Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I am NOT an Extreme Couponer!!!

While I consider myself to be a coupon master, having couponed for over 19 years, I am not, and hope to NEVER be, an extreme couponer!  I may have a great food storage "stockpile" but it has never been at the expense of others nor has it taken the excessive amount of time some shoppers waste on an almost daily basis!

Tonight, for the 1st time, I watched Extreme Couponing on television.  Honestly, I was appalled by much of what I saw!  Let's just say I will not be watching again.  From buying over 60 bottles of mustard (and purposely taking all but one on the shelf) which her husband doesn't even eat, to spending over 5 hours in the store and calling friends to stand in line for you just so you can save $10 is beyond ridiculous.  Or how about the woman who did 18 transactions at the store which took her over 1 hour just so she could double 3 Albertsons coupons in each transaction!  They had to close the checkout line behind this woman because she took so long.  I actually yelled at the t.v. when a woman bought over 30 bottles of Maalox and she didn't even get them for free.  Either you and your husband have some serious stomach issues and need to see a doctor asap or you need to see a psychologist!  I don't even know what to say about the woman who said her stockpile was almost as beautiful as her children - how can that even come close?!  What ever happened to customer courtesy?  This isn't savings for their families, it's savings IN SPITE of other families!

You will rarely hear me be critical of others, but in this instance I cannot hold my tongue.  I believe these women (and men) have real shopping addictions and need to seek professional help.  I'm absolutely serious in that.  It's interesting that this television series runs in between Hoarding and My Strange Addiction shows don't you think?

This show gives couponers a bad name as overbearing, almost maniacal shoppers.  Not only that, but I believe this show could have serious ramifications for the rest of the couponing world.  It's absolutely possible that stores may start limiting the number of coupons shoppers can use in transactions and coupon values can also be dramatically reduced.  The way coupons are distributed may also come into question, like the woman who had all the extra coupons delivered to her home by her carrier - this  directly violates newspaper contract policy!  Or the woman who had her young children and pregnant friend dumpster diving for extra coupon inserts.  What!?!

I have taught shoppers how to coupon for almost 2 decades to ensure that everyone can save and have fun shopping.  This show makes this couponer "extreme"ly frustrated as it undermines all I've tried to do! The last time this show aired I got several emails asking me to teach them how to be extreme shoppers.  I will never teach someone how to be a greedy, obsessive, addicted shopper.   I believe it's fundamentally wrong on so many different levels and absolutely disturbing!  Will the real couponing community step up and call this show out for what it is - garbage!

I hope none of you watch this show and that they take it off the air soon! (FYI - They actually emailed me with clips of the show to help promote it to all of you - well... Hollywood can forget it!)

I'd love to know what you think.  Please comment below with your thoughts. (More comments here)

38 comments:

  1. To me it's crazy and unrealistic. Think of the family time they are missing out on. It's one thing to coupon and save who doesn't love to save, but Extreme Couponing is over the top. My husband and I watched and laughed through most of the show.

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  2. Amy,

    I totally agree! I watched the first episode that aired and I'm now *right now* starting to watch the one that aired tonight. I was hoping to see less selfish couponers but by the sound of your post I guess I'm out of luck.

    I couldn't believe that only 1 out of the 4 shoppers from the first episode mentioned anything about donating their great deals to the needy. One man donated (if I remember right) about 1,000 boxes of cereal he got for free to his church (he had the store special order it for him).

    I did learn something tonight; I didn't know that mustard doesn't spoil. Is this true? If so, now I don't need to feel guilty about the 5 bottles I have in my pantry that I didn't donate before they "expired". :)

    I saw all those bottles of dressing one of the couponers had on her shelf...that DOES go bad and they'll end up throwing it out before they can use it. What a waste. I'm sure there were people out there that would have bought it and used it.

    It might just be me, but since the first episode aired, when people look at me and my coupon binder at the store I can imagine them thinking to themselves, "there's one of those crazy coupon ladies"! LOL

    Maybe we all should write the producers of the show and tell them to produce a show on coupon etiquette! On Hoarders they have people come in and help their obsession...why not help these people, too! LOL

    Good post, Amy!

