When TLC’s show "Extreme Couponing" hit the airwaves, the response was drastic. Some fans loved the show and started to learn more about how they could use coupons to significantly reduce their grocery bills. On the other side of the coin are those consumers who were concerned about the hoarding-like behavior exhibited by some extreme couponers. Now retailers are sounding off, and many companies are changing their coupon policies.
Kelli B. Grant covers some of the store coupon policy changes in her SmartMoney.com blog post, Extreme Couponing: Now Extremely Prohibited.
“Rite Aid, Target and Publix have all revised coupon policies in recent weeks (see details below) to limit the number of store and manufacturers’ coupons they accept per item or per shopping trip. Procter & Gamble now limits consumers to four of the same coupon per shopping trip.”
In some cases, the new polices will prevent coupon stacking — using multiple types of coupons on a single item. In other cases, the policy will limit purchase quantities. Having seen one episode of "Extreme Couponing" myself, I think the item limit is probably a good thing. I can’t imagine being a shopper in a grocery store after an extreme couponer just cleared the shelves.
While these policies might have an effect on the extreme couponer, everyday coupon users probably won’t face any problems. According to Grant’s article, The Grocery Game founder Teri Gault shares this sentiment. "Being tighter about coupon redemption is fine for the average shopper buying two or three of something,” she says. “You can still save a ton of money using coupons.”
The policy changes probably won’t have a negative effect on your average consumer and the effect will be less noticeable to those of us that prefer organic, natural or non-processed foods. The vast majority of coupons available today are for processed food items. Sure, I’ll find a coupon for Horizon organic milk or Stonyfield Farm yogurt from time to time, but most of the coupons in my Sunday paper are for products I wouldn’t purchase anyhow.
How about you? Are you a coupon user? Will the store changes affect your shopping trips?
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