A couple of months ago, I shared my frustration with the word stockpiling — a term used to describe how couponers buy more in the short term so we have enough of a product to get us through until the next time an item goes on sale. I invited readers to suggest some alternatives to that word. And did you guys deliver!
Dear Jill: Your column asked readers to suggest terms we couponers could use for stocking up on sale items that separates us from hoarders.
For more than 20 years I have worked as a planner/ scheduler in a manufacturing facility. In the planning function of my job, one of the key areas of responsibility is inventory management – making sure products are in stock when customers want them. There is a term called safety stock where a certain quantity of an item is subtracted from the actual inventory. This helps to prevent the company from running out of stock if the supply chain is interrupted.
I can see how it also could apply to stocking up on a three-month supply of a particular item. In this case our groceries, laundry detergent, paper towels — whatever it is we purchased with a combined store sale and coupon savings is kind of like safety stock. This helps ensure we do not run out and keeps us from having to pay full price and with no sale or coupon. It keeps our cost at a minimum.
Let us couponers consider our low-cost supply as safety stock — not hoarding or wiping store shelves bare. We take advantage of a good buy on a sale item we will use within in the immediate future.
— Bob R.
I agree! Stockpiling has become synonymous with hoarding. However, we do need a new term. The retail industry already has a term for merchandise not out on the floor but will be needed within the several weeks before a new truckload arrives — it’s called back stock. Items you need on hand to be sold soon. It’s a familiar term and describes that three-month supply.
— Leslie F.
We call the extras backup. If it’s on sale, or I have a “buy two” coupon, we use one and put one away for backup. Whoever opens the backup lets me know to get more. To begin with, who can afford to stockpile?
— Barb Z.
Inventory on-hand, or in-hand inventory. Think like a business!
— Sarah C.
I read your column asking for opinions on what to rename stockpiling. In my church we call it a short- or long-term emergency food supply. No one knows when a food supply will be needed due to lost jobs or a natural disaster that cuts of outside supplies. We discuss shelf life and rotation strategies as well as how to make room in your budget to create a steady food supply.
— Anne W.
A little over a year ago I decided that I didn’t like the term stockpiling so I changed it to collection. Now I have a mayonnaise collection, a mustard collection and a laundry detergent collection!
— Sandy M.
I enjoyed reading all of your responses. There are quite a few other readers who suggested inventory or variations on the word stock. While most of the emails I received agreed that we are long overdue for a new term, one reminded me that the word stockpiling still means different things to different people.
Dear Jill: I loved your column on stockpiling vs. hoarding. Thank you for writing it. I think the difference is often context-based. I have had this discussion with my stepsister.
She lives across the street from a very nice grocery store and I live in a town with only a convenience store out by the highway. I have to drive more than 30 miles to get to a supermarket, so I keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer.
She recently accused me of hoarding because I had two 12-roll packs of toilet paper in my hall closet. Hoarding seems to be in the eye of the beholder.
Thanks again for great columns.
— Donna M.