So I had a comment on my blog that needed "moderated" before it could be published or deleted.... It called me a hypocrite for talking so "nasty about overweight people". Of course, the commenter hid behind their statement, as it was posted from "Anonymous". But I just had a couple of thoughts I wanted to share with Miz Persnickety, regarding the general purpose of my last post.
[And just for the record--I am totally aware of the national trends in obesity and lifestyle choices. Thus I would never set myself up to be used as an Extreme Couponing model for the way I shop. What I do with coupons for my family is a blessing. I share my tips and ideas with others so that they can also be blessed. If I was truly a hypocrite--I wouldn't offer you any advice on how to save your hard-earned dough. So leave your impudent comments about my family and my kids in your empty wallet!]
My comments about Extreme Couponing were directed at the abuse of some shoppers, and particularly the ones that sometimes commit fraud. [Fraud is always a bad thing. But in any extreme case--it could also be a felony--and a serious trespass of moral and ethical values--but, nonetheless, a crime...just saying!] In this episode of Extreme Couponing with Faatima, what she was doing missed the "coupon fraud" title--just barely--but crossed over into unethical and abnormal behavior. She based her entire purchase around coupons that were not intended for the items that she purchased. And because there was no mention of size restrictions on her particular coupons, the store honored them--although the pictures clearly showed full-size boxes, and not trial-size single servings. Fine. I have no problem with that. But she went on to purchase ONE THOUSAND boxes--all of which had a 6-9 month expiry date clearing noted on the box--all for a family of three people. Bells went off in my head. Actually, more like screams! Screams that said SOMETHING is wrong here. She accrued a $500 deficit (what the store owed her) because of her "Save $1 on 2 boxes of cereal" coupon. It was a coupon of questionable use to begin with.
She deliberately plotted her purchase of 1000 boxes to cover a vast portion of the $1800 worth of more items--on which she used additional coupons for. This would mean that she was technically "doubling",tripling, or quadrupling and more, the savings of each coupon's face value! Many of which, I'm sure, openly stated that they are NOT to be doubled or tripled. **That is the gross abuse of the coupon's intended purpose.** But I'm thrilled she got her deceptive ways out in the open. Because you can guarantee that things are going to change! Most stores and chains have already added safety nets in the computer and register software to catch such actions. That's reality. You can't have something for free that didn't have a properly designated coupon applied towards it to begin with. Ask yourself this: Why would General Mills want to give any family $500 of free groceries and 1000 boxes of cereals??? Think on that and then tell me what you think they'll do to prevent that from happening again!
What is shown on TV for millions to see as their guide to shopping with coupons, is mostly, utter nonsense. As a fellow consumer--you need to be aware of why store policies change, how manufacturers market with coupons, how stores redeem coupons, etc. etc. etc. And when there is a NATIONAL CAMPAIGN showing the exploits of how one savvy shopper milked the system--you can be sure that the stores are going to catch on and make sure that there is NOT a national trend of coupon abusers rushing to the market!! So, Miz Persnickety, I could care less about the size, color, or gender of this or any other fellow couponer. But what I am concerned about is that she was being heralded as a great, albeit questionable, example of extreme couponing. And the icing on the cake was the ignorant comments about how she was going to ship it all to Hawaii!! Yep. And I thought we were talking about reality TV.
Things to remember: Food has expiration dates. It has to be rotated and used--not just stockpiled and mass accumulated. It's exceptionally heavy when you're talking about the massive amounts Extreme Couponers, like Faatima, have conglomerated (as depicted in the episode I am referring to). By the time she saves enough money to pay the freight charges to get out of her violence-riddled neighborhood--the bulk of the food won't be any good. The show is exasperating and a farcical example of the EXTREME. Extremely questionable. Not to mention that she was extreme in her approach, her attitude, and her quantities, but most importantly--she was extreme in her perception of Reality.
So my advice to anyone who is trying to learn mad couponing skills to make ends meet in today's economy--do not follow the example of sensational TV. Practice some common sense. Follow the store's rules. Be honest in your efforts and use of copuons. There's always going to be a bad apple in the bunch--but if you have a good relationship with your stores and yourself--couponing is a lifestyle choice and not a freak break from reality!
And despite Miz Persnickety's extreme criticism--I think couponing is awesome. It closes the gaps in what could be deemed as trying times for so many families. It empowers shoppers' purchasing abilities without relying on the arm of administrative government programs. It means that you can have peace of mind in times of draught, famine, economic, natural or financial disasters. It's a "savings account" of money you didn't have to spend. But that could all come to an end because some extremists efforts were capitalized on for ungainly purposes. The national retail market has already started to limit and quantify the amount of items sold to avoid exorbitant exploitation by greedy and selfish people. So file that thought, Miz Persnickety. And till then---Happy Couponing!