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Lifestyle

February 1, 2013

A Walk on Couponing's Wild Side

Judging by my inbox, there are far more coupon complaints than coupon cheer from shoppers these days. I always aim to promote couponing best practices in my column, my blog and my couponing classes. It’s clear, though, that the ill-advised actions of a few shoppers have an outsized impact on the rest of us. Listen in as a few readers share their stories from the front lines of couponing.

Dear Jill,

I can barely stand to read the letters from rabid — excuse me, avid — couponers. In one of your recent columns, a shopper was unhappy because she wasn’t able to cheat the store on sales tax and wants to have a law about it.

Another, Laura, griped that being charged less than the advertised price for cookie mixes was absurd. That’s a new low. Customers usually complain about being overcharged, not undercharged.

I use coupons in what I hope is an ethical way. I don’t stockpile products for use in years to come. How many containers of deodorant can one family use, anyway? During the holidays I do use the free turkey with minimum purchase coupon from my local market to purchase a turkey for our food pantry. At times, I also purchase a few other items to donate using coupons. Recently, my store had a closeout on a major brand of taco shells and the boxes had a huge cents-off coupon attached. It ended up about 20 cents per box. I bought ten boxes for a pantry donation, but did not clear the shelf. I don’t consider this an abuse of the system.

I can tell from your columns that you don’t condone misuse and work with manufacturers and stores when making your recommendations. However, I think some people only hear what they want to hear and the word free takes over their brains.

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