Thursday, April 28, 2011

Is Extreme Couponing Possible In Chicago?

Recently I watched a show called "Extreme Couponing" on cable. I sat and watched two episodes back to back, completely fascinated. There were women who bought up to twelve copies of the Sunday paper to get more coupons. Another had a paper delivery guy drop off all the extras he had at her house. She even had a room just to store all her coupons. The participants explained how they cut coupons for 30 to 40 hours a week. Some even had their children sitting around the table cutting away.

Now in the episodes I saw, there were purchases made for 62 bottles of mustard (for .39 each after coupons) and 132 bottles of Excedrin (that actually gave the consumer .51 each because the coupon was for more than the sale price. She made something like $51.00 for taking the product from the store.) There were a few things that bothered me about all this. First of all while I understand these were great deals, does anyone need 62 bottles of mustard or 132 bottles of Excedrin at one time? I know at one point one of the women (couponer?) mentioned donating some packages of noodles she'd bought, and another gave stuff to other family members, but for the rest of what I saw, everything was kept. Things brings me to my next topic...

Storage of the items. I saw paper towels and toilet paper under kids beds. Shelves with product in bedrooms. A shower used only for storage. My own kids made me promise to never store stuff under their beds. Even at seven and ten they caught on that this was extreme indeed. My ten year old also asked me why would a family need to have three years worth of food in their house. And if they had that much, why did they keep on bringing in more stuff. I said I wasn't sure, but perhaps we'd see these families again on an episode of Hoarding.

So when the show was over I started thinking about how these families used all the coupons they did. First of all they doubled coupons up to $1.00. Where I live in Chgo, no stores that I know of do this. Dominick's says some locations double, but not near me. They also will not let you net a cash credit if the coupon is for more than the item's selling price. (The Excedrin example wouldn't work here.) They also don't allow coupon stacking and don't allow a customer to redeem two or more manufacturer coupons against the same item in a single transaction. Dominick's and Meijers also say they can limit quantities from what I saw on their websites. I couldn't find any coupon "rules" for Jewel at all. So basically, after looking around online I don't think it's possible to even attempt to try to "extreme coupon" here in the city the way I saw on tv. Maybe you can at another store I didn't mention, but at the biggies it certainly doesn't seem that way to me. But that's ok because I'll just keep buying my bottles of mustard one at a time and store our tp in the bathroom closet and not under our beds.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

I don't think you could get money back. You could get a lot of items for free though. Most stores let you use one manufacturer and one store coupon per item. If you have both coupons, and wait till the item is on sale, you can get it free if you're lucky! Also, if the sale is buy one/get one, you can usually use coupons for both items, thus effectively doubling your coupons.
Mind you this isn't nearly as extreme as on tv, but free is free.