I know everyone coupons for different reasons - out of necessity, like having items on hand in case of an emergency, for the "thrill" of it, or whatever the case/situation may be. I also know that couponing takes time. I know that I spend a LOT of time reading the coupons to make sure that what I'm purchasing matches with the item I'm buying. When I check-out, I place the coupons on top of the items. This enables me to double-check the coupons and the items to: 1. make sure I have coupons for all items that I need coupons for, 2. make sure that I have items items for the coupons, 3. make sure that the item matches the coupons, and 4. make it easier for the cashier should he/she need to check the item for prices, sizes, etc.
Every Wednesday, the first thing I read in my local paper is a syndicated article by Jill Cataldo. One subject she has touched on several times is the fact that couponers often get a bad name for themselves. This is done by customers behind them in line (for holding up the line or because they aren't saving money), cashiers (who are given one HUGE stack of coupons at the end of a transaction), and stores (for shelf clearing and presenting fraudulent coupons). You can't really do anything about the customer(s) behind you other than tell them the value of couponing. However, you can do something to make yourself more "coupon friendly" to the stores and cashiers.
Some cashiers appreciate how I check out because it helps them, others are set in their ways and want the stack of coupons either at the beginning or ending of the transaction. I kindly explain to them why I use them the way that I do. I find that some will just take the coupons as they come down the conveyor belt and put them in a stack to scan at the end while others scan the coupons immediately after the item. I like the latter because I can check it as we go along. I also make it a habit to special order items from my store that I know that I will purchase in large quantities. I did this at Publix a couple of weeks ago with the Kibbles n' Bits dog food. The store appreciated it because I didn't clear their shelves and they didn't have to spend the day writing rain checks on an item. Another thing I NEVER do is use a coupon for an item I did NOT purchase. I know that the store will NOT be reimbursed for any coupon that is for a product I did NOT purchase. Why would I bite the hand that feeds me? They are doubling my coupons, taking competitor coupons, and allowing me overage on some items. Why would I risk losing that on a long term basis just so I could get a free tube of toothpaste?!?! There's also something called coupon fraud that's involved. I enjoy my freedom too much to risk being put in jail!
With that said.....I have NOT had a chance to watch TLC's Extreme Couponing because I had a sleep study scheduled for Wednesday night. I have watched some clips from the show. I have mixed feelings about the shows. However, what I don't have mixed feelings about is committing coupon fraud on national TV! I don't have mixed feelings about posting Youtube videos showing people how to commit coupon fraud in Target! Please, please, please follow the wording on your coupons.
If you would like to read more about the possible coupon fraud on TLC's Extreme Couponing, you can check out:
Jill Cataldo's posting
Nathan Engles' posting (Mr. Coupon from 1st TLC show)