To clear or not to clear– that has been the question of the day for the past few months.
The media has made many of us skeptical of couponing by promoting shelf clearing, but any die hard veteran couponer knows it is not necessary. The deals come and go and they just about always repeat themselves.It seems the new batch of coupon rookies are much braver than couponers of the past. In the past a newbie would be skeptical about getting 2-3 free items. They would question whether this was “ok” or if the coupon police were going to get them. A newbie would need to play the coupon game for months to a year before feeling brave enough to get 10 of the same item that worked out free. But times have changed and these coupon young’uns are crazy! They weren’t like this back in my day!
This new breed of couponers has no fear. They have grown up in a coupon land that TV and media encourages shelf clearing and makes them believe it’s ok to be greedy. But is it greed? Most veteran couponers that I know are far from greedy. Most veteran coupon websites owners are generous and pay it forward to people in need. So where did this new breed come from that feels they need to run out day one of a sale and take it all and leave nothing behind for the next couponer holding one lonely coupon? Sad isn’t it? Who is responsible for this new breed? Some blame me for writing my book and teaching everyone how to shop for free. But I can’t possibly be responsible for all these wild newbies, can I? I teach etiquette and paying it forward. Did my message of paying it forward go to far? Are people hoarding things thinking that on coupon judgment day they will pay it forward really quick and be redeemed? Or is it something else?
I think a lot of it has to do with the recession. People are afraid. They see friends and family loosing their jobs and even their homes and they are scared they will be a statistic as well so they are being proactive. Newbies are getting everything they can and hoarding it away just in case. Notice I used the word hoard. Do you really want to be a hoarder?
Do you really believe coupons will be a thing of the past? Coupons aren’t going anywhere. The policies change some for the better some for the worse but there are and always will be deals to be had. Ask any coupon veteran, we are not afraid. Plus if you loose your home where will you store your stash?? Just saying! So how much is too much? Where do you draw the line? And who is the judge and jury in this? Who decides what is right and what is wrong? The answer lies within you.
Ask yourself the following questions. A good couponer will answer yes to the following questions.
1. Are you getting what your family needs, and by NEED I mean for 1 year or less not for infinity.
2. Are you letting store personnel know you are planning on taking a lot of an item prior to taking it? Stores respect couponers that give them a heads up; it allows them time to preorder merchandise that you are going to take in excess.
3. Are you sharing? Are you getting a lot of an item to share with others at a pantry etc. If so, go back to question 2 above. Even if you are getting for others it does not excuse you from not respecting the store.
4. Can you count how many of the same items you are loading in your cart and usually stop at 10?
If you didn’t answer “yes” to all of the questions above, maybe this next set sounds more like you…
1 .Are you taking just to take?
2. Do you enjoy the thrill of clearing the shelf because it gives you a sense of power,yet you have no idea what you are going to do with all the stuff?
3. Do you find a lot of your stash expiring before you can use it because you took too much?
4.Do you care less if the store is informed and runs out ?
5. Do you lose count of the identical items you have piled into your carriage?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these 5 questions then you may actually be a DCH. If so, you may need some coupon intervention.
If you discover that you may be a bit of a naughty couponer and want to cross over to the good side of couponing here’s what you do:
Go look take a good long hard look at your stockpiles. What do you see. Are you chuckling thinking “what did I do”? Do you now realize you don’t need 600 packages of Band-Aids? Do you lose count when you try and count all your shampoo bottles?
If you want to consider yourself to be a real coupon pro then you need to play the game. Stockpiling for life isn’t a sign of a confident couponer– it’s the sign of an amateur who is afraid. They are afraid that they have to get an entire life’s stock of an item as soon as someone else tells them how to get the deal. A pro knows they can get the deal on their own at another time and they aren’t afraid that toothpaste will skyrocket to $10.00 a bottle and they will never get it for free again.
I challenge you if you are a newbie couponer that has gone a bit too wild. Go see where you have gone a bit too extreme and then load up a box or a U-Haul and then go donate it. Help a senior , a pantry or the family next door that is struggling. That is the best feeling you will ever encounter. Paying it Forward outweighs any coupon high you have ever experienced.
Let’s work together to give couponers the good name they deserve– kind, generous, smart and frugal people who want to help others one coupon at a time.