Coupon Crazy

I have an old college friend who would almost qualify for the show Extreme Couponing.  He searches for coupons far and wide—newspapers, websites, you name it—and loves to regale people with his tales of savings.

But he has never gotten a coupon on his phone. Well, it may have something to do with the fact that his (my) generation grew up with paper coupons in the Sunday paper. Plus, he doesn’t have a smartphone and won’t get one until his old phone becomes completely useless.

But even if he had a smartphone, he still enjoys the old-fashioned, roll-up-your-sleeves search for savings. He even calls the people on Extreme Couponing who use coupon clipping services “cheaters” because they aren’t doing the actual clipping themselves. However, some of these people get their kids and friends to help collect and clip paper coupons, so I don’t completely buy his “cheating” argument.

Lately, some retailers have been cracking down on these coupon enthusiasts, changing their policies and limiting coupon redemptions.

While this may keep a few extremists from being able to add to their stockpiles of toilet paper and canned soup that will take them through the next 20 years, this strategy seems a bit extreme itself and retailers may end up alienating a lot of loyal customers.

While coupon fraud is a serious concern, there has to be a better way to address illegitimate coupon redemption than cracking down on a few. True, digital coupons are much easier to control, but for some they are just not as much of a thrill.

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