During the last season of “Extreme Couponing,” a Kroger-owned store in Arizona got in trouble with shoppers after it dispensed with its usual policy and doubled coupons for the TV show. After shoppers complained, the store released a statement saying, “The show was done for promotional purposes.”
Jim Bello has received his share of calls from disgruntled regulars. “I’ve gotten a couple of really nasty phone calls about this, asking if we double coupons now,” he said. “We’re independent, we can’t afford to. Grocery stores here really don’t double.”
Unfortunately, the list of stores that will bend rules for the shopping trips depicted on “Extreme Couponing” gets longer by the day. Lowes Foods, Winston-Salem, N.C., issued an online apology after allowing “Extreme Couponing” to film in two of its stores. The store acknowledged that it had waived limits of its coupon policy for the benefit of the cameras.
“While we can not undo our participation in the taping of ‘Extreme Couponing,’ what we can do is share with you our reason for doing so and some truths that will not be aired with the show. Lowes Foods agreed to allow the taping in our store… to show viewers that we are a coupon-friendly grocer with outstanding products and customer service. Some of what appears in the clip you saw was staged by the production company… We definitely made a poor decision by participating in the show.”
This season, just as in the last, viewers are noticing that shoppers on the show appear to misuse coupons. Using coupons for one product to buy a completely different one is fraud. Most stores do not allow shoppers to get away with this dishonest practice. But, when the cameras roll, many stores that participate on the show appear to turn a blind eye, pushing these coupons through so that the shopper can “save” even more money.