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‘Extreme Couponing’ For Me, Is Just Too ‘Extreme’

“Extreme Couponing”  is the latest reality show on TLC network, and I’m afraid a new trend for a nation of consumption.  I finally caught an episode of it on TV and ironically, I found my emotional reactions to the show going to extremes. You can check out their website here. On the one hand I was truly amazed at how these people are able to bring nine full carts to a register at the store and wind up paying only twelve dollars.  That my friends is no exaggeration. On the other hand, I find the “hoarding” aspect of it extremely (pun intended)  bothersome.

Tim Boyle, Getty Images

In yesterday’s blog I talked about how I am really bothered by people with a sense of entitlement.  That somehow getting something for nothing is ok with them. Again, this is a feeling I guess I will never understand,  whether it’s the lady who faked a disability to live for free., or a corporate executive who takes a 10 million dollar bonus after running a company to the ground.  How do they sleep at night?  Granted these people who “extreme coupon” are not doing anything illegal and are certainly not making money on the backs of their employees, but in a smaller way they are of the same ilk.

They will literally “buy” things that are on sale and coupled with a double coupon they can actually get for free.  That is good shopping!  If you get that deal , good for you.  But they don’t stop at one or even five of said item.  They will scour the internet and garbage cans to get as many coupons as they can find and leave the store with 300 free toothbrushes. Again that is not an exaggeration.  Another funny aspect is at least on the show, the employees at the store actually give them a standing ovation as they walk out the door as if to say ” Woo Hoo , way to go you literally figured out how to rip the store off for a thousand dollars And in the process clean that item off the shelf so no one else can take advantage of the sale! Way to go!” ( Man, don’t ever let me go to the store to find they are out of my favorite cereal and see you walking out of the store with 200 boxes of it to keep in your basement.)

Check out this video from the show of just one guy’s “stockpile”.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite bits by the very funny comedian Jim Gaffigan who wondered what people in third world countries would think about how we eat when we go out. ” Oh no, the appetizer is the meal we eat before we actually eat our meal, your thinking of dessert. That’s the, meal we eat after we eat the meal we eat after the appetizers.”   What is wrong with these people? Do you really need that much stuff?  Please for one second, think of how one of those people who through no fault of their own just happened to be born in a third world country would feel if they saw your garage, basement and spare room overflowing with food.  Not to mention the children who are literally starving in our own country.  You think its ok if you occasionally give the local food bank a few cans of tuna and some toilet paper?  To me, its not.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Look at it another way, lets go back a few hundred years to a village about to harvest for winter.  Is it ok for the first few people to clean out the fields and hoard the food in their houses just because they got their first?  Then as they saw fit they would eat some of it, give away some of it, and hoard the rest? Well I guess its ok if they don’t actually see the other people in the village starving or going without or if somehow the other villagers enjoyed “watching” their greed and ability to get something for nothing on TV.

After all, how else are we gonna teach our kids values? I think this concept gives them a much more modern take on what i was taught, ” Take  only what you need and deserve ,  leave the rest for others who need it as well.”  Now with the celebration of people who can get something for nothing AND hoard it from everyone else our children can learn that it’s actually ” Take whatever you can whether you earned it or not, why not? If you don’t some else will.” Maybe these people who are in a never ending search for the best values, are just looking for the wrong kind.

God Bless.

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