Extreme coupon show: I definitely call it bogus now
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 12/5/2012 by WingNut in NSBR Board
 

WingNut
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Posted: 12/5/2012 7:36:04 PM
A few weeks ago, I was in the checkout of my local grocery store and it dawned upon me that there was a camera crew two cashiers over. I then realized, it was a coupon thing. I asked my cashier if I was right...she confirmed my suspicions. She also agreed with me that this woman had likely never been in this store. I, unfortunately, spend quite a bit of time in that darn store, thus my belief of never seeing her before.

Still, I kept my eyes open for when the show would air. It aired last night. My suspicions that TLC does a boatload of maneuvering behind the scenes was also confirmed (at least to me). And finally, there HAS to be something in it for the stores themselves.

Why did I come to this conclusion? The woman drove from a very urban area outside of Baltimore (to the south) to a very rural area of northern Maryland. Over 50 miles and an hour's drive one way. Passing literally hundreds and hundreds of grocery stores of every stripe to come to a small chain store (3 stores total) to shop in a store that that I would bet she's never set foot in and never heard of until TLC pointed her toward it.

In the end, she got over $900 worth of groceries for like $0.25 cents. I'm all for legitimate couponing but this stuff on TLC is a crock, IMNSHO.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with this show? or others like it?


Joy


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Posted: 12/5/2012 7:40:48 PM
No, but it's been obvious that the show is bogus from day one. I called every store in a 30 mile vacinity (including a store that was featured on the show) to check their coupon policies. None would allow anything even close to what they get away with in those stores!

janet r
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Posted: 12/5/2012 7:43:40 PM
Even if it was true, some of those women say they spend 40 to 60 hours a week on couponing. That would just not be worth it to me. I have other stuff to do.

grammypeg
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Posted: 12/5/2012 7:47:23 PM
I just wish they would change the title of their network TLC, The Learning Channel...learning what?

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Posted: 12/5/2012 7:52:11 PM
I haven't seen the show in a couple of years, but when I used to watch it looked about 90% legit to me. (I coupon.)

The only reason I mark it down 10% is that the couponers on the show will typically use $xx off your purchase coupons that they've previously earned. That usage is legitimate, it would just be difficult for another person to duplicate because you have to make a previous purchase.

I would say a lot of stores get more "relaxed" with their coupon policy. They're not breaking laws (typically), they're just allowing more than usual. Like if a grocery store has a limit of 4 like coupons, I've seen them accept 20 on the show... that type of thing. It's against store policy, but not illegal.

I don't call BS on the show because I get free stuff all the time, legitimately, legally.

I've also seen things on the show that aren't legit... but again, most of it is.



melanell
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Posted: 12/5/2012 8:00:19 PM

Even if it was true, some of those women say they spend 40 to 60 hours a week on couponing. That would just not be worth it to me. I have other stuff to do.


I agree that 60 hours of couponing would just be too much for me.

But, if you were actually to get $900.00 worth of free products for those 60 hours, then it's almost like making $15 an hour, and as the fast food employee thread recently showed us, many people would be quite thrilled with that.

janet r
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Posted: 12/5/2012 8:09:09 PM
That does make sense.

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Posted: 12/5/2012 8:10:40 PM

I haven't seen the show in a couple of years, but when I used to watch it looked about 90% legit to me. (I coupon.)


I disagree. It's come out in the news that the couponers on this show are committing fraud. I coupon myself - not extremely, but well enough to save a couple of hundred bucks a month.

The barcode system that a few of those profiled use is 100% illegal. So they take a coupon for $5 off a shower cleaner that costs $30 (for instance) but the bar code is similar to that for the cheap spray cleanser that costs $4. The electronic system is fooled because the barcodes are similar. That doesn't make it right when the coupon specifically states it's for the expensive item. It's cheating.

geauxDeb
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Posted: 12/5/2012 8:15:16 PM
I was surprised at one woman who had 9 freezers in her garage to hold all the frozen foods she got with coupons. Seems to me the energy needed to run 9 freezers would offset a lot of her 'savings.'

