EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

January 4, 2013

Are all shoppers entitled to the same coupons?

(Continued)

Couponing is a means of delivering discounts directly to consumers, so that the savings are not absorbed into retail profits. For any reader to even suggest that there is a conspiracy to somehow ignore certain populations is ridiculous, not to mention malicious. Thank you for your clear insight into this issue, Jill, and for not yielding to the absurd.

Penny K.

Dear Penny,

You’re welcome. Believe me, I enjoy using coupons immensely, and I appreciate the continued savings they offer. But I never take them for granted, either. I understand that companies are free to offer or discontinue promotions at any time. Any attentive coupon shopper can likely rattle off the brands that offer coupons in the newspaper nearly every week and also name the brands and products that offer coupons less frequently.

I’ll close with a note from a reader who understands this issue well.

Dear Jill,

You make a good point that a manufacturer’s main goal in offering coupons is not to save shoppers money but to sell products, gain market share, introduce new brands, etc. That’s a good reminder. It’s not a store’s goal to give-give-give, either. But stores obviously have more at stake on the local level: consumer loyalty. And the few stores I regularly shop do a good job of balancing interests, in my opinion.

My goal has always been one thing: Never pay retail. A secondary goal is to save 50 percent or close to it on a regular basis. This morning I spent $45.81 at Publix and saved $47.36, and spent $12.64 at Walgreens and saved $10.51. I consider couponing a hobby, a part-time job and a way to be charitable. I can afford to donate food and drugstore purchases on stuff I can get for next to nothing.

So I save money, buy quality items, try new things, do good and have the satisfaction of knowing I’ve gotten great deals, all on the up-and-up. It’s worth it.

Shelli B.

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