October 6, 2011

Extreme Couponing show – Lowes Foods regrets participating

Extreme Couponing

I haven’t posted much about Extreme Couponing this fall because I really hate being a Negative Nelly. I hate focusing on the negative aspects of things and would rather channel my energy (and blog posts) on more positive, constructive things. With that said, I recently found this statement from Lowes Foods and it made me so sad (and mad) that I just have to share.

Statement from Lowes Food regarding Extreme Couponing show:

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 in hope 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. In fact, the young man who approaches the empty shelf in dismay is actually a crew member. What is not conveyed well is time spent by the customer to clip and sort her coupons, not to mention the 8 – 10 hours in the store shopping and at the register.  Another unfortunate aspect of the taping is Lowes Foods did not have access to the taping in the woman’s home.

Lowes Foods was recently asked to make our stores available for a new show from the production company that films Extreme Couponing. We have declined and have no intention of participating in future tapings.

We do not share this to deflect blame. We share it simply to let you know that things aren’t as they always appear. We definitely made a poor decision by participating in the show. What is most disturbing to us is we disappointed you, our valued customer. We sincerely hope you can look beyond our mistake.
Source: Lowes Facebook page 

Kudos to Lowes Food for being honest to their customers – the ones that will be around long after their coupons expire and the show has gone off the air. Kudos to them for refusing to be duped into another show. Wonder what this next show will be about?

And now my thoughts on the whole thing. . . and they are only my thoughts and opinions.  . . not Gospel or fact. . .

This show is so deceptive. They “stage” so much of the show and this is just another example of this staging. Grrr. Not “reality” if you ask me.

Participants sign their lives away and can’t really say what they want. It’s no secret that if you want to be on the show you have to sign an extensive contract. One that limits you from talking to the media about the filming, show, etc.

It promotes over-consumption. Let’s see how much stuff we can get – regardless of need or necessity. It is sickening to see the excessive and greediness.

It paints couponers in a bad light. I was at Panera this week clipping my coupons, minding my own business. I get a customer who comes up to my table and asks me, “Are you one of those extreme couponers?” with a hesitant are-you-one-of-them? tones. I just want to save on the groceries my family needs – I don’t want to be stereotyped as a crazy, emotional, hoarding, shelf-clearing, cheapskate. Grr.

It pushes stores, shoppers to go out of comfort levels. Buy more. Go for your biggest transaction ever. Change your store policies just for the show. Allow multiple transactions and dedicate hours and hours of your staff time to “pulling this off”.

Shame on you for making “real couponers” feel guilty. Feeling guilty because you only saved 50% on your last grocery purchase and feeling completely inadequate because you can’t get it for FREE? You can thank Extreme Couponing for that. But lucky for you, you can sleep well knowing you’re saving honestly and you didn’t have to spend eight to 10 hours preparing for your shopping trip. Your integrity is worth much more than anything you can get for FREE.

Come on TLC. You can do better than this. Forget about your ratings and start using your powers for good – helping people LEARN what they need to, so they can actually save at the register. It is the learning channel, right?

In my opinion TLC and the Extreme Couponing show can be equated to a selfish, attention-seeking, pushy friend that will eventually burn enough bridges (and use enough people) that it will be difficult to continue the show, without starting it’s own Extreme Couponing Grocery Chain – which I’m sure would go out of business faster than you can say double-coupon-days. I hope that happens sooner, rather then later.

Read my previous rants, err posts, on the show:

If you have thoughts on this – I’d love for you to leave a comment and share. 

Thanks for letting me rant. I will now return to your regular, reliable and much more positive programming. . .

If you’re new here, I’ll help you get extreme savings without being extreme. Click Stores in the menu and select your favorite retailer to find the deals of the week. And if you’re a new couponer, start with my Bee-ginners link in the menu for tutorials and basics.


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  1. I’ve notice that most of the stores featured on this show are Kroger or affiliated with Kroger…I recognize the signage. Anyone else notice that?

    P.S. Thank you Heather, I appreciate your direct and honest opinion! I too coupon but only for the items my family likes and will use. My mom always taught me to stock pile when things that we use go on sale! 🙂

  2. I find that I am constantly asked the same question too “are you one of those extreme couponer” and I always reply “no, I’m not that bad, I only buy a few items” but the show has shown a bad side to it. I only buy what I need, never clear a shelf and buy a very small amount, yet I find myself hiding my coupons in shame because as soon as someone see’s those coupons the looks, comments and eye rolling start. Its also very tiresome to go to the store to buy 1 or 2 items that are on sale to find that the shelves are cleared out.

    Thanks for being honest and starting this post. I thought I was the only one disgusted by the extreme couponing

  3. This was really a good idea to post what really goes on when they tape that show. The people at my job makes couponing sound like a nasty word because of what they have seen on the show and it is really not like that. We coupon to help drive down our expenses when supporting a family. When I watch that show I always ask what store allows that many coupons and really how do they leave with that much grocery and pay nothing and in some cases get money back, well not here in Charleston, South Carolina. So good for you posting this I can now go to work and let them really know the scoop. 🙂

  4. Never watched the show. I know it will make me vomit.

  5. My 10 year old son and I watch it occasionally for entertainment purposes only. It’s actually turned out to be a great learning tool for me, because my son is appalled at what he sees—people buying all those candy bars, bottles of pop, noodles and packaged meals and other crap that shouldn’t even count as food. And the way these women (I think I’ve seen male couponers on the show only twice) yell at their kids and spouses, and force them to help in their crazy couponing (spending 35 hours a week working on coupons?? When do they pay attention to those family members they are trying to provide for?) just makes us sick. I like Susan G’s point above that they don’t deduct the cost of the newspapers and coupon services—I’ve had just one subscription to the Seattle Times for 20+ years, and that’s not cheap. They are certainly paying a pretty penny for 20 more papers. Yikes. That’s no way to live.

