WASHINGTON — Email continues to pour in on both sides of the debate regarding coupon shoppers who take multiple in-store coupons. Some readers are critical of what they deem selfish behavior when shoppers take “too many.” Others disagree with a practice that I advocate: taking coupons from tear pads or coupon dispensers in quantities equivalent to what you plan to buy. What’s a shopper to do?
“I read the article where you tried to justify taking six to 10 store coupons from in-store displays. I couldn’t disagree with you more! That is definitely taking advantage of the store and abusing other shoppers. It’s the same as going to a wedding where there’s an open bar and getting six drinks during one hour. It’s basically someone making a pig out of themselves.”
“I do not agree with the advice to take as many coupons as you will use from the store dispensers. Manufacturers put coupons there to entice as many new customers as possible. If the holder contains 50 coupons and five people take 10 each, only five people have the discount advantage instead of 50. Couponing is wonderful, but the greedy and inconsiderate really make it difficult for the responsible. The full dispensers that don’t get used also send a message to the manufacturer that there is little to no interest in that product.”
In the years I’ve spent couponing, I’ve seen coupons for popular items fly out of coupon dispensers, and I’ve seen less enticing coupons languish on shelf displays. Yet I still stand by my statement that it’s OK to take the number of coupons that you will actually use and need. I’m not advocating emptying the entire display, but it’s important to remember the reason coupons are there: to sell more products.