Our Opinion: The dark side of extreme couponing

As we pointed out in a May 15 story, couponing is on the rise thanks to a weak economy and the new television show “Extreme Couponing.”

Many people simply use coupons to save their family a few bucks during tight times. But the lure of free or drastically reduced products can bring out the worst in others.

Since the story ran, we’ve heard of numerous local incidents that give couponers a bad name:

• A report of someone paying for one paper in a newspaper machine, then grabbing multiple copies for the coupons.

• Couponers showing up at Walgreens Saturday night just before midnight — when the new week’s sales start — to clear the shelves of things they can get nearly for free. Since you can only buy one such item “per visit,” they walk out of the store, then walk back in to ring up another free item.

• A local woman putting her children in News Tribune Dumpsters to dig out coupons.

• Madison’s Cafe employees groaning at the prospect of more coupons in the paper, because some of the coupon users tip based on their aftercoupon cost, if at all.

• A woman giving a Schulte’s employee the third-degree because her Sunday paper didn’t contain the coupons she expected.

Coupons can be a win-win proposition, for both for businesses and consumers. But let’s be sensible — you don’t need to break the law, put anyone in danger or buy enough toilet paper to last through the next end-ofthe-world prediction.

It makes sense to seek out savings, let’s not be blinded by greed and forget about etiquette and common sense.

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