The last time I watched the show, a woman was buying hundred of packages of mini Oreos and hundreds of boxes of cereal. Stuff that I imagine would go stale before you got a chance to even eat it. But it sure made her garage with her 'stockpile' look beautiful


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pennyring
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Posted: 12/5/2012 8:19:40 PM


The barcode system that a few of those profiled use is 100% illegal. So they take a coupon for $5 off a shower cleaner that costs $30 (for instance) but the bar code is similar to that for the cheap spray cleanser that costs $4. The electronic system is fooled because the barcodes are similar. That doesn't make it right when the coupon specifically states it's for the expensive item. It's cheating.


Yeah, I know the episode you're talking about. That's one lady, one episode. I can't remember her name, but when she was doing this a couple of years ago, she had dozens of minions that she was teaching to do the same thing!!

Another example (not sure if this coupon is still out there, but it was out there for YEARS): The Crest White Strips coupon in the P&G insert was coded open and would ring on ANY Crest product. This woman and her minions were filling up carts full of stuff at Target and getting it for free using the high-value Crest White Strips coupons. Horrible.

That's not a widespread thing though. Just that one horrible chick (and her minions).

ETA: Most manufacturers have switched to the new barcoding system where it's impossible to break down the coding and commit coupon fraud.

ETA again:

The electronic system is fooled because the barcodes are similar.


I just wanted to touch on this because I'm a total nerd.

Old barcodes are based off of a family/item system. So every item from Crest will have the same FAMILY code, but a different item code.

When the manufacturer lists the item code as 000, the coupon will work on ANY item from the family.

That's why the White Strips coupon works on any Crest item.

There's a new barcoding system that came out last year though, so most of my nerdy knowledge is now irrelevant. The new system is random and can't be broken down in this way.



scrapper100
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Posted: 12/5/2012 8:30:36 PM
I just always wonder how they can use all that crap before it goes bad. Seriously hundreds of brownie mixes and cake mixes - that would be a lifetime supply for someone that makes these things often. I also wonder about those that buy hundreds of candy bars or packages of cookies and such. This isn't feeding your family so it really isn't saving you money. It is rare that I see them buy anything that I would eat and I am not a total freak about everything having to be healthy and organic I just don't like most of the processed stuff they show and can't understand how they could actually eat that much junk. That and they always leave out the cost of the hundreds of inserts they must buy or coupons they buy on-line. I am all for saving money on things I need or will use but to get items for free and then just sit on them - I don't get it. I love when they show someone that is donating all the items then it makes sense because it is spread out over so many families.

I also don't get it when they show someone doing multiple transactions. I could see maybe doing two but I have seen episodes where they have done 90+ transactions why - obviously the store won't let the rest of us do that and it is against store policy so why encourage it. I do still watch though because I find it funny to watch them. These people are really freaky sometimes.


Patti

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Posted: 12/5/2012 8:33:47 PM

But, if you were actually to get $900.00 worth of free products for those 60 hours,
Yes, but if it isn't stuff I'd normally use and is just taking up space then it sin't saving me anyu thing.


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Posted: 12/5/2012 9:08:41 PM

I've only seen the show a couple of times but as scrapper100 said, much of what they buy seems to be junk. Like 160 2 liter bottles of soda. 400 candy bars. What's so great about saving money on a bunch of junk when you have HOURS and HOURS invested in getting the coupons, shopping for the crap, checking out, schlepping the crap home, putting it in storage and then having to deal with it until it's gone. I'd rather do it my way and have fresh stuff when I want it, even it I'm paying more at the register.

The only show that somewhat entertained me was the one where the husbands thought they could do it and they messed up.

I'd rather watch a show where real couponers show how they save money buying real food in reasonable amounts that will be used within a reasonable timeframe.

My mother was an awesome couponer but she only bought stuff we'd use in a reasonable amount of time. She didn't have gobs of space to store crap and didn't buy crappy food because we didn't eat it.







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Posted: 12/5/2012 9:31:40 PM
I don't exactly understand why you think there's something up with the show. Because this woman drove all those miles to go to a store the network chose? Maybe it was to see if she could extreme coupon somewhere unfamiliar to her. See, that's impressive.

I don't know about that show since I don't watch it, but some couponers get really good deals on stuff that isn't even food.
An example:
this morning I'm balancing registers at work. One of them had 43 coupons for a FREE Kreo figure. (Kreo is a toy. They were battleship figures I think)
Anyway, there was no other purchase needed.
So this person got 150.07 plus tax of toys for nothing.
I looked up the transaction and that's all they got that day.
What a deal!
I'd love to get such a great deal so I could donate those toys to Toys For Tots or Operation Homefront.
I guess I need to watch my coupons better. That coupon came from the Sunday inserts.



