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Lifestyle

July 12, 2013

Coupons, pricing: Are they connected?

Here’s an email that presents a perplexing question: Do coupons raise prices for everyone else?

Dear Jill,

I hardly use a coupon. I feel cheap when I do. When I read about others saving large amounts of money regularly by using both coupons and your strategies, like stalking and timing, I am actually not too happy. Stores and manufactures have to make a certain amount of profit to stay in business. When you and your followers score huge deals, you are driving these businesses toward bankruptcy and the only way they can make up for it is to charge the rest of us more.

In other words, isn’t what you are doing making products more expensive for the rest of us? If so, you might be doing a service to those who follow you and hurt those who don’t use your techniques. All in all it, seems like it is a zero-sum game. The stores have to make a profit some way. If not on you and other couponers, then by charging the rest of us more to make up for your extreme couponing. Ouch.

Brian S.

First, understand that the money a company spends on a coupon campaign is a marketing expense. The money that it costs to run a coupon campaign, whether that’s in the newspaper inserts, in stores or online, is allotted to marketing, just as a television commercial or radio advertisement. If you wish to argue that there should be no coupons, you might as well make a case against marketing in general. And, you’re not likely to win that battle, as both manufacturers and retailers need to advertise. With a vast array of competitors out there, companies advertise to keep their brands, names and products in front of consumers, attempting to convince them to choose one store over another, or to buy one brand of laundry detergent instead of another.

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