Thanks to friend Julie for inspiring me to write this post! She recently posted on Facebook about her concern that the Extreme Couponing show is going to ruin it for the rest of us normal people. I named my blog Extreme Coupon Queen not because I get 100 of an item for free, I do the same thing as the people on the show but on a more normal scale.
TLC’s Extreme Couponing show…ironically they call it a reality show, it is anything but! Personally, I feel a lot of people on that show have a hoarding/OCD problem, even the savviest couponers don’t do trips like that, or buy that many of one item. Here are some Couponing Ethics to remember:
1. Do not clear the shelf. If you watched the show, there was a lady who cleared the shelf and bought 77 bottles of mustard. First of all, this is ridiculous. I’m pretty sure I won’t go through that much mustard in my entire life. Second of all, how greedy is that? Let other people get in on the deal! If you really want that many because you have some weird mustard obsession, talk to your store manager in advance and see if they will special order some for you.
2. Do not scan/make copies of your coupons. This is coupon fraud and is illegal! Internet coupons have unique barcodes, and the store will only be reimbursed once for each barcode. If you make copies and use them, you are stealing that amount from your store. Coupon fraud hurts everyone, stores become more leery about accepting them, so do the right thing and obey the law.
3. Only use the coupon for what is stated. Make sure you are buying the right size, quantity, and variety. If it says it’s for a 50 oz or larger bottle of laundry detergent, don’t try to use it on the smaller size. If it says it’s not valid on trial sizes, don’t use it on trial sizes. If it’s for Frosted Cheerios, don’t try to use it on the regular ones. Besides being illegal, talk about embarrassing when your cashier goes to scan the coupon and realizes you are trying to cheat the system! You could even get the police called on you, so don’t try it.
4. If you’re not buying the product, leave the peelies there! “Peelies” are coupons found taped to products, intended for the purchaser, not some coupon happy person who notices them and rips them all off to use later and leaves the products on the shelf.
5. Have your coupons ready to go at checkout. This is pretty self-explanatory, have the coupons ready to go and don’t be digging around your folder or binder or whatever you use when you’re already at the checkout. What works for me is pulling out the coupon for the item I’m getting as I’m shopping, that way I also don’t forget any coupons.
6. Let people know you have coupons. If you have an obscene amount of coupons and there’s a person behind you with only a few items, let them go ahead of you. Warn people who get behind you when you have a lot of coupons, they will appreciate this and may choose a different line. If they decide to wait, discreetly check their basket for any items you may have a coupon for and can give to them. People love a nice coupon fairy!
7. Good manners. Even when you know you’re right, even when the cashier is in the wrong and scrutinizing every coupon, stay calm and hold your ground. Kindly ask for a manager if need be and don’t make a scene. It’s a good idea to keep the coupon policy with you just in case.
Keep these tips in mind and let’s keep couponing fun and legal!