I will admit I watch and like this show. I like to try and figure out which coupons they are using and what they are doing. There are some things that happen on that show though, that I consider "grey" areas of couponing, and some down right wrong, so here is my list of what they didn't show or tell you.
- They double everything, stores in the Northwest don't do that. Back East and in the South coupons are doubled (sometimes tripled) everyday, without any extra coupons or tricks. Automatically, I know unfair, but what can you do. That is why you see them getting $6 Tide Stain lifter for free, they simply doubled the $3 coupon.
- They are using promotions and tons of catalinas from previous transactions.
- They have spent 60 plus hours planning this trip...
- They used every FREE coupon they have in their stash.
- They say they got it all for Free, which they did at the register, however, they had to "buy" those coupons somewhere. Whether it was through numerous Sunday papers or on ebay, you don't get that many of the same coupon for free. I wish they would factor that cost into their stockpiles. :)
- They are told to do their biggest best transaction ever...so they PLAN PLAN PLAN for it, not every one of their trips goes this way.
Now on to the grey areas...this is what I have witnessed.
- In order to get that many coupons, they probably used ebay. Selling coupons is illegal and unethical, no matter what "loopholes" you use.
- I have seen them scan catalinas coupons in the middle of their order, catalinas are specifically to be used "on your next order"
- They get several of the same free coupons, like the Yoplait yogurt ones. These are stated as, "one per household."
- The "Try Me Free" cereal rebate, is also one per household.
- They use paper and e-coupons, which a lot of stores have not allowed. Technically they will probably both come off and the cashier won't notice, but the store probably won't get reimbursed for both. Just because no one catches it ...doesn't mean it is right.
- They use "family coupon coding". This happens when a bar code of a brand is similar enough that it attaches to another product of the same brand. I have actually seen this happen on my receipt before when I bought two P&G product, one with a coupon and one without and it attached to the other product. Some people purposely buy the wrong product, because it is a better deal to use with that coupon. It might scan without a hitch or the cashier might have to push it through. However, technically if the store wants to audit the transaction, the store would not be reimbursed and so this is coupon fraud. One couponer recently admitted to doing this on the show.
- They bend the rules...like the couple that brought in extra people to stand as a proxy for the $10/$50 promo that was one per person...guaranteed if that was not on tv, it would not fly!
- They give them overage, which depends on your store, but Albertsons and Fred Meyer do NOT and it appears that they let them on the show.
- They break it up into multiple transactions to get around the so many of this coupon or that coupon rule. These limits were put there to avoid this exact thing!
- The Twice the Value Coupons...these say right on the coupons...3 per transaction. Most stores only allow 3 transactions. (I am going to email Albertsons corporate and try to get a clarification). The one Albertsons shopper did 18 transactions and the other did one huge one and they doubled ALL her coupons...that doesn't seem right and I seriously doubt they would do it for any of us.
So once again, Reality TV is not all it seems...but I think you knew that already. Stick by my golden couponing rule, "Save more than you spend!" I would love to hear your thoughts on this one...