Sunday, May 27, 2012

Coupon Ethics:The Rules & Why They Matter

I've posted my simple guidelines for couponing, but there are, at times, more complicated ethical debates that arise in the couponing community. I want to let my readers know that I am dedicated to the 100% ethical use of coupons. Every cent counts, but defrauding someone, anyone, even a corporation, will in the long run ruin couponing for us all. Some stores will no longer take printed coupons. Other stores have changed their acceptance policies (example: no more than three coupon transactions per visit).

1.Don't use an out-of-date coupon.
2.Never copy a coupon.
3.Never alter a coupon.
4.Deal with rejection of a coupon gracefully.
5.Don't be a deal hog. There is a thin line between a stockiler and a hoarder.
6.Share your extra coupons.Start a local swap or ask your store manager to start a little one at the service desk.
7.Send your expired coupons (within 90 days) to a U.S.A military base overseas.The military families can use then at the commissary!
8.Limit one MEANS limit one. Breaking it up into more than one transaction isn't fair, play nice.
9."Peelies" are to be used on the item they were found on ONLY.
10.Don't hog the 'blinkies' (coupons in little blinking dispenser machines in the isles). OR the peelies!
11.Try to keep your transactions to a minimum. Standing in line for half an hour for coupons is a bit excessive, and not fair to other customers.
12.Do NOT buy items your family doesn't use. Period.
13.Carry the coupon policy with you to your stores. Don't fight with managers.
14.Don't spend more than 1-3 hours per week clipping/printing/searching. It negates the actual savings, unless you think your time is worth nothing. TIME=MONEY.
15.Keep track of what you save, and ACTUALLY SAVE IT.
16.HAVE FUN. Don't take this too seriously!
17. My NEW personal rule, due to some things I have seen recently, is maintain your dignity at all times.
For me, that means less coupons because I won't go dumpster diving. This is a personal choice.  :)

Couponing is a booming business...research firm Borrell Associates predicted that the value of online coupons redeemed would triple, reaching a total of $22 billion by 2014. That's just the online coupons, not the ones you get in advertising circulars, in mailers, and in product packages.
Cashiers have started giving coupon users a hard time at the register. With the growing popularity of coupon use, and shows like Extreme Couponing, other customers look at us like we are all crazy hoarders. We might as well have a big scarlet C on our chests! But if we can remember that ethics and fair play ensures savings for us all, we can ALL reap the benefits! And keep our dignity too! ;)

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