Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Extreme Couponing? Or Extremely Annoying?

Alright, I am going to get up on my high horse a bit here and vent. With the seemingly never ending recession, it is understandable that more and more families are being cost conscious. I myself have taken to couponing, BOGO shopping and bulk shopping. While there are some fabulous sites that help you get the most for your money, TLC has created an Extremely Annoying monster with its new series "Extreme Couponing." Or rather it has created thousands of extremely annoying, coupon carrying, shelf clearing, grocery hoarding and price increasing monsters.

It didn't bother me initially. In fact, I have a number of friends who are self-proclaimed coupon maniacs. But with all of the new couponers hitting the aisles spurred on by the idea that they too can get something for nothing, even those couponing friends are getting annoyed. While the prospect of getting thousands of dollars worth of groceries for nearly nothing sounds tempting; the fact is, someone is paying for it. And it is usually me, and in more ways than one.

Just Monday I went to pick up milk at the grocery store. I was surprised to see that BOTH of my local grocers were not only each left with 1 and 2 gallons of skim milk, but the shelf that held the cereal that was on sale for $1.99 (General Mills Brand) was nearly gone as well. It was only when I noticed the coupon machine next to the milk that I understood what happened. We had been hit by couponers. Like I said, I am all for a good deal, but after seeing "Extreme Couponing" I am fully aware that there are a number of my neighbors who likely are sitting with 20-30 new boxes of cereal in their cupboards and just as many gallons of milk in their refrigerators. Seriously, these deals go on all of the time. Why is it necessary to clear the shelves??? Now if I am lucky, I MIGHT be able to get one or two of the boxes for the same deal. Thanks. Speaks so closely to the gluttonous and selfish society we have become…

Anyhow, to cost #2… Because of the clearing of the shelves and the consequent (and I am guessing here) loss of revenue to the stores, I have noticed not only a dramatic increase in prices, but too a dramatic decrease in the fantastic sales. Additionally, our local grocery store no longer is lenient on their coupon policy. They used to accept expired coupons, (up to a month) competitors coupons, and multiple coupons. Guess what? Yep, because of (and this came from a cashier) "individuals who were taking advantage of the coupon policy, such as trying to use warehouse coupons, pet store coupons etc, we have had to discontinue our program." Now they ONLY accept coupons from the store up the street (who incidentally uses a discount card program instead of coupons.) Excellent.

This brings me to cost #3. The cost of my time. Now before this lovely new show, I hardly ever saw crazy couponers. That is because the original couponers were considerate enough to go "off hours." Over the past few weeks I have found myself, at 5:00 in the afternoon, stuck behind these new couponers. Arguing obscure coupons (including those mentioned above) and arguing with the cashiers on each and every item. Cashiers and customers alike were SUPER annoyed.

Unless these people are extremely phillathropic and donate all of their spoils (though none that I have seen on the show are,) or are feeding a family of 50 on a weekly basis, I have to wonder how they are able to use everything before it expires. Even then, they must be using a significant amount of their storage space to keep everything. It makes me beg the question, is TLC trying to drive us crazy, or simply securing their future seasons of "Hoarders?"


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