Thursday, December 20, 2012

Coupons: The Gateway Drug.

At Target today I came upon a thought. Couponing is a disease.
That thought came to me because I was forced to stand behind someone at Target with hundreds of coupons for her personal hygiene items in duplicate.
However, then I realized the thought may have originated when I was watching that train wreck of a show on TLC called Extreme Couponing.
I realize with the whole recession, economy, and fiscal cliff thing that couponing might sound like a good idea. You are putting in that extra work to save pennies, and hey, pennies add up, right?
In the world of mom, some moms like to flaunt their couponing talents to other moms. I call it, Coupon Shaming.

Other mother: “Yes, I went to Target yesterday and got 14 bottles of Lysol toilet disinfectant for 4 cents a bottle.”
Me: “Wow. How do you do something like that?”
Other mother:  “Well, every Sunday I spend 14 hours on the computer using 5 different email addresses and downloading all the coupons I can from every “MommyCoupons” website for miniscule amounts of money off all Proctor and Gamble products.  Then I make sure that the store doubles and triples each coupon. They always say they won’t, but I yell at the manager for at least 20 minutes while nice normal people with three year olds in their carts stand behind me.”
Me: “Why do you need 14 bottles of toilet cleaner?”
Other mother: “Unlike SOME people, I slash my grocery bill in half. I do this for my family.”
Me (but to myself in my head hours later): “But I don’t buy 14 bottles of toilet cleaner at one time, so didn’t I already just save money by not buying the 14 bottles of toilet cleaner at all? Actually, didn’t I just save myself 56 cents?”
From what it looks like with extreme couponing, in doing so you become an extreme version of yourself.  So maybe just do moderate couponing. Try to keep it to one to two times a week, only with dinner, or maybe just socially.
Reasons you should consider not couponing anymore, cutting back, or if you’re like me, stop feeling guilty that you never did it in the first place:

1.       There are never coupons for milk, bread, produce, meat… What are you eating? Unless your kids and husband are cool with eating shaving cream and deodorant, I just can’t see how you are slashing your food bill in half.

2.       It makes people hoarders. Does anyone watch that show on A&E and tremble in fear? Well, if you watch Extreme Couponing, it’s like the prequel to any case on Hoarders. This is how they started, when they just couldn’t stop couponing for those free paper towels. Couponing is like the equivalent of marijuana in the hoarding world, it’s the gateway drug.

3.       Do you want to be that person, the person who stands in line arguing with the manager of Target over how many free toothbrushes you qualify for? Is that who you are?

4.       People are going to think you have a significant health problem, when they come over and see hundreds of rolls of toilet paper under all your furniture, in the linen closets and in your garage.

5.       You will probably have troubles with your neighbors, when you steal all the inserts for extra coupons out of their Sunday papers.
Do what makes you happy.  However, know the signs of compulsive couponing, and be ready to quit cold turkey if you find yourself making someone wait 20 minutes at Target while you argue with a manager over 30 cents on a flipping box of tampons.
And stop it with the f’ing Coupon Shaming.
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