Should Stores Be Allowed to Limit Quantities to prevent Extreme Couponing?


This morning, in my Facebook feed, I saw a post by someone how was bragging that they had cleared the shelves at 9 different stores and that what they had pictured was only half of their “haul.”  What was pictured, in case you are wondering, was HUNDREDS of boxes of Jell-O and lots and lots of what I think were Yakisoba noodles.  People were cheering them on and asking for the details so that they could do the same thing.

I’m lost…

What could you possibly need hundreds of boxes of Jell-O and noodles for?  Where would you even store it?  The shelf life isn’t THAT long so even if you ate nothing but Jell-O and noodles every day for a year, I’m not sure you could make a dent in what I saw pictured (and remember that was only half of what they had actually purchased). 

Living in a Land of Extreme Couponing

I started couponing about 10 years ago before couponing was really “Cool”  When I first started, it was completely addicting.  I remember dreaming CVS and Walgreens scenarios in my head.  I may or may not have sent my husband out on New Year’s Eve one year to get a moneymaker blood glucose monitor at CVS even though neither one of us is diabetic.  So, I “get” the thrill that comes from getting things for free.  What I don’t get is clearing shelves at multiple stores so that no one else has the opportunity to take advantage of deals and clearing shelves to load up on things you couldn’t possibly use.  But Extreme Couponing changed everything.  Now, not only do we have people loading up on things they don’t need, but they are bragging about it and even re-selling it!

Who is to blame?

I’d like to say that Extreme Couponing is to blame, but it’s not their fault, really, that people lack common courtesy and common sense.  What about the stores?  Should they limit quantities of items to try to prevent this extreme and irrational behavior (and to help make sure that every day folks can still get in on a deal)?  Why not?

How much is too much?

This always raises the question of how much is too much?  What seems “extreme” to me may not be extreme if you have a family of 8 people.  I think the answer is to buy what your family needs and can use in a reasonable amount of time (preferably before it expires).  If the stores limit quantities, it will encourage stockpilers to make arrangements with management to pre-order items so they are not clearing shelves or they may have to make multiple visits to multiple stores.  I’ve been there and done that.  I did it to buy the 10 bottles of Tide pictured above that I purchased in January.  Some might think buying 10 bottles of Tide is “extreme” but every single one of those bottles is gone now, by the way, and has been replaced by deals on All and Purex over the past few weeks!

You may be wondering what I even CARE about this.  The answer is because I feel it every time I go shopping.  If I can’t get to my CVS stores at midnight for a 24 hour store or when they open, I know I won’t get their deals for that week.  I care because I have seen what has happened to coupon policies at stores over the past few years because of this type of behavior.  I care because I see my friends thinking they are getting a “deal” buying household items from people who are re-selling and they could have gotten the same deal for a LOT less themselves!

What do you think?  Should Stores Be Allowed to limit Quantities to Prevent Extreme Couponing?  What types of policies should they have?


  1. Tina U. says:

    I think you nailed it. I really wish people were kind enough to think of others as well. I always picture that new mom trying struggle in because her time between feedings is limited, only to find the shelves bare. Or a person with a child who has special needs who needs to coupon because the medical bills are terrible. We need to support each other. I also try to leave my extra coupons near the product.

  2. Michelle says:

    I think you nailed it as well, I am an avid couponer and try my best to be respectful of the “unwritten” rules of couponing. I was at one of our local stores last week and wanted to use the 2 coupons I had for cupcake liners. The shelf was bare so i moved on, when a woman walked past me with at least 50 in her cart. I realize they don’t go bad or anything, but really….she cleared the shelf, and my young daughter said “Hey Mom there are all the cupcake things you wanted, that lady has them all!” She turned, scoffed at me, and said “I got there first!”

    Some people have no manners and never will. Some I think just aren’t thinking about others. I don’t have a problem with stores limiting stock and/or coupons. Most of the stores where I live have rules in place for coupons, limits on how many of the same coupon can be use, ect. Also many coupons themselves are putting more and more limiting language on the coupon. I have noticed many Proctor&Gamble coupons with limits.

    • Melissa says:

      Michelle – I’ve noticed that with coupons, too. Unfortunately, some stores don’t even enforce what’s written on the coupons. I hate that “I got there first attitude” 🙁 It’s not just coupon items, either. When our Target toys go 75% off, there will be people with a “team” who will just buy up everything just to re-sell.

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