EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

April 5, 2013

Are you suffering from coupon entitlement?

Do you feel entitled to receive coupon discounts? I’ve always considered coupons a privilege; a bonus that allows us to save money on products we already plan to buy or an incentive to try a new product at a lower price.

An increasing number of emails I receive indicate that some shoppers feel coupons are their right, and they are upset when they don’t get the discounts they want. Here are some recent emails:

Dear Jill,

I’m getting really fed up with the coupons lately. I used to count on $1 coupons for items like juices and now I am lucky to get a coupon for 75 cents off three bottles. I wrote one company to complain, and they said they had changed some of their offers recently. Well, guess what? I can change what I buy, too. Now if I see a coupon for multiple products, I won’t buy their brand! I buy a different brand or a cheaper store brand. Hopefully the company gets the hint!

Ellen W.

Dear Jill,

Your readers’ letters are a perfect metaphor with what’s wrong with our society today. Coupons are seen by many as entitlements that are owed to them by manufacturers and stores, rather than occasions of saving a few cents as an inducement to buy a particular product. Regrettably, that sort of thinking is not limited to coupons but to most everything else in our society as well.

Heinz R.

There definitely has been a shift in shopper attitudes over the past year. Inmar, one of the largest coupon-marketing companies in the nation, recently released its annual report on 2012 coupon trends. The report notes that coupon shoppers’ sentiments have changed “from effort to entitlement.” Instead of viewing coupons as a bonus, many shoppers now feel that they deserve discounts. Inmar states that shoppers used to identify with a strategy of putting in effort to get deals on brands that they buy, but notes that an incredible 65 percent of shoppers now “don’t think they should have to work for deals.” Of the shoppers they surveyed, 37 percent went further, stating that they wished all coupons were digital so they wouldn’t have to do much work (if any) to use the offers.

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