EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 18, 2013

Coupon misuse: Who does it hurt?

I’ve tackled the topic of coupon misuse in my column before, and it always seems to generate heated discussion on both the consumer side and the industry side. Here are some recent emails from my inbox:

Dear Jill,

I’ve read your column and blog off and on and have to say I’m not thrilled with your take on ‘peelie’ coupons on products. You say those are part of the packaging and people shouldn’t take them off. I disagree and think this is kind of a goody-two-shoes attitude actually. It is not against the law to take them. You have to get that some people will push the limits.

Shelie P.

An activity or behavior does not have to be against the law in order to be wrong. To me, this crosses an ethical line that I’m not comfortable with. I believe that coupons that are attached to a product’s packaging should not be removed until that product is purchased. Stores do suffer when people see product packaging with remnants of removed coupons. I’ve even featured emails from stores regarding how difficult it is for them to sell these products, as shoppers will gravitate toward damage-free packages. (Wouldn’t you?)

Here are a couple more emails sharing store perspectives:

Dear Jill,

Misuse of IRC (peelie) coupons & FSI (insert) coupons is a huge retail problem, much like shoplifting. When ‘entitled to steal’ people inhibit a store from maintaining itself, much less making a profit, the stores also have a choice: They close.

Our state lost six Shaw’s and six Stop & Shops in the same month due to performing ‘under expectations.’ I am familiar with all these stores. The ‘entitled to steal’ closed them. Now 1,200 employees are out of work.

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