Last week, I shared a post about why I will be boycotting this season of Extreme Couponing on TLC. The post sparked a lot of great discussion and comments! Although I admit that I was intrigued with the show at first, since the show began airing regularly in April 2011, I have seen a negative impact on couponing in general.
Here are four reasons why I believe TLC’s Extreme Couponing is Ruining it for Couponers:
Many stores changed their coupon policies after Extreme Couponing began airing – Shortly after the first season of Extreme Couponing aired, stores such as Kroger, Publix, Safeway, CVS, Target, and Rite Aid made significant changes to their coupon policies. These changes, in my opinion, were detrimental to coupons.
Here are some of the most noteable changes I’ve seen in store coupon policies since Extreme Couponing began airing:
-No more doubling and tripling of coupons at many stores
-Limits on the number of coupons that can be used per transaction (including the number of “like” coupons that can be used in one transaction). In addition, some stores like Target limited the number of “like” store coupons that could be used per transaction.
-No more “stacking” of coupons. For some stores this meant no more stacking of store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons. In other cases, this meant no more stacking of digital coupons and paper manufacturer’s coupons.
-No more overage. Many stores used to allow for “overage” when the face value of a coupon exceeded the amount of the item being purchased. This meant that you could either apply the “overage” toward other items you were purchasing or the store would actually issue cash back. In my area, Walmart is the only store that still allows for overage.
-Limits on the use of BOGO free coupons or BOGO free store promotions. In the past, if a store was having a BOGO free promotion and you used a BOGO free coupon, you could get two items for free. In addition, if a store was having a BOGO free promotion, you could use a coupon for each item you were “purchasing” (including the “free” item) for additional savings. Many stores have changed their coupon policies to prohibit this.
Increased scrutiny for those using coupons – I remember when I first started using coupons eight years ago, cashiers would congratulate me on my savings. Now, I get the “evil eye” as soon as a cashier notices that I will be using coupons. Many times, managers are called over to “approve” transactions and my trip to the store turns into a nightmare as my coupons are scrutinized and matched up with individual items. The people in line behind me are never thrilled with this, either. What should have been a quick shopping trip can easily turn into an hour spent at the register.
Coupons are no longer as “good” as they used to be – Over the past year, I have seen significant decreases in the value of coupons. For example, the insert coupons used to regularly include coupons for $1 off Colgate or Crest coupons. For the past several months, the Crest coupons have a face value of $.25 off. I remember when $4 off Gillette razor coupons used to appear monthly and I was able to get razors for free when I combined these coupons with store promotions. It has been several months since any high dollar razor coupons have been available. Now, many razor coupons stipulate the purchase of the razor and cartridges together which is more expensive, even if you’re using a coupon.
Coupon fraud has increased – Coupon fraud has been shown on TLC’s Extreme Couponing multiple times. This has included the use of fraudulent coupons or using coupons inappropriately (for example, purchasing items that are not included within the terms of the coupon). After seeing this on TV, people think it’s OK and coupon fraud has increased. I believe an increase in coupon fraud has also led to tightened store coupon policies, increased scrutiny, and changes in coupon values. When people commit coupon fraud, the manufacturers and retailers lose money and that expense is passed on to the consumers.
Last week, when I posted my reasons for boycotting Extreme Couponing, this was one of the comments I received:
This show isn’t ruining anything. The show is getting people out there to realize there is a way in this economy to help your family survive.
What do you think? Is Extreme Couponing ruining it for couponers? If you’ve been using coupons for awhile, what changes have you noticed since the show began airing?
If you missed it, you can check out last week’s post here–> Five reasons why I will be boycotting this season of Extreme Couponing
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