Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My opinion of Extreme Couponing

Since Extreme Couponing has aired and now become a regular series, I have alot of folks asking me many questions about the show.  The reactions have been mixed, some good, some.... not so good.   As always, this show portrays people to be crazy, hoarders with a shopping addiction, and in the case of MOST coupon users, this could not be farther from the truth.

I am the first to admit that some of these people are NUTS.  The very first person profiled was just crazy.  She bought somewhere around 200 candy bars because they were free after coupon.  To me, that was pointless, ridiculous.  Even if she planned to donate them, where on earth did she plan to donate them too? Unless she was putting them away for Halloween, which is fine, but of course the show isn't going to tell you that.    The other part that bothered me about her was the fact that she took out insurance on her stockpile, so the money that she was saving by shopping coupons and sales, was being spent on insurance.  Sorry, ridiculous.

The next person I'd like to address is 'Mr. Coupon', as he is affectionately know as on his website,   While his stash was very cool, it was not realistic.  What store is going to let you take 1100 boxes of cereal out the door??   Another question is, what store actually HAS 1100 boxes for you to take out the door??   So while his trip was awesome, it was not for the average person who walked into a Kroger today to accomplish.    And while we are on the subject of Mr. Coupon, the show also did not tell you that the majority of his haul was donated to charity.  If you read that site and his postings about his appearance on the show, he explains how much he donated and to whom.   The other person I know featured on that show, The Krazy Coupon Lady, also donated much of her haul to charity as well.  She posted the video on youtube, click HERE to view it.

Lets move on to last weeks episode. There were 2 ladies that were profiled.  Again, I feel this was an unrealistic presentation of the average 'extreme' couponer.  Lets start with Tiffany, the second woman profiled.  Again, this is not realistic.  She has 7 kids so yes she has to be on her game, but as a mom, I just don't have the time and space to do what she does.  She had stuff stockpiled in her kids closets, under their beds,  and where ever else she could find room.  I'm all for a good deal, but I just don't want a stockpile taking over my house.    Again, I think she donated quite a bit of what she purchased, but of course the show will not tell you that.  Its not 'sensational' enough.  As we all know, TLC goes for the shock value in their programming.

Which brings me to my final person to discuss.   This goes under the category of 'do not try this at home kids!'.   J'aime Kirlew made her way onto the show, as the 'Diva of coupons' with her own website and facebook page.  She got ridiculous with the stuff she was buying, most notably, purchasing a large quantity of mustard, (63 to be exact), while her husband stood on the side of her and said "I don't even LIKE mustard...."  She defiantly struck a nerve with people, as she cleared the shelves of everything she wanted, and stuff she didn't. When she was cashing out, the register locked up because the transaction was so high, so the manager came and did manual overrides on each coupon to get the bill lower so the transaction could continue.    Later on down the line, it was revealed that she may have used fraud to purchase items for the show during her trip that day.   She used coupons the wrong way, buying items that the coupons were not intended for,  and buying the wrong item size than indicated on the coupon.   The coupons that were overridden by the manger, were all beeping, and not allowed through, thus the override.  (Could it be because they were fraudulent?)     Blogger Jill Cataldo broke the story last week, and blogged about her findings on her site. 

Was coupon fraud shown on TLC's Extreme Couponing? 

So lets get real.  Lets break this down for  'real' people.  Most of us do not need to go in a store and purchase 63 bottles of mustard, and most of us do not have the space to stock toilet paper under our kids beds.  Did you also notice that most of the stuff they showed was nothing 'good'??  A common misconception about coupons, is that  you can never get anything good or healthy for you, its all junk.  This show just showed the stereotype plain and simple. 


Stocking up for several months is smart, stocking up in case the bomb falls and you'll never see another sheet of toilet paper is dumb.      Whats my opinion of this show?  I think is inspiring, but I also think its sensational.  Lets face it, the couponing I do would never get me on that show.  One day I'll take pictures of my stockpile  and you'll see I stock up for the next few months, maybe 6 weeks out ahead, not 6 years.  I'd like to see this show redone, with out all the sensationalism, and the shock and awe of it.  I'd like to see a regular person go into a store with $25, and a book full of coupons, then  shop for 2 weeks with only that.  Can it be done????   It probably could!    Now based on this show, and what 'real' people do, would you call yourself an Extreme Couponer??   I do impress the people in line behind me, and the cashier when I cash out and that's enough shock and awe for me.  I guess I am an 'Extreme Couponer'. 



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