How Extreme Couponing Has Changed the World...for the WORST


Extreme Couponing A recent article on The Consumerist found the TLC show, Extreme Couponing, has sparked a trend of out-of-control couponers who ransack stores with little regard for fellow shoppers. Merchants have taken notice and many major retailers are starting to change their policies. Here are some of the big ones.

Rite Aid

Rite Aid has taken the same steps as Target to crack down on shoppers looking to exploit BOGO coupon offers. The drug store chain has also made other changes including limiting the number of coupons per item to four. If inventory is running low, managers may limit the numbers further.


The biggest change at Target comes to their buy one, get one (BOGO) policy. They now only allow one BOGO coupon per purchase. Previously, customers could "stack" Target printable coupons, combining store and manufacturer BOGO coupons to get both items for free.


Many high tech shoppers have even started to crack coupon barcodes, allowing them to use coupons on products they're not intended for. Walgreens is working to combat this fraud by adopting a new type of barcode. New barcodes will be able to hold more data and can better make sure Walgreens coupons are used for the right product.


At Publix stores throughout the country they're also limiting the number of coupons that can be used on one product. Their new policy limits couponers to one manufacturers coupon and one store coupon per item.

Shopping with coupons is certainly a smart way to save, but there are right and wrong ways to do it. Here are some basic do's and don'ts to help you coupon with class.

DO play by the rules. Couponing isn't too complicated and common sense should get you by in most cases. Rules vary store to store, so if you're planning to use a large amount of coupons, it helps to brush up on coupon policies before you shop. This includes making sure you're buying the item the coupon is intended for and checking to see if they'll accept expired coupons or not.

DON'T clear the shelf. In the eyes of casual shoppers, clearing entire shelves of popular sale items crosses the line between couponing and hoarding. If you really want to stock up on certain products, try making multiple trips or call ahead and ask a manager if they'll set aside an order for you.

DO be organized before you check out. It's a nightmare for cashiers and people waiting in line when you hand over a haphazard pile of miscellaneous coupons. It'll be much appreciated if you clip them before hand and make sure they're all facing the same direction. Also, remember to remove coupons for products you didn't end up buying. If you are using mobile coupons, have them ready on your smartphone for the cashier to scan.

DON'T shop during the busiest times. The stress level of those waiting in line during peak times is high enough. Using dozens of coupons takes time and will only irritate other shoppers. Instead, go shopping when business is slow. It takes the pressure off to complete the transaction as quickly as possible for both you and the cashier.

DO be polite to the cashier and fellow customers. Sure, you might have some knowledge other customers and even clerks don't, but it's no excuse to treat others like they're beneath you. If a cashier isn't familiar with coupon policies, stay calm and ask to speak with a supervisor. They're much more helpful if you don't lose your cool. When your cart is overflowing, give those behind you a heads up that you'll be using coupons. If someone is waiting with just a loaf of bread and gallon of milk, let them cut ahead.

DON'T steal coupons! A growing trend turning the tide against couponers is theft. Newspapers and newspaper subscribers are increasingly finding coupon inserts stolen. This is a big no-no and can get you into some serious trouble. Many people will willingly part with their unused inserts if you ask nicely.


I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!

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9 Responses to How Extreme Couponing Has Changed the World…for the WORST!

    ShellieAndBrutus Says:


    It’s sad how a few stupid people can ruin it for the rest of us.
    I only watched the TV show for 15 minutes and was disgusted. I mean, really- how may packages of Ramen noodles can a samll family eat? Seems to me they are out for the thrill of seeing how much they can get away with for free regardless if it’s needed or not.

      Melissa Says:


      I know what you mean. I think people get way too greedy and are out for the thrill and don’t think about the ramifications of what they’re doing. It’s a shame too, because now with the more stringent changes to these stores’ coupon policies, everyone has to pay the price. Too bad! :tear:

    Wanda M Says:


    I see how everyone is paying for those people who clear the shelves, I witnessed it first hand at Publix when I wanted to get 2 Dove Deodorants. This lady literally cleared all Dove products, I was pissed. I do stack, but I don’t buy 100 items, I get what we will use. I’ve heard alot of those doing those mass buyings are then going to the flea market and selling them, that is wrong! Publix has really cracked down, you can no longer use Rite Aid, Walgreens or CVS coupons unless they’re for pharmacy items. That used to really help me out on the bill, so trust me, I feel the loss because of those out of control people!

      Melissa Says:


      Great comment Wanda! Wow, I never actually came face to face with an extreme couponer before. I can’t believe she cleared ALL of the Dove deodorants out! You’re right…I would buy several items at a time too with coupons, but never anything close to that. Where the heck do they put all that stuff anyway? My house seems like it’s busting at the seams right now! :)

    jayedee Says:


    it’s just all such a shame! i like to save a buck as much as the next person, but not at the expense of my personal integrity. at the end of the day, i may never have to see that cashier again, but i still have to be able to look at myself in the mirror.

    Karensuki Says:


    I admit that occasionally, I will clear a shelf using coupons, but it is usually because there is only 3 or 4 of the item sitting there. I like in an area where stock is always low. We are the last drop off when the stores get their stock. But 4 packs of ramen only feeds half my family since there is 7 of us.

    I could not afford to take care of my family without coupons, but I do not agree with over shopping and hoarding.

      Melissa Says:


      I couldn’t agree with you more Karen! Coupons are a daily part of my life too, but it’s a shame that we’re all suffering a bit due to the new restrictions brought on by the greed of others. Thanks so much for stopping by today! :)

    Mary Dailey Says:


    Great post! I wonder why it is that when a good thing is going on, some people have to take it to the extreme and ruin it for everyone. I have a girlfriend who likes to push things to the limit and it can be quite embarrassing. I admire people who use coupons and get in on good deals, but when you’re tying up a checker and a line for hours, that is extreme any way you look at it.

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