Dear Jill: I read your column and have a couple of thoughts I would like to share. While I am not a couponer, I understand the logic behind couponing to save money. However, I feel I should remind you and your readers that you and the companies who issue the coupons have the same goal: more money in the pocket. You expressed the idea that shoppers can sway how manufacturers respond, and they can. But you might consider the notion that while shoppers may win the battle, they may also lose the war.
If I were a marketing director and saw how consumer double-dipping on discounts is affecting my company’s profits, I would strongly counsel the company to reduce the number of times it issues coupons, maybe discouraging the company from issuing them at all. No one likes being taken advantage of, and to my way of thinking that is what some of your readers are trying to do. As you said, coupons are a privilege, not a right. And if couponers push too hard to take advantage of a company, the company has the right to not give in to the pressure by withholding the coupon. So both parties lose, but couponers lose more. – Barbara T.
Both Suzanne and Barbara touch on the “golden goose” aspect of couponing. Couponers know we have a wonderful system going for us. In order to preserve it, shoppers shouldn’t seek ways to beat or cheat the system. Let’s not slay the golden goose! A manufacturer or store can eliminate coupons from a marketing campaign if it feels coupons don’t deliver the desired results. One manufacturer I interviewed considers an interesting number when planning future coupon promotions: How many of its current coupons are people reselling online? If too many people are selling the company’s coupons (which is expressly prohibited by the coupon’s terms) then the company offers a lower dollar value coupon in its next promotion cycle. It’s yet another reason to play by the rules and use coupons as they’re intended.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to email@example.com.