Sun. Aug 7th, 2022

The TLC network first previewed its show “Extreme Couponing” in December 2010. TLC cameras “follow savvy shoppers as they plan and plot their way to unbelievable savings.”

Unbelievable is right. One can watch normal people buy hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for $20 or less. This seems like an impossible feat, but somehow these people accomplish it.

Once the show started, I could not help but remain glued to my television as I watched these people clip, save, and repeat the cycle.

The second season premiered this past Wednesday, Sept. 28. The show featured the story of a woman named Missy Eby, mother to a family of ten. In her home alone she had a stockpile that contained over 300 bottles of soda, 1,200 packages of batteries, and multiple bins of cat food. She estimated that she spends about 35 hours a week on couponing, and that it takes days in advance to prepare for one shopping trip. This woman remarkably made a $1,000 order turn into a $4 order with her coupons.

This leads me to wonder – are these extreme couponers extremely smart, or extremely obsessive? Just like Missy Eby, most of these extreme people have huge stockpiles in their homes that spill over into other rooms of the house.

One family kept dozens of bottles of barbeque sauce in their closet and 60 boxes of cereal under their son’s bed. Some have enough deodorant to last 50 years; but, why?

It leads me to wonder if these massive stockpiles are necessary or if they are just merely a more organized form of hoarding. Times are tough, and coupons are a great way to save money. That being said, these people are taking it to the extreme and stocking up on a lot of items they may never even get around to using.

Although most cases start out with good intentions, with some citing lost jobs or large families as the reason they began extreme couponing, it almost seems to become like an addiction for these people. Once they have seen how much they can buy for so little, they never want to go back to regular shopping again. However, it is disturbing to think that someone would keep buying a product even though they already have a stockpile of it at home.

Extreme couponing will also eventually have negative effects on the economy if enough people continue to do it. Food manufacturers just cannot afford this extreme sport. Customers can expect to see increased food prices with decreased coupon values, and sales will be fewer and farther in between.

New episodes premiere on TLC every Wednesday at 10 p.m., so watch and decide: “Extreme Couponing”— extremely smart or extremely obsessive?

Katie Derby is a third-year student at West Chester University. She can be reached at KD716057@wcupa.edu.

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