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Posted: 12/5/2012 10:50:41 PM
This is just my experience in talking to the producers on the show. I did apply and was rejected because while I get amazing savings every week, I refuse to hoard. That's just not good TV. When you have 6 kids, you go through about 30 boxes of cereal a month. That's my reality. And I live in a 100 yr old house with limited storage. I refuse to shove food under beds

They want the WOW and the really extreme and not the "I coupon to feed my large family."

The peas who call it hoarders: couponing edition are spot on.

I have been on local TV couponing. I had to coupon at a store that I don't normally use a lot because the store with the amazing coupon deals doesn't allow the news in the store. Corporate policy.

I had to jump through a lot of hoops in the few times I did shop. My coupons had to be pre-approved. I needed to purchase a large quantity of a single item to get the overage I needed to get the WOW shopping trip they were looking for. While the local manager approved it, corporate on the day of the filming almost changed their minds. It did require an override.

The store issues $ off total purchase coupons. In order to make the magic happen, I had to break my transactions up. Normally, they only allow one coupon per day. But for TV, I was allowed to do 3 separate transactions.

That was the extent the policy was bent for me.

Target was a bit more challenging to deal with when we filmed there. It was a price matching situation. They were VERY strict about the price matching, and even more so when we filmed. They wanted to make sure no rules were bent at all.

From what I've seen, some of the couponers are being given coupons from companies to promote their products. One in particular was for a product my family LOVES and based on the other items in the cart, I knew roughly when the filming was, and I knew beyond any doubt there had not been a coupon issued for that product. If there had, I would have snatched it up. Very rare.

There is no reason to spend 60 hours a week couponing. That's plain ridiculous. I spend maybe 2 hours a week at it and save on average 80 percent on my grocery bill.

Last week, I had some coupons that were about to go off sale and I was at work. I sent poor DH out to the store and told him to get JUST the coupon items. He was not too happy they had to get a manager to come over and override the transaction because he ended up with overage



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Posted: 12/6/2012 2:52:56 AM











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Posted: 12/6/2012 3:09:21 AM
All I can say is I have watched one episode of a couponing show. The lady bought 70 something bottles of mustard. Really? I mean that is just nuts! Unless you are supporting a concession stand or the local burger joint there is no way to go through that much mustard!


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Posted: 12/6/2012 4:46:21 AM
It's frustrating to see people come home with these stockpiles of hundreds of boxes of cereal that they could never finish if they ate cereal every meal of every day, and they're only amassing MORE. I understand the thrill of gamifying grocery shopping, I guess, and feeling like you're able to beat the system, but I don't understand the food hoarding. Why not get $900 of groceries for $7 or whatever and make it a huge win for a local shelter or food bank? Nobody is impressed with a garage full of food you're not eating.



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Posted: 12/6/2012 5:04:30 AM
A woman in my town (I call her the Coupon Lady) has started offering a class on how to work the coupon game. She takes a couple of people at a time, teaches them the techniques, and then takes them out to various local stores on shopping excursions to give them real life experience. I saw a card about it on a local grocery store's bulletin board, and she's charging a fair price for the class ($25 I want to say?). People want to save money, $25 or so isn't too much to pay to learn. It's a win-win, especially for the Coupon Lady.

I've seen her alone, and with students in stores before. She's not hard to miss, she has an enormous three ring binder for organizing her coupons, sales ads, and shopping lists that's always balanced in the front part of the shopping basket. I don't know how much she saves, or how well she works the game. I just know she's really serious about couponing and found a way to make it into a part-time job. So, unless she's stockpiling with stuff she'll never use, or stuff that's out and out crap, she's a smart cookie!

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Posted: 12/6/2012 5:16:40 AM
Erm all of them. I used to travel with film crews. Watched them fake almost everything. A lot of it was about litigation. Guests on chat shows can't be real people, because they can sue.

People pranked on candid camera type shows can't be real people because they can sue.

People interviewed on documentaries have to be paid or they can sue.

I quit when the percentage of faked and staged outweighed the real.

It had been fun, it's a bubble in there. Different reality different rules.

