Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Couponing Tidbits

I recently attended an Extreme Couponing Class, and I learned a lot of tidbits that made me go 'huh'.  Here's a sampling:

There are two ways to pronounce coupon, and I heard both today.  I myself am in the, "It's a Q-pon," group.  Per,
"Coupon, pronounced [koo-pon], is related to "cope" and "coup," of French origin. It has developed an American pronunciation variant, [kyoo-pon] with an unhistorical y-sound not justified by the spelling. This pronunciation is used by educated speakers and is well-established as perfectly standard, although it is sometimes criticized." 

Ever bought a Sunday paper on Monday?  Well, if you didn't get coupons in it, they probably weren't stolen.  Only so many flyers are provided to each publishing site, usually their subscription number plus some, but there are more papers than that printed.  So, only the first, say, 100,000 papers will actually have the 'Sunday coupons', and the rest of the papers are pushed out without them.  Turns out I was cursing an imaginary thief all this time!

I found it fascinating to hear that obtaining coupons via anything but with your newspaper is illegal.   Having heard of crazy coupon folk buying up multiples of coupon flyers online, I never looked at the fine print on a coupon. Doing a little research at home, I found there is quite the darkside in the couponing world, from fraud to theft to more.  Per the CIC (Couponing Information Center):
"The sale or transfer of coupons is a violation of virtually all manufacturers’ coupon redemption policies. These policies are generally printed on the coupons or are available from the manufacturer upon request. Any sale or transfer voids the coupon."   
While I could not locate any text that legally defined what "transfer" included, I wonder - could handing your neighbor a coupon you know they'd use constitute fraud?  I suppose it's all about intent -accumulating one coupon is advertising at work, while accumulating ten is intent to profit, which is exactly what extreme couponers intend to do and the exact opposite of what manufacturer's intend to happen with the coupons.  Manufacturers expect only about 6% of the coupons they put out to be redeemed, so extreme couponers have them on guard.  I recommend reading Jill Cataldo's post "Couponing Ethics: Is it wrong to buy and sell coupons?" for more information.

It was nice to hear the Extreme Couponing Class presenter personally donates her accumulated free/pennies worth of products that she couldn't use up in due time. She gives them to the food shelf or shelters where they are so needed.  This quiets my concerns of extreme couponers 'hoarding' items and letting them go to waste.   

What do extreme couponers do with all those newspapers the coupons come in?  It seems wasteful, having multiple copies of the same newspaper in one house, but that is the only method available to prevent coupon fraud.  The Extreme Couponing Class presenter stated some excellent ideas on how to donate the papers where they can be used.  School projects sometimes require multiple copies of the Sunday paper but need them on Monday, so copies could go there.  Animal shelters often line cages with newspapers (and you can imagine do so often) and take donations of papers.  I was glad to hear some of the papers find second lives.  And, who knows?  Just like I plan to switch all my magazines to online-subscriptions this year to make up for my paper-crafting demand, maybe extreme couponers will consider making similar changes to off-set the paper consumption of receiving physical newspapers.

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