Couponers getting a bum rap? - Samuel A

Couponers getting a bum rap?

by on Sep.02, 2011, under Couponing, Maegan's Deals

Are couponers getting a bum rap?

Hello couponers, I’m back after a small break from blogging. I am transitioning from stay at home Mom to working mom and so here I am trying to balance Mommying, working and couponing, no easy feat!

I have been thinking a lot about how couponers are perceived. Since TLC’s show Extreme Couponing aired, a tremendous amount of people have been turned on to the whole couponing scene. You would think that because couponing is the new ‘cool’ thing that it would be looked on favourably but that is not really the feeling I am getting.

There I’ll be, standing in line with my purchases and my handfuls of coupons and when I step up to the cashier and hand them over I definitely have gotten some mixed reactions. From what little I have seen TLC’s show mixed with what I have read on couponing forums, both the cashiers and management staff as well as the other customers in line seem to be reasonably encouraging and in some cases have even cheered the couponer on. I have not experienced anything like this.

During my most positive couponing experiences I am treated with mere indifference. Just another customer. This is just fine with me because anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to stand out or draw attention to myself. I am definitely the kind of person that likes to blend in which, incidentally, is pretty hard to do when you are wheeling a cart full of 50 free boxes of cereal out of the grocery store.

That was for sure my most memorable, and embarrassing, couponing experience. Embarrassing because, as per my previous statement, I hated everyone staring at me with shocked looks on their faces and memorable for the way people reacted. Ok, yes 50 boxes of cereal is a LOT of cereal. The cashier and the other people in line couldn’t understand why I would want so much free cereal. They seemed to think it was just going to go to waste. They didn’t seem to be able to fathom anyone eating it all. Overall the other customers and the cashier seemed perplexed.

This really surprised me. For one, it is a non perishable item so it can just sit there for however many months it takes for my kids to devour it all (which may be less time than you would think). For two, I have three kids, two of them boys and I have to tell you that my 8 year old would live exclusively on cereal and peanut butter sandwiches if I were to let him – so I can absolutely guarantee you, without any doubt whatsoever, that the cereal will NOT go to waste. For three, and this is where I get really stumped, who WOULDN’T want a several month supply of cereal or whatever else sitting in their pantry that they got for FREE????

I mean maybe if you are really well off financially then you would think stockpiling tons of products in your basement was a little wacky. I’ll give you that. But I am certainly not writing this blog from the perspective of someone who coupons just for the fun of it. I am writing from the perspective of a Mom in a (until recently) single income family trying to survive and provide for her family in one of the most expensive cities in Canada. And from my point of view, knowing I have a four year supply of laundry detergent downstairs is pretty darn reassuring. Its just one less thing have to worry about budgeting for and I’ll tell you something else, getting all the coupons that enabled me to get the laundry detergent and hunting down the various sales that allowed me to get it for free was a lot of work!

I have also experienced personnel on the sales floor badmouthing couponers. I had learned of a really good coupon for Dove products sometime ago that was supposed to be available in stores on tearpads. For those of you who don’t know, these are the pads of coupons you will see affixed to the shelf on which the applicable product is displayed. Not having any success in finding these tearpads I finally asked a nearby employee if they had them anywhere else. The man started in on how awful couponers were and complained that since the couponing craze had begun, they weren’t able to keep tearpad coupons ‘in stock’ for more than a couple days after getting them. At this point he was joined by a female coworker who started commenting how absurd it was that people out there were couponing to the extent that they had stockpiles of products. The way she spoke of couponers was almost as though she thought of us more as mentally unbalanced hoarders than hardworking people dedicated to providing for our families in any way we could.

Now I can’t help but wonder if there are lots of you out there having more positive couponing experiences than I have had or if you are having similar (or worse) experiences. It seems to me that couponers are being viewed pretty negatively. Personally I think we all have our talents and mine just happens to be couponing – I just love that rush I get when I score big. So I will persevere in the face of scrutiny and certainly won’t be deterred from getting that next big deal! I hope all of you will too :)

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