Tonight begins yet another season of the show that has changed the game of couponing for good (or evil, depending on your perspective). Extreme Couponing on TLC has shown the world the dramatic savings made possible by using a bit of know-how and strategy.
However, it has also been responsible for MAJOR policy changes and an overall YUCK attitude towards even the most well meaning couponers. It’s unfortunate really. You would think with a name like, “The Learning Channel” the focus would be on teaching the basics of ethical couponing, but instead the show is set out to exploit the practice of couponing by staging impossible shopping trips and encouraging ugly and selfish behaviors.
Take this clip for example:
At first glance, you will (hopefully) be appalled. How could that lady be so rude! Does she really need that many energy bars?
However, Lowes Foods had this to say about the clip:
“The guy who walked up to the shelf was one of the crew members,” Selip said. “It was all staged.”
From this article here: When Coupon Clipping Goes Wild
First, I’m going to gloat for a second 😉 . It was pretty obviously staged, and I called it immediately after viewing the clip. The man is very attractive and yet he’s not quite mad enough about the situation? She’s also a bit too ugly to him, and her voice has a nervous tone in it like she doesn’t totally stand by what she’s saying. The confirmation from Lowes Foods that it was in fact staged just proves the whole point. The show is meant for sensationalism and there is nothing educational about it.
In the article referenced above, the rep for Lowes Foods admits to laxing their coupon policy for the show (and also admits that they already, before the show in their store has even aired, regret participating in the show).
I interviewed Mr Coupon (Nathan Engels) after his first appearance on the show and he had this to say:
Heather: Do you ever do “normal” grocery shopping trips with just a few coupons? Or is every trip as large as the trips seen on Extreme Couponing?
Mr Coupon: I rarely do this type of shopping!! The majority of my coupon trips are rather normal!! I use my coupons and stock up and freebies!!
I can’t say it enough, Extreme Couponing on TLC is NOT real. It’s like a soap opera for couponers. It’s not reality tv.
Now, if the show inspires others to learn how to coupon the RIGHT way….that’s incredible. However, I think many who see the show assume those kinds of savings are possible right out of the gate, and that’s just not so!
In fact, because of this show, many of the shops that are shown on Extreme Couponing are not even possible AT ALL. EVER.
Policies are laxed for the show and coupons are used fraudulently in some cases.
All this to say, I will not be watching tonight. I watched the pilot episode and maybe 2 episodes afterwards last season and I simply couldn’t watch any longer. I have friends who were on some of those early episodes and they are good people. The editing is vicious though and TLC is just trying to get people riled up. I can’t support that.
What I do support is ethical couponing. Strategic shopping.
If you truly want to learn how to use coupons the RIGHT way, check out my entire series on Strategic Shopping and be sure to sign up to receive my free ebook which walks you through a week of coupon use, taking advantage of the great deals at your local grocery stores & drugstores.
There’s no need to be extreme about anything. Great deals can be had when you use coupons the RIGHT WAY!