People I Want to Punch in the Throat: EXTREME Couponers

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EXTREME Couponers

If you don't know yet, I'll tell you:  the Hubs is CHEAP!  I mean, REALLY, REALLY cheap.  He manages to get free magazine subscriptions, he saves us tons of money on electronics by doing his research and price comparisons, he only buys clothes from the clearance rack WITH a coupon and he will only eat out at restaurants he has coupons for or that have a Dollar Menu he can order from.

That being said, he started bugging me about "Extreme Couponing" - a new show on TLC, I think.  He's telling me how we could be getting thousands of dollars of groceries every year for pennies on the dollar if we'd just "clip a couple coupons" like these people.

Today I had a little time so we sat down to watch the show.  About halfway through I wanted to punch the Hubs in the throat.  If he thinks we're going to do this, he's NUTS.

These people have a SERIOUS problem.  I predict they will end up on a very special "Hoarders:  Buried Alive Under Reynold's Wrap & Crest Toothpaste".  I truly believe these people are mentally ill.  The sickest out of the 4 they profiled lives in a 3 bedroom home where 2 of the bedrooms as well as her husband's "man cave" have become stockpile rooms.  The 2 bedrooms look pretty organized and tidy with everything arranged neatly on shelves, but the man cave is just piled high with plastic grocery bags.  It's like Hoarders Lite in that house.  This is the same woman who spent $70 ordering coupons (who the hell even know you could do that??) from a coupon clipping service so she could get 150 candy bars for free.  She brags that she spends 70 hours a week couponing.  Now, I'm the first to admit that I'm not very good at math, but I got out my trusty calculator and I did some figuring.  If you take the 70 hours she spends couponing PLUS the 40 hours she claims to work at a real job that only leaves a little over 8 hours a day for sleeping/eating/socializing/pooping.  I just don't think that math adds up!  When does she find the time to eat her 150 candy bars??  On shopping day she actually has to take a vacation day from work to spend 6-8 hours at the grocery store.  WTF???

I also get irritated when these Extreme Couponers claim how much they save by clipping coupons.  None of them take into account the $70-100 they PAY the clipping services.  Or the fact that they have 10 newspaper subscriptions so they can get coupons.  That's gotta come off your bottom line people - it's an expense.  I'm still impressed you managed to get $600 worth of groceries for $90, just don't tell me you only paid $20.

One woman doesn't order coupons she gets them the old fashioned way:  Dumpster diving.  She even had fancy looking gloves just for her Dumpster diving (I wonder if she used a coupon to buy those).

Dude, check out all the great coupons.
And don't even get me started on the narrator!  "Susie waits nervously for the coupons to start coming off her total.  If she's miscalculated anywhere she could end up owing more money than she has brought with her!"  Seriously?  Have you never gone to checkout at the grocery store and realized you didn't have enough money?  It's not like the Manager says, "Put on an apron and start bagging groceries, lady.  Someone's gotta pay for that ice cream!"  The drama is comical.  "Susie starts to sweat.  Something's gone terribly wrong.  The computer has frozen.  What will she do now with her 9 carts of groceries?"  Uhhh....walk away and say I'll try again tomorrow?  Don't worry, don't worry, it all worked out for Susie.  Four store employees put their heads together for 2 HOURS and finally came up with the brilliant plan of splitting her order into more manageable sizes so the computer could handle it.  I'm sure Corporate will be happy to see those productive hours!

Hey, I love a sale as much as the next person.  I will use a coupon at my favorite stores like Hobby Lobby, Gymboree and Macy's.  My problem is, I rarely see a grocery coupon for stuff I like.  I don't like Hunt's Ketchup (I'm a Heinz kinda girl) and I don't care if Hunt's will pay me a buck to take it out the store I won't buy it.  (Actually, that's not true.  If I had 300 Hunt's coupons that I found in a Dumpster and had a grocery store that doubled  my coupon and I ended up making money, I'd take the Hunt's out of the store and put it on Craigslist and sell it for half price and make more money 'cause I'd rather make money than save money.)

How much toothpaste can one family need?  What are they stockpiling it for??  Are they waiting for Armageddon??  They talk a lot about being able to live off of their cache for one or two years if necessary.  Yeah, if all you wanted to eat was deodorant, cat food, Barilla pasta, Gatorade, and Butterfingers.

