers to get the inserts. It also means that I have to go into the store 7 times in a week, which isn't realistic because couponing isn't the ONLY thing I have to do. Occasionally I make the effort, like when soup is on sale and I am stocking up for the winter. The coupon is usually for 4 cans at a time, and I get all 4 for about $1. So, at the end of a week I'll have 28 cans of soup. Some people think that's excessive, but we have 5 people in our house, and if one person gets sick, typically the other 4 will get it too. So if 5 people eat 2 cans of soup each day, 28 cans doesn't really go that far.
When it comes to stockpiling, you have to be realistic about what you keep. You need to figure out what is a reasonable amount for the number of people you feed on a regular basis, and aim to keep enough on hand to use before it expires. If you can't or won't use it, donate it right away. If no one in your home will eat soup, it is a waste of $7 AND your time for you to keep going to get more, and putting it in your pantry and keeping it indefinitely. Last time I mentioned this, some were shocked that I "bought" canned soup because they know I usually make homemade. That is true. Except when I am the one who is sick. Then I don't feel like making homemade soup, and I just want to open a can, microwave it, and crawl back into bed. It also comes in handy to have canned goods (and a can opener) for blizzards if the power goes out. It's hard to cook chicken with no electricity, but you can pour a can of soup into a pot and put it over a fire in the fireplace to warm it.
I wish I could say I wasn't going to watch this week, but I will be recording it and tuning in. I DO encourage YOU not to watch it. The lower the ratings, the higher the chance it'll go away. Why am I watching it then? Because I know that I will get questions about it. Last year when I DIDN'T watch, people would argue that my "opinions on the show are wrong because you haven't seen it, and if you had, you'd know how amazing it was." So I will watch, and roll my eyes, and sigh at how I cannot believe that people allowed themselves to be manipulated and shown on TV. I don't judge them for it, I just think they weren't aware of what they were getting into, and then felt obligated to participate.
I hope if you are visiting here from StumbleUpon, a blog or twitter referral, or an internet search that I have inspired you to practice RESPONSIBLE couponing habits, and that you'll take a moment to visit my COUPON AND MONEY SAVING SITES page to help save you and your family some money!