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Posted: 12/6/2012 6:06:39 AM
I'm surprised that the program is still on. It seems to me that most retailers changed their policies to make it more difficult.



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Posted: 12/6/2012 6:08:45 AM

The only reason I mark it down 10% is that the couponers on the show will typically use $xx off your purchase coupons that they've previously earned. That usage is legitimate, it would just be difficult for another person to duplicate because you have to make a previous purchase.


Do you still get the $xx off your next purchase coupons when you get your order for free? Ex: We sometimes get a $5 off your next purchase when you spend $xx. If your order is free because of coupons, do you still get that next $xx off coupon?




One of them had 43 coupons for a FREE Kreo figure. (Kreo is a toy. They were battleship figures I think)
Anyway, there was no other purchase needed.
So this person got 150.07 plus tax of toys for nothing.
I looked up the transaction and that's all they got that day.



First off, if the buyer gave these 43 toys away, good for her.
But, she didn't really get them for free did she? Here, teh Sunday paper cost about $3. Even if your paper only cost $1, someone spent $43. Still a bargain, but not free. Maybe she got the papers from neighbors and friends? I don't know many people who still get a physical paper, but I would guess that I could come up with about 10 circulars before I had to buy papers. My point is that while she paid nothing at the register, it probably wasn't completely free.

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Posted: 12/6/2012 6:12:46 AM

I'd rather watch a show where real couponers show how they save money buying real food in reasonable amounts that will be used within a reasonable timeframe.


That would be nice.

Just in case you are interested, there are 240,000 calories in those 100 bags of Oreos.



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Posted: 12/6/2012 6:19:25 AM
I am still impressed by man who donated all of his free items to charities. I was so happy he won the special they did last year I think!

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Posted: 12/6/2012 8:23:33 AM
There is a columnist for our local paper who writes each week about how to make the most of your budget using coupons. I don't think she is extreme in any way. Her advice is often spot on.

That being said, she wrote one time about her weekly shopping trip, what she bought, how much she paid, and what her menu was for the week for her family. I was horrified. She bought no fresh produce beyond one head of lettuce for a salad she served with dinner one night. She listed no vegetables at all with her meals, not even canned or frozen and the only fruit she listed were apples bought for sack lunches. How can this possibly be healthy. I huge portion of my grocery bill each week is fresh and canned fruits and vegetables. I rarely see coupons for those.



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Posted: 12/6/2012 8:27:37 AM
Remember the teenager who had the coupon for all that free toilet paper? He claimed to have got it from Good Housekeeping magazine (and it really was in there) but he had some crazy number of them?

I read an article about this show and they revealed that his coupons were fake and he was sued. His mom had to pony up the money to pay for all of it.




sugarcoated
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Posted: 12/6/2012 8:48:38 AM
The thing I've always wondered about the show, and what makes me believe it is all put on, if not bogus, is that the couponers featured on the programs usually have only been couponing a short period of time. Like mere months. And the shopping spree they are embarking on is always their largest one yet.

I think for a tv show, they would have to have the stores involved to a point, but I did get tired of watching them shop in empty stores. Or that one lady who set up an aisle of shopping baskets to separate things into.

The funny thing is, I'd rather watch more "normal" extreme couponing. I've always couponed and used to do the rebate thing. Oh, and sweepstakes. It was just fun when I was a SAHM. I still coupon and love to hear good deals that make you go "wow", but shelf clearing, mega stock piles of junk food and bogus store set ups made me stop watching the show.


sugarcoated
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Posted: 12/6/2012 8:51:43 AM

She listed no vegetables at all with her meals,


That had to be a personal preference on her part, my freezer is always stocked full of bargain and even free vegetables. And, I recently bought pineapples, pomegranites, oranges and celery with coupons.

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Posted: 12/6/2012 8:58:08 AM

Erm all of them. I used to travel with film crews. Watched them fake almost everything. A lot of it was about litigation. Guests on chat shows can't be real people, because they can sue.

People pranked on candid camera type shows can't be real people because they can sue.

People interviewed on documentaries have to be paid or they can sue.

I quit when the percentage of faked and staged outweighed the real.

It had been fun, it's a bubble in there. Different reality different rules.

That is just not the reality for most TV. For the reality TV genre, yes. For documentaries, no. Or at least not for the serious documentaries. You have a very jaded and skewed view of the world.