One person on my Facebook summed it up perfectly: "these people are hoarders and thieves."  I agree completely and I have no desire to spend 70 flipping hours a week hoarding and thieving.

In the end, the Hubs and I compromised:  anytime he wants to go Dumpster diving for coupons, he's welcome to try it (because I refuse to subscribe to the paper or coupon clipping services) but if he brings home Hunt's Ketchup he has to eat it all.

24 comments:

Dana @ WhatWereWeThinking? said...

I have a friend who is really into couponing. She has a three ring binder & everything. However, she doesn't cross the crazy line. She actually donates a TON of food to her church & local food banks because she ends up getting a lot for free or pennies on the dollar. She keeps her pantry well-stocked, but when things get crowded, she donates it. She also thinks it's stupid to PAY for coupons..kind of defeats the purpose.

Also, I totally agree that these people are hoarders. It's ridiculous. I don't need 20lbs of candy, 800 tubes or toothpaste, or 70 cans of cat food...

Kiki Wilson-Harshman said...

lmao

Lori said...

Just watched this show today for the first time. I saw someone getting 117 bottles of nighttime cold medicine. Um, addict much? There's no way that can be used up before it expires! Same goes for a lot of that other stuff. I'm all for having a little stock on hand, but come on, not when it takes over the entire house. Also, why keep shopping when there's a huge stockpile? That also defeats the purpose! Thanks for posting. You are so funny!

Kate said...

I find this show so trashy. I don't know why it annoys me, and to be honest, I've only seen it once. {We don't have television, so we only watch stuff when visiting other people or at night on vacations. No, we're not hippy-dippy, we're grad students with kids.}

faith said...

You are my hero...
No I will not be stalking you so dont worry...

Jessie said...

Extreme Couponers have ruined coupons for regular ol' people that use them. Now the cashiers are like hawks if the scanner doesn't read the coupon correctly. Before they would tap a few keys and boom all of a sudden the coupon is good. Not anymore. And really - who needs boxes of diapers or cans of baby formula when you don't even have a baby! You're not even donating them, you're just stockpiling them.

Gidget said...

I LOATHE extreme couponers. Seriously, who needs 70 bottles of mustard?

I truly think those people have an addiction to shopping and they have found a loophole around not spending money but still getting the thrill of shopping and bringing stuff home. It's an illness.

lupinssupins said...

Looks like I'm not the first reader to arrive here at this great post from last Spring via your year end review. [I've been up for hours reading your archives! This one cracked me up! I get annoyed by the occasional news show about how "anyone" can save the big $$ by couponing, so I'm appalled at the prospect of an entire "reality" show about it [which I'm spared by not having cable--who needs to PAY for more time wasters when I've got blogs & facebook to keep up with, for free?] Your column made me SO nostalgic for the great Mel Brooks' epic, Emmy winning tour de "farce" as the side-splitting Uncle Phil ["firm embrace!"] in Mad About You's "Uncle Phil and the Coupons" (1997) episode! Alas, I couldn't find any clips on Youtube. Double alas, for some reason, I was not able to share your great post on facebook! Tried both your buttons on the right, plus my "shareaholic" button in my taskbar, to no avail. Whenever I clicked "Sharelink," it failed:-( I thought it might be b/c I'd checked "No thumbnail" rather than append one of the 2 ad choices, so I unchecked that to allow the ad-- which was, ironically, one for coupons.com!
Anyone else have a similar problem?

lupinssupins said...

Oops, ne' mind about the Share" question-- just saw your note on Facebook.

Colie said...

Oh sweet baby jesus yes! I couldn't agree with you more! I've watched the show a few times. Although I'm not sure why since it bugs me so much. I refer to the show as Extreme Couponing with a side of hoarding.

Libbi said...

I call these folks organized hoarders.

pj said...

If done in one's free time, without paying for extras, ok. Especially if one donates the proceeds. For the ones that just stockpile, I totally agree with you!

padorf said...

I figured that these people actually PAY for coupons. There are coupon sites that make you pay to join, they buy coupons on ebay, and then there's the one's who get 20 Sunday papers! It's like people who say they won $1000 at the casino. Yes, maybe they did, but how much did it really cost to "WIN" that?!

writingnp said...

