Since the latest season of TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” began airing on 4/6, it seems like there has been a great deal of controversy.
-First, the Kroger stores in the Houston Texas market announced that they would no longer be doubling and tripling coupons. Although they claim that this is not related to the show in any way, many people believe otherwise. They also claimed that this would ONLY affect the Houston Texas market, but many other markets have already been impacted and they continue to announce the change in other markets.
-Kroger stores also announced that they would no longer allow “stacking” of coupons. In the past, you could use a digital/loadable coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon at the same time. I do understand why they stopped this practice because you were essentially using two manufacturer’s coupons on one item, but they made this change abruptly without providing any notice to their customers. They also announced that they would no longer allow the “stacking” of store coupons with manufacturer’s coupons.
-J’aime Kirlew, one of the participants on the first episode that aired this season, has been accused of committing coupon fraud because she was using coupons inappropriately. She was using coupons on items that she was not purchasing or on the wrong sizes. What’s scary to me is that she continues to say that she has done nothing wrong? Check out this interview from the Wall Street Journal where she not only admits to this practice, but also says that she doesn’t see anything wrong with it (if you haven’t seen it yet)! In my opinion, J’aime gives couponers a bad name!
The Coupon Information Corporation (CIC) expresses our great disappointment with TLC’s current series, Extreme Couponing, and hereby offers our expertise and other assistance to TLC and Sharp Entertainment (which produces the show) to enhance the program with more accurate and realistic information. In addition, we hope they address potentially illegal acts that appear to have been portrayed on the show.
Professionals in the coupon industry believe this show creates unrealistic expectations about how coupons work and promotes the misuse of coupons. For example, the show appears to portray coupons being used in violation of the terms and conditions printed on the coupons, such as using coupons to obtain products other than those specified by the coupon offer, and focuses on consumers who have procured large quantities of coupon inserts from unknown sources, which may raise civil and/or criminal issues.
In real life, individuals attempting to use such large quantities of coupons or attempting to use them in violation of the terms stated on the coupons would most likely have their coupons refused at the register or, depending on the circumstances, be investigated by law enforcement. According to media reports, TLC recently stated,
“While the series documents extreme couponing strategies, we take any concerns about specific tactics seriously and are looking into the situation.” We look forward to hearing what TLC discovers.
The CIC’s and other industry experts’ previous offers of assistance to the producers to make this an educational show were previously turned down. Nevertheless, we stand ready to help in the event the producers or TLC reconsider their path and seek to turn this into a show that accurately reflects appropriate coupon strategies and use, which would result in real benefits for TLC’s viewing audience.
I have to admit that when this series first aired, I was intrigued. Although I have been couponing for a long time and know that it’s not very realistic, I couldn’t help but watch. But, I think that the changes we’ve seen over the past few weeks where stores are starting to crack down on couponers is just the start. I have a feeling that TLC’s Extreme Couponing is going to “ruin couponing” for a lot of us.
What do you think? Have your stores started cracking down already?
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