I receive a lot of testy email from readers reporting on coupon usage and habits of fellow shoppers. One topic that stays hot involves people perceived to take more than “their share” of coupons.
Q: I work in a grocery store. When we feature displays with coupon pads, if we do not remove the tear pad of coupons, some customers will take all of them. This means that no one else can use the coupons. It would not be such a big deal if those who took all the coupons used them, but they don't! What's worse, when we run an ad with a low price based on the use of an in-store coupon, those coupons are usually all gone. Please keep passing the word on sharing. We have had to pull all the pads off and hope that the customers will ask at the register for the coupon.
Q: I am sickened by comments from couponers on Facebook and some blogs justifying coupon fraud and unethical couponing practices. What do you think about people taking peelies (coupons attached to packages) off products that they don't plan to purchase, or taking more blinkies (coupons from blinking dispensers) than they can use. I recently came across a couponer who uses Facebook to sell coupons that cannot be found in the newspaper. She has hundreds of blinkies, tear pads and peelies, leading me to believe she takes all she can find to sell. I feel that when I see a peelie on a product, it is meant to go with that product, and when I see blinkies or tear pads, I should take only those coupons that I will actually use.
A: My stance on in-store coupons has always been to take what you will use. If I see a coupon for coffee creamer in the store, I will likely take four or five. Since the expiration dates on refrigerated creamer are well into the future, I will typically buy four or five at a time. There's no reason for me to take more than that from a store display.
I agree that coupons attached to the face of a product are intended for the person purchasing the product. Companies use peelie coupons to speed or encourage sales on a product. And if the coupons aren't removed with care, the packaging may be damaged when the adhesive is pulled off. Many shoppers will avoid buying a torn or damaged box, leaving the store to deal with the problem. I definitely don't agree with the idea of a website selling tear pad coupons, blinkies or peelies, but I also don't agree with the idea of selling or buying coupons in general. It's a shame that some stores have resorted to keeping coupons back instead of displaying them.
Jill Cataldo, has a website at www.jillcataldo.com.