If you’re unfamiliar with the TLC program, Extreme Couponing, let me paint a picture for you.
You’re doing some shopping at your local grocery store and you see someone with a cart full of toothbrushes, tomato sauce and cookies. Intrigued, you ask them if there is a special sale going on and that’s why they are stocking up.
You are shocked to find out that not only are those items on sale, but when matched with this shopper’s coupons, the sale price makes all of those items absolutely FREE! Flabbergasted, you ask them how they figured that out and thus begins the explanation of couponing.
Using coupons is a fantastic way to save money, but shows like Extreme Couponing make it seem like anyone can walk into a grocery store and pay $10 for $1,000 worth of merchandise (and then come back and do it again the next week).
If you watch Extreme Couponing, please know that what you see on the show is NOT possible here in Canada. Heck, it’s not even possible in the US most of the time. I have watched the show before and personally find it to be misleading to new couponers. Not only that, but it makes us black-belt couponers look like freaks, and that’s not nice either.
What you see on the show is scripted.
I’m sure you knew this already, but if not, please know that this is reality television that is in fact scripted. Nathan from WeUseCoupons.com even mentioned on his website that when he did the show for the first time, he was told to dump an entire basket full of toothbrushes into his cart (instead of counting out how many he had planned to purchase) – purely for the viewer’s entertainment.
Many stores adjust their policies for the show.
This is the part of Extreme Couponing that bothers me the most – the misleading nature of it. There are many stores that allow the show to film there to get publicity, and in turn, they offer to adjust their coupon and store policies to allow the Extreme Couponing customer to make his or her deals seem more impressive.
In many of the episodes I have seen, these extreme customers are doing multiple transactions to get the best savings possible. Not just 2 or 3, but 10 or 20 transactions. Do you really think that if you walked into a store that was offering a “$5 off your purchase of $20 or more” promotion and asked if you could do 20 transactions that they would allow it? Of course not.
There are a few people on the show committing fraud to get those deals.
There have been numerous Extreme Couponing customers that are actually committing fraud to score their freebies. Check out this post about the Coupon De-coding that took place on one episode – sickening! Screwing over companies that are offering you discount coupons to help with your grocery bill is a terrible thing to do, yet there are many folks out there doing just that – and it needs to stop. It’s not okay!
If you want to watch Extreme Couponing for entertainment purposes, then by all means, go for it. I won’t deny that is a very entertaining show – but please, don’t use it as a couponing how-to. Check out the Save a Loonie how to coupon article to read about the proper way to use coupons in Canada.