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Nov 17

Coupon Police or should couponers just shut up?

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Coupon Police or should couponers just shut up?

I belong to several coupon groups and forums, and lately have seen several instances where new couponers are using coupons improperly.

I try to politely point out that for whatever reason, the use of that coupon was not correct when I see it, and surprisingly have suffered quite a bit of backlash for it. Sometimes, it is just a mistake, it happens, and I get it, and I certainly have made them too. What I don’t understand is the anger other people feel when you point it out.

Is that because you can look the other way, until someone calls it to attention? You can do it too, because after all, it was posted on a blog or group?

Take today, for instance. Someone posted a deal, which allowed her to get cash back. The deal was wrong. I pointed it out, respectfully, and sat back as others said they aren’t the coupon police, and offered up good jobs, and pats on the back all around.

This hurts all of us. You already know what certain stores, certain managers, and certain people think of couponers. When you look the other way, and get annoyed when someone tries to correct it, stop wondering why we are perceived in this way. Looking the other way only hurts us all in the long run. Policies get stricter, limits lessen, and we are looked at negatively overall.

I would rather do my part to teach someone to coupon ethically. Am I the coupon police? No. I just want to coupon with integrity. 

What are your thoughts? Is it rude for a couponer to correct someone, or should we just shut up?




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  1. Paul

    It is not of question of should you correct, but how you correct. I think that if a blogger post an incorrect use of a coupon, then those who subscribe to that blog could be utterly disappointed when getting to the register on a shopping trip that they have painstakingly planned. Especially if that was the prize of the trip. My wife and I have learned the hard way to check our coupons to ensure that we are not disappointed this way. However, I do not believe that anyone purposely posts bogus information on coupons just to gain a following.because they know all “the best deals”. So if it were me I would contact that person directly and word it so as not to put them on the defensive or to give their followers a rally cry. Because that doesn’t help at all. I am assuming that you like me want people not to be heartbroken when the deal they thought they would get does not come through. So contacting the blogger and saying something to the effect of, ” Which insert, date and area is that coupon out of? Because my coupons say this…” Also even though the manufacturer’s are getting stricter on their coupons and how they are worded, there are still those that are vague and up to interpretation. Such as, ” One coupon per purchase”. Some stores interpret purchase as everything in your basket. Others say that means per item.
    I know that I have droned on a bit but lastly. I would never correct someone in line. It also puts them on the defensive because it makes them look like they are trying to get over on the store. A gentle aside letting them know they they did not use that coupon correctly should be enough for most couponers. If you don’t believe so and you believe it’s your moral and civic duty to do so, tell the cashier their error after the person leaves. It could just be a simple mistake and not a criminal act. Why embarrass someone without cause?

  2. DanaPots


    I agree with you regarding telling a blogger in private. That is just being respectful. I am more referring to (and what happened today was) a non-blogger, new couponer posting a deal for others to see where she was given cash back on a coupon that was not used correctly. Others than were rushing to know which coupon, intending to do the deal themselves. In that instance, I think if should be made publicly known for everyone to see that this is not proper coupon use.

    I am very well aware of vague interpretation (most recently being the Publix fruit coupon) but I am specifically talking about blatant “well, they allowed it, so it’s ok”

    Not to embarrass, but to educate. Because if we coupon pushing the envelope, and we do not get the liberal coupon policies many of us enjoy, than our silence hurts us all, don’t you think?

    Thank you so much for stopping by, I always enjoy hearing another point of view 🙂
    DanaPots recently posted…Levenger Marley Crossbody Organizer ReviewMy Profile

  3. Susan

    The anger is from telling people they’re w-r-o-n-g. Nobody likes that. Doesn’t excuse using coupons incorrectly; just sayin.

    But doesn’t the retailer bear the responsibility of coupon use/misuse? When did it become a couponer’s responsibility to be the coupon police? Somehow the retailer is just absolved? What’s up with that?


    1. DanaPots


      You are so right! No one likes to be corrected. While the retailer does bear the responsibility, I believe we as ethical couponers do as well. Many times, we coupon in a gray area, or put so much pressure on the retailer to be “coupon friendly” I think they accommodate us to be seen as coupon friendly, even if the coupon is not correct. Which is a lose-lose for everyone, in my opinion. They lose money, and we lose the coupon policies we so enjoy. So, it has to start with us.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and your comments. 🙂
      DanaPots recently posted…How to buy your personal care items for pennies on the dollarMy Profile

      1. Paul

        While I agree with the concept and the ethics of what you are saying, I would like to correct the wording a bit if you will allow. It is not a lose-lose of money for anyone. It may be a lose of some of the profit. Neither the stores or the manufacturers ever take a loss off of any coupon (whether used correctly or incorrectly). The manufacturers mark up the price over 100% of what it costs to make any product and the retailers do the same from what they pay the manufacturer. So by the time we purchase the product it is marked up well over 200% of what it cost to manufacture and get it to us. So who does “Joe the Slick Couponer” hurt when he get 50 Mach 3 Razors at $10.00 rather than the 4 that the coupon limits? Not Gillette. they made their profit int the first $3.00 of cost. Not the Walton family. They made theirs after $5.00. Who it hurts is the poor unfortunate clerk who may have had the longest day in the world and just scans rather than reads. Because they have to justify that register. When her tape shows that many of the same coupon the managers are gonna check. When they read they may give the clerk a warning. They may charge them for the other 46 coupons (460.00 out of a minimum wage paycheck carries over to the next). They may even let the employee go. The second person that is hurt by this behavior is the ethical couponer. Because now we cannot even make the slightest error without being looked at like scam artist or criminals. To keep their job and their paycheck intact, these clerks are forced to scrutinize every coupon. If something is vague in terminology, then a supervisor is called to interpret. If their interpretation is different it doesn’t seem that. It seems that we are trying to get over on the store in most cases. This attitude has been propagated by those who are trying to get over on the stores. So it seems like simple mistakes or differing interpretations are just a misuse and a scam of the whole couponing practice. Lastly along these same lines, the final person it hurts is the casual shopper that is forced to endure extremely long waits behind couponers that are having their coupons examined like they were cooperate merger contracts with a million subsections. These folks were once in awe of the savings (not knowing how much preparation went into the trip). Now they are just annoyed that a less than 100 item transaction is taking an hour. This is all brought on by the get over couponer. So no, I do not feel sorry for the manufacturer or the retailer. It really doesn’t put them in the hole. You are right though everyone else loses. When you are feeding a family of 6 I cant afford to lose much more because of the actions of those that just don’t care.

        1. DanaPots

          You bring along very valuable and valid points Paul. I never factored the markup into the equation. You are right about the cashier, thank you for bringing very good points into the discussion.
          DanaPots recently posted…Happy New Year! My Profile

  4. Peter

    Hi Dana:

    I agree with you to point out the mistake to the original poster. It looks like you got flamed because you pointed out the mistake publicly on the discussion forum. Maybe it would be better next time to send a private message or email to the original poster.

    Yes, it does hurt everyone when coupons get misused (I would say abused) by others. A lot of stores in my area don’t even take coupons printed at home. They want original coupons from the manufacturer.
    Peter recently posted…Free Entree at IKEA Restaurant ($5.99 Value) When You sign Up for CatalogMy Profile

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