Friday, September 27, 2013

Coupons Help You Save But They Have Their Dangers

By Cornelius Nunev

We're all planning to conserve cash in these difficult times. Coupon clipping is one method to save money on food and other items. But not every cent is worth the cost of earning it. TLC's reality show "Extreme Couponing" depicts an action that, for some, can become a dark obsession.

Reality show started it

The phrase "extreme couponing" is well-known by several individuals. It came from a show on the Learning Channel. TLC states that the show is about "the world of bargain shoppers who have mastered the art of saving. Get tips to help you save Big." TLC first previewed the show in December, 2010. It began airing regularly in April, 2011. It is now into a second season. This began this month.

Is hoarding an issue?

The show is, according to MNSBC's Allison Linn, about "bargain-obsessed people coupon-clipping for hours, and in some cases even Dumpster diving for more coupons." This is seen often in grocery stores. An individual will print a ton of coupons, clear the shelves at the store and give the register clerk the coupons. Afterward, they are seen bragging about the pantry stuffed with several years' supply of household goods.

Is this okay?

Since more and more people are starting to take advantage of couponing, the show has brought on retailers and manufacturers to backlash.

Bud Miller, executive director of Coupon Information Corp., said "a fairly large number of people are going into stores with really unrealistic expectations."

Last month, retailers spoke with the Food Marketing Institute. It warned that coupon users are becoming more fraudulent as time goes on. Cashiers are sometimes intimidated while couponers will sometimes make an effort to use coupons on things other than what they are for.


Linn explained that newspapers began to be stolen more often on Sunday. This is because of couponers, several believe.

The Sacramento Bee is doing things to prevent theft from happening, according to Dan Schaub. The papers are being used by couponers. This was clear to him. The newspapers are quick to sell on both Wednesday and Sunday. This is because there are coupon inserts in them.

Deception being committed

There are several unethical and illegal couponing practices which were shown by one "Extreme Couponing" shopper J'Aime Kirlew, as reported by an article posted by blogger Jill Cataldo in April.

TLC responded to the controversy in a statement, saying the company takes the concerns seriously and will look to the matter. The brief statement closed with: "We look forward to sharing the tips and shopping savvy from all the couponers featuring in upcoming episodes."

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