As usual, this has made me laugh but I felt the need to comment that while reading this post I've had 2 ads for coupons come up on the sidebar.

Unknown said...

It's actually pretty well known that a lot of the stuff on that show is faked. If you google it it's pretty easy to find. Most of the stuff that happens on that show would NEVER fly in a real situation.

DeeTech said...

As a couponer that gets ONE Sunday paper and clips free coupons found on the Internet for products we actually use, this show is like a train wreck for me. It has an entertainment value, but I get so aggravated at their WRONG math and the nail biting at the register. I will admit that I have a few extra tubes of toothpaste and bottles of Listernine in our bathroom vanity, but that has more to do with the kid getting braces and actually using about 3x the amount of these things as she was - no complaints there, actually. Have you checked out the new one 'Extreme Cheapskates' yet? The couple sharing the same string of dental floss on the commercial was enough to scare me. ;)

DeeTech said...

Thank you! I only wish I had a grocery store that offered so many double & triple coupon deals and no limits. Plus, what store is actually going to PAY you the difference between the item and coupon amount? Please.

cabram015 said...

Let me start by saying, when I first watched that show, I immediately subscribed to the newspaper and started getting coupons. I ended up buying all kinds of shit I didn't need and probably spent way more money than I ever would have otherwise. Needless to say, I was not as skilled at theivery as these people.
However, there was an episode on that series where the guy just got a thrill out of doing this and donated EVERYTHING. Would literally load up his car with all the free stuff and give it all away to local charities. THAT is extreme couponing, people! If you have time, check out that episode, it will (slightly) restore your faith in humanity.

Crystal M said...

Dee Tech - the stores are reimbursed by the coupon manufacturers and I've never heard of a store saying that you can't use a coupon because it's more than the sale price. I'm not extreme at all in my couponing, but I have had money back several times because of a manufacturer's coupon on top of a good deal at the store. You are right on about the limits though! 5 doubles up to $1 each is all I ever get at my local store!!

Allison said...

Publix in my area will give you "overage" when the coupons are more than the price of the item and it comes off the total at the end. Bi-Lo, however, will not and the computer adjusts the value of the coupon to make it zero out. Couponing saved my family when my husband left his job and the new job fell through, so I will have to say that sometimes you just have more time than money and you need to invest the time to get food and toiletries. When you are facing the prospect of no toothpaste or money to buy more, extra free toothpaste looks pretty good and makes you feel like you can breathe a little easier. Having said all that, I have never couponed anywhere that lets you use so many coupons or at least limit the deals in some way.

Erin Pocock said...

As someone who also coupons, does not hoard, but has a binder (it's called organization) I think you're being a bit harsh and critical. Calling someone a thief!? Why? Because they are smart enough to pay full price on something they were already buying anyway? That's what coupons are meant for. The stores are reimbursed for them. There is no "thievery." Are there people who go a little overboard? Yes! Absolutely, as with anything, there are some people who go a little overboard. I don't subscribe to the paper, I don't order from sites, although, on some items, I've considered it, because yes, you are spending money on the coupons but the return is much higher, and yes, there are coupons out there referred to as "money makers" where you in fact DO make money, not just save it. I was completely fine with your ignorant outlook on couponing, but I do take insult to being called a thief because I'm smart enough to save money on things that I need, when some of us don't have a lot of money to be spending in the first place.

Chariot said...

"Thief" may not apply to you. But I stopped watching after reading an analysis on one episode where the woman intentionally misused coupons. She would match upc code families instead of what the coupon was for and the store let. her. There were other things too. Following the rules is one thing. What some people do is stealing.

Schemer said...

I am so fed up with the excuse, "I donate to the food pantry!" First of all, did the food pantry specifically ask you for 300 tubes of toothpaste? I'm sure the food pantry could use more produce and less preservative-laden processed food, which we all know is what the majority of coupons are for. Second, for all of you 'shelf-clearers': how about not clearing the shelf in the name of charity and leaving some for someone else who might be living paycheck-to-paycheck and trying their hand at couponing, in order to keep themselves from having to GO to the food pantry?

Emily Bemily said...

Actually, things like toothpaste, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, feminine products, and other hygiene items are very much appreciated by food pantries - these are items that food stamps don't pay for thus are out of reach for a lot people.