  6. I watched this show through part of last season but quickly lost interest. The show is extremely deceptive. Ever notice the HUGE stacks of catalinas that they often handover? Those are cash- and if they are spending several hundred in catalinas to make it appear as if they got their totals down really low- that is just not honest.

  7. I agree with you all. The part that I find interesting us that they never tell you how much they are paying for those 20 paper subscriptions each month and how much they are paying the coupon services. In my opinion they are not saving 99% when they have these additional costs.

  8. It’s too bad that they won’t do a show on realistic couponing to help people really save in these tough times. I remember couponing as a child w/ my family, and we were happy to save $20. I try to save at least 50% each week though it’s not easy when your trying to make sure that you’re family eats nutritious meals and not the junk you see so many of them buy. 100 candy bars, 100 pks of candy.. What about fresh fruit and veg!?!! I’ll admit I watch for the entertainment factor on occasion, but the extremity of it is ridiculous. Yes, I do stock pile, but instead of 100 pieces of junk you’ll find about 12 or so cans of mandarines, several jars of peanut butter, 12 jugs of juice, and half a dozen boxes of cereal and most of those are without the marshmallows, added colors. My son’s perfectly happy without all of the extra junk as long as we make a batch of cookies every now and then. : )

  9. I am so glad someone agree’s! I am new at all of this and I am so excited that I save 50-60% I believe that some is better than none! I am more conscience with my items and my finances. Thank you for posting this, so that others are informed of the show.

  10. Well stated! I’ve watched a few times for entertainment value, but certainly don’t envy those people. I’ve been couponing for almost 3 years and have gone from one extreme of stocking up on junk our family doesn’t need because it was a “good deal” to taking a break from couponing all together. I’m now at a point where I am happy with 50% when I have a cart of veggies, non-processed meats and organic milk. I do agree that that show has impacted others opinions, included some cashiers expressions when I hand over my coupons, especially in my neighborhood that probably doesn’t get too many couponers.

  11. I’ve been saying since it first aired that what it needs at the end is a disclaimer, like, “This show is filmed with the cooperation of the store and may not reflect regular store or manufacturers’ policies. Please see xyz site for more information on couponing.”

    For some reason, TLC hasn’t hired me on yet. 🙂

  12. Recently I was directing the school supply drive for our local food bank that our church runs. I had 165 names of kids needing supplies and backpacks, and donation money for items that hadn’t come in from the drive itself. My mother and I were shopping for the supplies, which included a box of Kleenex, boxes of crackers, wet wipes, etc. for EACH child of elementary school age. That’s a LOT of Kleenex! Our 2 carts were stacked full to overflowing as we went around the store gathering what was needed – not even with very many coupons, just a few! I had no less than 4 people give me that sneer and ask if I was one of “those” people. I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to be able to look them in the eye and say . . . “if you mean “those” to mean someone interested in saving money AND donating needed supplies to underpriveleged children in our school system, yes, I am. Would you care to make a donation to the food bank to help out?” I got a donation, and 4 red faced apologies.

  13. I find the show Extreme Couponing very entertaining.They usually do say how many hours they spend each day or week clipping coupons and how much money they spend on inserts and additional coupons. I hear them say how long they spend in the store and how long it takes them to check out. I consider myself to be a courteous couponer and would never clear shelves. If there are enough of us who are considerate of others and play by the rules we will be able to show people that couponing is not always extreme and can be used for good. We can’t change everyones mind. Unfortunately, some people cannot tell the difference between reality and tv. Maybe the haters just wish they had the skills to save like we do. 🙂

    • I can see the entertainment factor – it’s suspenseful, shocking and alluring. But I just lament at the people who are first being introduced by coupons through the show. They have unrealistic expectations. And the poor stores, are really being put through the ringers.

      Thanks for weighing in – I really appreciate it!

  14. Thank you! I seriously felt like I was not doing a good job at being a couponer because of that show. Even if I could find deals to get stuff super cheap or even free I wouldn’t clear off the shelves like they do. It drives me nuts when others do it. And spending 8-10 hours grocery shopping?! No thanks! I have more of a life then that 🙂 Feeling much more appropriate at couponing now!

  15. I am in total agreement with you! I have struggled with it since the first show I saw. How is this not another Hoarding show? No one needs 1000 tubes of toothpaste and 100 bottles of soap or deodorant. I can only get behind the people who use these resources to donate to worthy causes, not people who stock pile thousands of items in their house. These people have a problem if they feel the need to buy things that they would never use or normally buy just to “save” money. I’m like you in that I just want to try to save money on the stuff I already buy.

  16. Well said Heather. I, also, have had people ask me if I am an “extreme Coupon-er” with a sneer. Just because I like to get the most out of our hard earned dollar and spend my money wisely, people equate us (coupon-ers) with those crazy people. And the sad thing is that that show is showing people its okay to go crazy. I don’t know how many times I have gone to walgreens to get NECESSITIES and they are wiped clean.. and I am friends with one of the cashiers, and she said its the same people cleaning out EVERY store in town. They have no need for 100 sticks of deodorant, but they do it because the show tells them its okay. I just want enough to get us by, and stuff stockings during the holidays, but I’m the bad guy. I always do my limit and NEVER ask them for multiple transactions, yet I am treated like a criminal. Its very sad that really saving money is looked down on because that show has painted us in such a bad light. I give you kudos, and appreciate EVERYTHING you do and post for us.

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