    Kim (MomOf4Girls)

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  3. Kim - because of the high concentration of vinegar mustard rarely goes bad. However, to say it never goes bad may not be completely accurate. Pickles packed in vinegar are the same way.

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  4. This truly is a sad day when the "couponing community" on a "reality" show such as this and portrayed in such a negative perception. I beleive the shows on TLC are quite educational and unbiased... however I was extremely dissapointed in the way this show has portrayed couponers. I completely agree with you that the show is just that.... garbage.
    I truly hope this type of media attention to couponing in general will not affect those of us that are not extreme and want to save money and do it in such a way that is responsible and realistic.

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  5. One of the things that really impressed me and my husband about your philosophy was the ethics that were the foundation of what you teach. We always try to be honest and I don't think we would have started couponing if it wasn't for that. We appreciate your commitment to everyone around you. Thank you. I will send an e-mail to whom ever I need to get this show off the air. Who do I write?

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  6. I agree with everything you have said. I do worry about the ramifications that will come from this show. Couponing has made it possible for me to pay bills I could never pay before. It irritates me that people would go overboard and ruin it for the rest of us. I'm going to try to find a way to email TLC.

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  7. My husband said if I ever got that extreme we would probably get divorced ha ha - When you have to put toilet paper under your kids beds, a shelf in your own bedroom, things in every closet in your house, and when you think the stuff is as beautiful as your family, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM! I'm all for having a stockpile and foodstorage because you never know what the future holds, but having that much stuff is just wasteful.

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  8. Well stated. Thank you for promoting good manners and great savings!

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  9. I love how you called it an Addiction. I said the SAME THING to my sister as we watched the show in disgust. They are spending so much time and energy couponing and getting a good deal, they could have spent quality time with their family. It's sad

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  10. I didn't actually watch the show but what I have hear disgusts me!!! I am also worried with how it will affect our couponing the right way! I have taken a class from you and have loved your tips and how it has saved my family money.

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  11. I agree completely with your comments. It makes me sick that they have turned couponing in to this.
    I wish the show would come and check out Savvy Shopper, Amy you have done such a great job helping the community.It would be so great for the economy if everyone could make their dollar strech.If anyone finds out how to contact them Please let us know.

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  12. I don't see how the one lady that started couponing when her husband lost his job, thought she was saving money buying all of that stuff. Sure she IS saving money but really, that much mustard??? Even if it is only .39 a bottle, 60 or 70 bottles is a waste of money to me! Who could use that much even in 4 or 5 years? I took your class because we had a baby last summer and I only work a few hours a week now. That made our income significantly less, and I save alot of money now-thanks to you :) I try to be careful to only get enough of anything that we will use. Even if I have several coupons for one item, and I know we won't use it in a reasonable amount of time- expiration or not,I only buy what is realistic. Buying in "extreme excess" is just wasting $ to me. Thank you for your ethics and teaching of consideration for other people! I won't be watching anymore either!

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  13. I agree with you, even though all I've been able to see are clips of the show online. I can see how it can be addicting because in the beginning you do want to get in on EVERY good deal, but you quickly realize (like you've taught us) that another deal will always come along. I've been sick this past month and it's helped me realize even more that it's okay to miss some deals. There are plenty of things a lot more important in this life. It's too bad that "The Learning Channel" is now pretty much just another reality tv station.

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  14. The whole time I was watching that I was telling my husband and son that the things these people were doing were the exact oppisite of what I learned from you! I think for me it was hard to stop watching because it was so extreme, but I think it could definitely have very negative ramifications for us who are trying to do things ethically and just save some money. What can we do to debunk the myths this show has just perpetrated?

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  15. I will write to the address listed for people to be on the show...I wanted to yell at those people get what you need for a year it till the next sell . I don't waste and I do five some to charity and give coupons to friends I would not use. I get 4 paper so I can only get 4 times the item. Printing is fun not still limited and I always tell my friends do not clear the shelf because you can. Thank you Amy and all smart couponers!!

