Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Extreme Couponers Backlash

Have you ever seen the episode of Bones, where the grocery store owner, irked by extreme couponers, resorted to chasing one out of the store, causing her to hide under a semi, which dragged her to her death? I doubt any store manager would go that far. When arrested the man explained the extreme couponers were ruining his business two ways.  First, it eats into his profit margin to offer double coupons. The manufacturer gives the face value of the coupon while the store provides the price of the double.
It also annoys people to get behind someone who has a hundred or more coupons. Sure, she gets $300 of groceries for $20 dollars, but the three people behind her, who would have paid full price for everything, often get aggravated and decide not to shop there again. The cashiers spend more time checking out one person when they could have checked out five. This also cuts into the profit margin.
So what are stores doing about it? Plenty, at least on the East Coast and the Midwest; those on the West Coast may still offer double coupons. Not so here in the Midwest; in fact, we have signs posted everywhere that warn people that only two coupons for the same item can be used. 
Sunday newspaper theft is another fallout from extreme couponers. Remember those coupon pads or dispensers in the stores? Often the EC person will lift the whole pad or keep pulling them out of the dispenser until there are no more.

Manufacturers have changed their coupons too. Offering much less off making the coupon of little value even when doubled. If you had a good coupon and noticed a great sale for that item. There is a chance the shelves have been cleared by an extreme couponer. Some stores will give you a rain check if you ask.

Clearance items get a pass on coupons. I had a coupon for $1.25 for deli chicken that had been
 marked down to 2.99 because it was a day old and not eligible for a coupon. The cashiers do not honor coupons on clearance items, but the computer checkout does.
Another casualty from the extreme couponers craze is the 3 for $9 is no longer $3 if you buy one. You have to buy the three, five or ten specified to get the reduced price. This is when it helps to shop with friends or relatives.
If you have an electronic store coupon on your loyalty card, you can combine it with a manufacturer’s coupon. I bought Hydra razors where I had a buy one get one free coupon for and I had an electronic coupon too. After both discounts, the two set of razors that retailed for $16.98, ended up costing $3.50.
This is another version of coupon stacking, when you use the store coupon and the manufacturer coupon. The store coupon is indicative of a sale while the manufacturer coupon cost the storeowner nothing.
     With storeowners putting the brakes on savings due to people who go coupon crazy, it makes it more expensive for all of us.   What can we do to balance expenses? Check your ads. I do not buy all my groceries at one place. You can use free apps like Shopping Scout. I do not recommend paying for an app because you spent $10 a month right from the start.  Check the ads. I found asking around helps too. On a recent grocery trip, I asked where the $1.79 hamburger was and I found out it was at another store.
Don’t be afraid to shop out of the box. I often buy cleaning supplies and condiments at the Dollar Tree. Luxury or ethnic foods are available at Big Lots for a fraction of the price. Do not overlook the Dollar General, which often carries name brands. Alcohol, dairy, eggs, bread and produce are much cheaper at Aldis. Watch the ads because many big name stores will have loss leaders like the $1.79 hamburger.
Plan your trips accordingly since driving all over town will burn up gas. A trip to the bank might have you stopping by the nearby Walgreens to grab the packs of $1.99 water. Speaking of Walgreens, they have signs that tell you to ask for coupons. On a recent shopping trip, using the Walgreens sales with the coupons the store provided, I  left paying half of the original price.
Extreme Couponers, enjoy your time out west. I have a feeling your days are numbered.

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