Is It Fair For Extreme Couponers To Take All The Mouthwash Just Because They Can?

We’ve all the seen the devastation an extreme couponer can wreak on a display of deodeoants, if not firsthand, then on the TLC show aptly named Extreme Couponing. Sure, it’s awesome for the couponer, but what about the average customer who just wants to buy one shampoo, not 23, and there are none to be found? Stores have been adjusting their policies in certain regions as a result.

The Detroit News (via Time.com) profiles one such extreme couponer, who, in the course of getting 11 cents back for each of 34 cartons of milk after combining coupons, had her goods rung up one at a time as separate transactions, resulting in 34 receipts. For her, that’s a moneymaker. For the sales associate, it’s just plain annoying.

Stores are taking note: at places like Kroger and Wal-Mart, the number of coupons that can be used in one transaction is being limited, and other policies shorten expiration dates. Meijer agrees that empty shelves make shoppers angry, but a spokesman says they’re waiting to see what rules national grocers successfully implement before they do the same.

Kroger went the extra mile to kill double and triple coupons in North Texas stores, and in one case, refused to accept a pile of coupons at a store in Atlanta.

The stores say the point isn’t to do away with coupons altogether so that retailers make the most profit, just to allow customers to enjoy savings without going overboard and ensuring everyone else can have a good shopping experience.

Walmart didn’t comment on the specific changes they’ll be making, but Kroger says they want to enforce the rules to keep shelves from going bare.

“We encourage couponing as a way for our customers to stretch their food dollars,” said Kroger spokesman Dale Hollandsworth. “We want all customers to be able to get the products they want when they are shopping in our stores.”

For anyone grumbling over new policies, take note — only three-tenths of one percent of the 80 percent of consumers who use coupons regularly are considered “extreme.”

Extreme couponers push some retailers to tweak the rules [Detroit News]