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  16. It makes me sick to think of how many people will want to be just like those they saw on t.v. I guess time will tell. They will succeed and ruin it for the coupon world, or they will realize it's really stupid and give up. Here's hoping they give up!

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  17. Sorry guys my post earlier I used my EVO it is not very readable so here is a revamp! I will write to the address listed for people to be on the show...I wanted to yell at those people who were getting major extreme amounts. I get what I need for a year or till the next sell. I don't waste and I do give some to charity. Only a little because I use it all up. My family does come and get some or if they are tight on money I give to them!I give coupons to friends some that I might use or I would not use. I get 4 paper so I can only get 4 times the item. Printing is fun to but i am still limited but love having the option to print coupons! I always tell my friends do not clear the shelf because you can get what you can use in its experation date but DO NOT CLEAR THE SHELF. Thank you Amy and all smart couponers everywhere. But one thing I forgot to mention is most of the couponers picked are able to double coupons and we in Utah really don't have that option but we still get great deals! That to me is what counts! I hope that we are not punished because of extermest.

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  18. It would have been nice if they had shown people donating their huge stashes of stuff they rarely use to food banks and Women's Shelters, etc. rather than hoarding it for themselves...I mean, they had stuff that would last for YEARS. I can't imagine spending that much time doing what they are doing. You were right. And these extreme couponers have an obsession that isn't healthy for them or their families.

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  19. I ABSOLUTELY agree with your blog. I saw one episode of "Extreme Couponing" and it was SO upsetting. (My husband watched it with me and was appalled as well.) Most of what I saw was waste and excess and complete disregard for others. Not only is their behavior hurtful to their own families, but it is also hurtful to those of us who carry on balanced lives and try to save money on only the things that we really need. It is so discouraging for me to go to the stores hoping to find a good deal and to strike out time and time again because thoughtless couponers have cleared out the shelves.

    I can only hope that your blog post reaches those who need its message and that it serves as a reminder to everyone that good manners is the ultimate trademark of a winning shopper.

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  20. Amen! People tell me that I should be on that show. I am NOT like the people on that show. I buy what my family of three can use (and once in awhile buy items for family, friends or charity).

    I will admit that I have gone to the newspaper bin (I called the local police station first) a time or two to look for inserts when there is a particular coupon I know that I will use more than six of - I get embarrassed to ask neighbors- but I am talking a handful of times. 99% of the time six coupons one MORE than enough and you should never be taking time and attention away from your family to the degree of these women.

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  21. I hadn't heard about this show until I read your post. I'm not sure if I want to watch some of it just so I can say I don't like it! But from the comments I'm seeing, I will definitely do what I can to get them to take it off the air and stop giving something that can be practical, useful and helpful such a bad rap.

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  22. I agree with everything in your post! I am horrified by this show and the way TLC portrays us couponers!

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  23. I was filmed for this show two months ago. I had mixed feelings about it but decided to move forward in the hopes that it might show people how to be "normal" and still save tons of money. My primary goal was to present couponers in a good light, present today's marriage in a good light, and portray preparedness and self-reliance as a standard way of life. As it turned out, the footage of me proved to be "too conservative" and my segment will not be aired. Having seen last night's show, I have to say that I've rarely felt as blessed by a "No" in my life as I do today. I certainly would NOT want to be associated with this show. To me it is created specifically to present a "train wreck that people can't stop looking at." I too hope that many of us will turn away from that which is insulting and disrespectful to conscientious couponers. Instead I hope that couponers will work that much harder to present a good impression to the rest of the community and even to use our couponing skills to strengthen the community by contributing to the women and children's centers, food banks, and homeless shelters.

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  24. And BRAVO to Kellene for standing up to the producers of the show as well and for not giving in to their request to "act" a different way than she really is!

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  25. I have to admit that I did not see the show, but this is a very interesting topic. From your description and other comments I've read today, this program could have been filmed where I used to live.