As for the couponing shows, of course they are staged. And exploitive. These shows make me hate couponing more than I already do. Unless the coupon is handed to me, I don't have to do any work for it and it's something I'll actually use, I refuse to coupon. I do well enough without it.

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Posted: 12/6/2012 8:58:22 AM

I'm surprised that the program is still on. It seems to me that most retailers changed their policies to make it more difficult.


There has got to be a "kickback" to the stores of some sort. There is NO way that the coupons used for this episode at my local store was in line with their normal policies. And there was very careful camera work to NEVER display the store name in any way. It was also not a regular cashier on that register...one of the longstanding floor managers was at the register. And one of the store managers was there as well. They had to have shut off the regular "safeguards" on that computer to allow all the abnormal coupon use.

As far as why I think its bogus because of where the woman lived vs. where she shopped for the show? I just know my area. No one from her area is coming to my area to shop. There is literally nothing else here! And the number of stores between here and there could literally be approaching 1,000 or more. Most are the bigger regional/national chains that I would bet wouldn't "play ball" with TLC. My local store is a family owned 3 store chain.

All of this is not a big deal to me...just SAY that these various things were "tweaked" in order to reach these unusually high savings totals. And for the record, the food products the camera kept highlighting were instant "oriental" style meals. They did show her buying cases of frozen veggies in the small "steam in bag" sizes.


Joy


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Posted: 12/6/2012 9:28:04 AM
When I say bogus, I don't mean illeagal. It's simply set-up and not achievable by the average shopper like they portray it to be. I have gotten great deals be couponing. I also get free items, but NOWHERE can you get 70 bottles of mustard or 43 toys with coupons all at once! It's bogus!

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Posted: 12/6/2012 9:42:47 AM
But some of it is illegal. P&G now says 4 like coupons per customer and I'd the store is taking 20, they shouldn't be reimbursed. I save n average of 50% on my bill each week and I'm okay with that.
As far as what people buy, I'd you looked at my cart in the store you'd wonder how I'm making meals with any of it most times. I only buy what's on sale each week and that has a coupon, but you don't know what I bought last week to go with it.
I also buy my family fresh fruit every week and we eat vegetables every night too
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Posted: 12/6/2012 10:53:28 AM
I dont understand where they get those coupons. I get the Sunday paper, I get magazines and I never get good coupons. I rarely ever get anything free. How do they end up with 40 of the same free coupon and I cant even find one?


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Posted: 12/6/2012 11:17:58 AM

She listed no vegetables at all with her meals,
When I make my menus for the week, I never include veggies. I keep a bunch of frozen veggies on hand and the boys pick the veggie each night while I'm making the main dish.


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Posted: 12/6/2012 11:53:38 AM

First off, if the buyer gave these 43 toys away, good for her.
But, she didn't really get them for free did she? Here, teh Sunday paper cost about $3. Even if your paper only cost $1, someone spent $43. Still a bargain, but not free. Maybe she got the papers from neighbors and friends? I don't know many people who still get a physical paper, but I would guess that I could come up with about 10 circulars before I had to buy papers. My point is that while she paid nothing at the register, it probably wasn't completely free.


Most people who are hardcore couponers know when these coupons come out long before they hit the paper. Often we buy coupons for super cheap on Ebay or from insert suppliers. I buy whole inserts for much cheaper than I'd pay for the entire paper.


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Posted: 12/6/2012 12:01:53 PM
I agree with the comments towards TLC - not real at all. Using the term "learning" is using it very loosely. Wasn't it here that someone else said they saw TLC shooting a "reality" show and it was many many takes for the same segment?

I have a feeling too that not all store managers would be up to the extreme couponers but some might be open to them coming into their stores for the publicity.

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Posted: 12/6/2012 4:42:41 PM
This show fascinates me!

I don't really care how fake or real it is because it is just entertainment to me.

The one thing that does bug me is when they say something like 'we have to save x amount of dollars in order to pay for our cruise/car/bills or whatever' Then they fill the carts of with 150 rolls of toilet paper, 85 dried noodle meals, 500 toothbrushes and cartons of soda.

Yes, you might be able to save money or even get it for free but that is NOT putting the money in your pocket. You can't eat all those products, you still have to buy real foods.



Felt Flower Collections at: www.carefreeglimmer.etsy.com

Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?
- Gimli
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