this is a mini rant about extreme couponing. feel free to skip completely…
I admit, I like couponing. I really, really like couponing. Part of it is because it – to me – is one big puzzle that has the end result of free (!!) stuff when you do it right. I definitely have spent time at night after the baby has gone to sleep organizing my coupons and trying to figure out deals using websites that specialize in that. As my husband told me one night when he came home and I was on our bed covered in coupons, “At least it keeps you out of trouble!” And yes, last night when I was awake for 4 hours with pregnancy insomnia, I was going over what I would buy and how much it would cost me. The thing is, though, I only buy what my family needs and uses – and my “free” items are kept to a minimum as I only have 1 newspaper.
Now to say that couponing is interesting to everyone is a big fat lie. In fact, when I proudly come home with my loot I see my husband’s eyes glaze over as I tell him what I bought for for how much. So I guess the point of this post isn’t to talk about the couponing exactly, but the crazies that emerge out of the woodwork when there are good deals to be had – all in the name of “charity”.
Why on earth would someone race to the store to get freebies, only to donate them? Because it makes them feel good about themselves, obviously, as well as adds to their sense of accomplishment at getting a good deal. But can one exist with the other? Can charity exist with, well, hoarding?
There was, for instance, a new product out that had a coupon on it to make it free in order to let customers try it out. People went crazy, and cleared those shelves like maniacs. They proudly commented on the couponing websites just how many of the free product they took, and that they were going to donate them to the local Y. Why, I said to myself? Why rush out just to deny people who might actually need or want to try that product, in order to donate the entire lot to charity? The commenter actually said she was proud that she took so many and was able to “pass on the savings” to others…but in fact what she did was take away the opportunity for people who need it to save some money.
Why are people proud of clearing the shelves of bargains that other hard-working people might need just to fulfill their need to feel good about themselves?
There’s definitely a psychological aspect of couponing. The thrill of getting a bunch of things for free is, I will fully admit, lovely. But it frustrated me beyond belief that the shelves were cleared because of people who were eager to not only experience the thrill, but also feel like they were doing good for others by donating the entire lot. For sure, I was like, “Dude! Seriously, wtf.”
Not only that, but when they were denied specifically clearing the shelves by people who enforced the “one per customer” rule, what did these crazies do? They went back and took every single coupon off every package left so they could use them in the future. The only products that were left were those that had been stripped of their coupons, negating any free “try this!” that the manufacturer intended.