Extreme Couponing on TLC Airs Tonight: Will You Watch? Will I?

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!

 

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Heather

Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google +

33 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing on TLC Airs Tonight: Will You Watch? Will I?”

  1. The fact that they are now staging scenes for the show gives insight into what you explored here. This show is for entertainment value, it is a reality show just like any other and sells itself by featuring the fringe of the genre.

  2. I wont be watching because the show makes it hard for me to even use one or two coupons at my local stores. Every always asks are you an extreme couponer and I always tell them no because most of what they do is illegal.

  3. i do admit it ‘inspired’ me to relearn something my aunt tried to teach me when i was a kid but didn’t want to learn. now the game is changing though and seeing the ladies stockpiles on the shows did make me want to start stocking up on some things. i am happy the show got me not only into couponing but into freebie seeking online and has helped me donate a lot to my local food bank for things i would never eat but they were free so why not let the store pay me to take them out of the store and then drop it in the bin without even having to walk out the store. it is a really nice feeling! but it isn’t an every day feeling

  4. I thought the staging was obvious from the first show. I have been an extreme couponer for 25 years and saw the obvious for what it was. One of the featured shoppers was also found out to be committing coupon fraud, and wasn’t it interesting that the one couple did not seem to realize that the registers maxed out at so many coupons. Now, if they shopped like that all the time, they would have realized that. I also noted that all of a sudden the stores these people shopped in had no coupon policies, people weren’t stocking up on such items as produce, meat, milk, etc., items of which there are rarely coupons. I also noted items in the shopper’s stockrooms that are absolutely impossible to get for free let alone next to nothing even with sales and double coupons. I could go on and on about the obvious, because there was just so much unreality to this show. It’s all staged for entertainment purposes and ratings.

    1. Yes, it is obvious, but not everyone sees it. I know this because I end up with emails in my inbox after every single episode asking me to help plan shopping trips for $0 out of pocket. 🙁

  5. Agreed! Obviously they can’t just walk into a store with a whole crew of cameras, etc., without some kind of prior notice. I watched a few times, too, and decided the show’s not for me. The way everyone applauds at the end of the ring-up kinda clued me in to the fact that they were making exceptions for the show. Sure, there are a few good tips…but I can get them from folks like you!

  6. I’ve been hesitant because the amount of stock piling is unnecessary. There’s no way they can use all the deodorant before it gets hard. The one guy…I think Nathan…donates so much to homeless people but most of them are stock piling for their stash sake. It’s going to backfire on all of us who use coupons to help our budget.

  7. Great post! I agree totally, and I often tell people exactly what you’ve posted. I don’t kill myself to walk out of the store with a “$0” total, and tell people it’s possible to spend a reasonable amount of time (not making couponing your LIFE, like these people) and save 30-50% or even more ethically.

    I also have often told people they will very likely NOT find any stores willing to let them “clear the shelves” or use an unlimited number of coupons or do multiple transactions.

    I am so sick of how this show sets crazy expectations–oh well, I will not be watching–but I am angry that all of us who use coupons are now suspect.

  8. Watching this clip made me so angry! Really? When are you going to use THAT much laundry detergent?!?!?! I don’t think negatively of her because she clears the shelf before I can get there to clear it myself (as she put it), I think negatively of her because she’s rude, obnoxious, and frankly, someone needs to steal her coupons and burn them in front of her 🙂 When I first started couponing, I was addicted too. I bought unnecessary items (never cleared a shelf) but now I’ve come to reason with my couponing and only use the coupons for items I actually need! My turning point was when I found out we could donate expired coupons to military bases overseas. I’ve been sending my coupons for 3 months now! I love it! Then a coupon never goes to waste! Being a military member myself, I know its tough to live on a budget, so I don’t mind helping others in the same situation! I boycott TLC’s Extreme Couponing!!!!

  9. I won’t be watching since I think the show is silly/fake/staged. I’ve used coupons for years and I hate the stores are changing their policy due to this show. Not to mention the fact that no one needs 100 bags of crutons. I would love a show that shows strategic couponing to save money on things you need in normal volumes. Like last week when I got 2 months worth of razors for my husband and myself for free. I didn’t buy 5 years worth, just the amount that needed until the next coupon and sale.

  10. I won’t be watching either!!! I’ve been couponing for years, although I feel like I’ve really gotten good at it in the last year or so. I abhor seeing this show support people who abuse retail rules and stockpile items they will not ever use!!!! The show that had the sisters who bought diapers without even having children made me sick to my stomach!!!

    I only stockpile and buy things that my family will use….the only exception to that is the stuff I donate to food pantries.

  11. I won’t be watching either!!! I’ve been couponing for years, although I feel like I’ve really gotten good at it in the last year or so. I abhor seeing this show support people who abuse retail rules and stockpile items they will not ever use!!!! The show that had the sisters who bought diapers without even having children made me sick to my stomach!!!

    I only stockpile and buy things that my family will use….the only exception to that is the stuff I donate to food pantries.

  12. I actually did watch a couple of episodes last night. What I found was that the folks highlighted were purchasing the MOST ridiculous items…just because they had coupons! Who in this world needs 93 bags of croutons????

  13. We won’t watch show, just promotes BAD behavior. Clue to “fake” was in only show we saw when woman used 2500 coupons that supposedly took hours for clerk to process as store managers watched all in smiles….reality would have been horror on their faces!

  14. I can’t stand that show! Unfortunately, I have to say it did make me interested in couponing but once I began learning (thanks to your website) how to coupon I was appalled at the unethical and insane ways that show portrays couponing. And the clip you have makes me want to punch that woman! Its people like her who make it difficult for me to buy things I NEED for my family because the item has been cleaned out. I have had to adjusted my shopping schedule to going early in the mornings on Sunday and Wednesday so that I can get the items I need before the shelves are cleared out. I wish TLC would go back to the good programming they used to do and get away from all this cr@p they are airing now.

  15. I can’t stand that show! Unfortunately, I have to say it did make me interested in couponing but once I began learning (thanks to your website) how to coupon I was appalled at the unethical and insane ways that show portrays couponing. And the clip you have makes me want to punch that woman! Its people like her who make it difficult for me to buy things I NEED for my family because the item has been cleaned out. I have had to adjusted my shopping schedule to going early in the mornings on Sunday and Wednesday so that I can get the items I need before the shelves are cleared out. I wish TLC would go back to the good programming they used to do and get away from all this cr@p they are airing now.

  16. I can see how it was a bit of a ratings grab by trying to sensationalize it all – but isn’t that what all so-called “reality” TV has become now? I’m not at all surprised to hear that the scene you mentioned above was staged. I am a little surprised however that Lowes publicly admitted it. I commend them for taking that stand and I’m sure a lot of couponers will commend them as well.

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