    I used to live in the Charleston, SC area and there was a group of 15 women at my church that all got together every Tuesday evening to share coupons and talk about great deals for the week. I never went to one of their little get togethers because they were VERY "extreme" in their couponing. They would go to the recycle drop offs at 6am Monday to climb in (sending their children in also) and get as many coupon inserts as possible. They would also buy out the whole store of a product that their families did not even use (they would donate some of the items...but I always thought to myself why couldn't they let other people get a good deal also?). These women would take their families to the store and do their shopping then wait in line for 2 hours while all 10 transactions were rung up....or they would go to multiple stores. They "taught" coupon classes and stressed that you had to buy all the items because someone else might get the deal instead of you if you didn't. They even said that you should buy the item if you didn't need it because you got such a good deal...buying 75 barbecue sauces at .15 is great if you use them, but if you don't, then you are just wasting money you could have spent on items you actually use!

    When my family moved here to Utah, our budget got tighter and I decided to do couponing in a reasonable way. I went to the class up at my local library and got some awesome tips and signed up for the newspaper. I have gotten some really good deals and been happy. My husband says that I should get in touch with those women I used to know and tell them how couponing is done out here. All they would talk about in social situations were coupons. Even at kids soccer games and music recitals. How sad. Thank you for writing this blog post. I'm going to repost your link on Facebook so they can see it...maybe it will make them see how extreme they are being.

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  26. Amy,
    DITTO! I was horrified to see the lengths that some people will go to save a few dollars at the expense of their own family's happiness. I'm all for the idea of having them air a show on 'couponing etiquette.' Perhaps they'd put you on the show...

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  27. I watched the first two episodes and they will certainly be the last!! Those people are wacko and selfish. Comparing your family to your stockpile???? Ugh!! It's very sad. We should all write to TLC and tell them how horrible this show is. Maybe between all the emails and reduced viewers they will yank it.

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  28. FYI - I wouldn't go on this show. Many of these women on the show have their own deal blogs where they often teach shoppers how to coupon and cheat the system as much as possible! They even claim that the show asked them to do things they normally wouldn't have done. What, you don't have the courage to stand up for what you believe to be right? Who can tell the truth with these folks. Huge publicity for my blog or website is not worth my integrity.

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  29. I completely agree with you. It seems like addictive behavior, not to mention selfish. It doesn't portray couponing well. It makes it seem like you have to devote 8 hours a day to make it happen. And it did aggravate me to see people clearing off the shelves and putting everything in their carts. How selfish!!!

    It does worry me that stores will limit coupons or that manufacturers will start putting major stipulations on their coupons after this show is on the air for awhile. If everyone shopped the way these people did, nobody would make any money! It's frightening to think what could happen if coupons just stopped being put into circulation and we were all forced to pay full retail price for everything!

    I agree, piece of garbage show!

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  30. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I watched that show and thought, "how in the world were these people able to shop THAT extremely?" I totally became discouraged about my couponing skills... thank you for setting us straight that this is NOT the way to coupon!!

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  31. Check out this blog post. It very clearly shows coupon fraud: http://jillcataldo.com/node/16170?page=1

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  32. Just a positive. I didn't coupon much before the show and now I do. I don't do the extreme, but I think the point is the show might be helping others realize the potential of how much savings you get from couponing and that is a very big positive in this economy right now for families.

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  33. As I was watching the show, I kept thinking about that too. What are stores and companies going to do to stop this. I think we could all potentially be hurt by this EXTREME couponing. I love getting a deal as much as the next guy, but really 5 hours in the store and hours and hours of planning is not living to me!

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  34. AMEN!! I couldn't have said it any better myself.

    Thank you for sharing this!

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  35. Totally agree! Who needs a watermelon barrel full of Deodorant?1?! I have watched it before and seen one guy give everything to charity which I think it is cool. However, I wouldn't go to that extreme. I figured if I get pet or baby coupons (I have none, anymore, Thank goodness LOL) that if there is something that I can get for Free, I could donate to a charity for the womans shelter or the Animal shelter. But I can tell you that I will NOT go to the Extreme to get 100 things for free that I don't even use. I can handle getting a couple to donate.

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