ABC News: Retailers push back against Extreme Couponing

ABC World News aired a segment yesterday regarding retailers changing their policies based on Extreme Couponing. The story also mentions TLC looking into misuse of coupons on the show:

(You'll also see a familiar face in this segment..! ABC re-used some of the video footage that was shot during my 2010 appearance on Nightline.)


This story claims mis-use and tactic the TLC wants to look at.. Like what? The question I have is if you purchase the paper, or you get the coupons by legitimate means then why are they questioning the use of the coupons.

Are they not using the coupons as a lost leader to get you to purchase things not on sale or to come to their store? So because you have developed a strategy to win the coupon game - the retailers and manufactures have started they want to shut it off?

I have rarely ever used coupons – do they want to send me a check for everything I have never used? Or was that my fault for not taking the time to cut them out and redeem them?

If they print it and don’t have the details on the coupons – it is on them. The catch is they want to put the disclaimer and restriction they reduce the redemption rate – cannot have it both ways.

Interested in your thoughts?

retailers vs. extreme couponing

I have noticed the retailers changing their policies for the past few months since the program Extreme Couponers came on. Unfortunately the couponers featured were the most obnoxious people I've seen outside the Housewives reality shows. They portrayed this attitude of entitlement - a them against the store. I was appalled and wondered if I was the only one who immediately thought well, wonder how long before these things many of us have been doing for years in a reasonable way will no longer work because these folks had to get on tv and act like jerks. The woman who has this whole corner of cat stuff and gleefully says "and I don't even have a cat" How ridiculous is the person who dumps the whole display of toothbrushes in their cart. Like how many do you need in your lifetime. Or the woman who looked at her kid and says something like should I get all these on the shelf or are the 40 I have at home enough. I so resent those who come in and totally clean out the shelves. Do you know how many times I have had to return to the store with my rain check before I could finally get the four of whatever item I wanted? The extreme couponers are not only ruining it for the rest of us who are struggling to survive in this economy and who are being reasonable and purchasing what we need til the next time the items go on sale but in fact the way they do it is a hoarding behavior. Who in the world needs 30 or was it 40 years of paper towels. And the guy who is "hoarding" many cases of toothpaste not to mention his whole garage is full of "stock". I bought 10 tubes of toothpaste for about 15 cents apiece with coupons and store sale and I figure I have enough for a year! Anyway, please take a look at what this program is doing to the rest of us and please please don't support it. Thank you.

I should have clarified

You reminded me when you said "Even our favorite ones". That was one of the reasons I was upset, I am not talking about a huge chain of stored here, this is a local store with about 5 stores in the state. I live in a town 1 mile by 1 mile, and I have shopped in this store my entire life, most of these cashiers know me and my children by name. They know I have been using coupons now for about 2 years, and have seen me stop shoppers to offer coupons for things I have seen in the carts. I as mostly upset because it almost feels like being shamed by a close friend in public.

Something to remember....

Something that you can remind your cashier's that are giving you a hard time is that the manufacturer's do reimburse the store the face value of the coupon plus a few cents. So in essence the store is not loosing any money they are making a little for each coupon. If it is a store that doubles and triples the coupon they have that cost built into their profits somewhere.

If you are clearing the shelves in a store because you are donating the items to a homeless shelter or food pantry let the manager know what you are doing beforehand. More times than not they will appreciate what you are doing AND you won't be building a bad rep in the store.

Remember to smile and be courteous to the cashier's and the other patrons of the store.

Anyone else getting flack at the stores?

I was wondering if anyone else is getting flack from cashiers about their coupon use? I can't believe how many people are just plain out rude to me just because I am using coupons, as if the money I save was coming out of their pockets personally. I have resisted the urge to yell or be rude back but I have to tell you I have really gotten tired of the attitudes.

I just today went in to get 4 half gallon's of ice cream, on sale for 1.99, with my coupon it came to 1.00. I forgot there is a limit of 2, so I just asked if I could split up my order. You would have thought I was asking her to cover up a murder..I wasnt clearing the shelves...should I have bought 2 then drove home and came back for 2 more later?

A friend of mine gave her 2 sons money and they each got 2 (for a total of 6) she has a family of 6 and I am sure that ice cream did not last very long. We weren't in the store at the same time or even the same day, just happened to both of us..the cashier said to her "I suppose these are all going to the same house?" And she wasn't being cute or funny.

I have gotten to the point where I use the self check out whenever possible so I can be left alone. I LOVE using coupons and saving money, but my shopping takes longer, I feel like there will soon be a picture of me like a most wanted poster up in the stores. I feel like the general attitude of the stores is they really put the sales out to draw you in to the store and really don't want to save you money at all.

Has anyone else experienced this?


Yes. Its getting horrible.

Sunday morning I noticed our local grocery store was having a sale on Hamburger helper and Cereal, I had coupons for both that expired that day (about 15 coupons each). I called a friend and told him I would give him some of the coupons because our store will only double 3 like coupons. I was getting 4 boxes and so was he. We were each in separate self checkouts, when an employee came and literally took my coupons from my hand and said "It's only 3 like coupons per family per day". I immediately asked for the manager. He was polite but still said I could not use the coupons, I showed him my store loyalty card and my friend showed them his, we showed our I'd's as well (different addresses, different last names) and they still refused, and I overheard the first employee telling another customer "No one is scamming me". They said rules are rules and their shelves are getting cleared every week (in their defense a whole shelf of bounty paper towels were already gone and this was 9a.m. on a Sunday). I was livid when I left, not so much about the rule but just at the way the acted.


Please tell me that you reported this to corporate! You could have totally sued them. To snatch them out of your hand? To say she's not getting scammed? To ID the 2 of you, see different addresses and still not honor the coupons? That is just rediculous and rude! This reminds me of the store that was on the show with the 1 per household policy and the employees all over it. These stores need to be reported on as many posting places as possible. Like in the phonebook online, you can post comments for the listings. for example. These rude behaviors need to be known to everyone everywhere. They deserve to loose tons of business for being stingy over a $1 coupon. This is just rediculous!

... it is only going to get worse...

... before it ever becomes any better. I can't say I blame the retailers.. more and more shelf clearers and
Rude couponers are ruining the whole couponing craze. When did couponing turn into blood thirsty sport? I have said this before. and I'll say it again...: greed of the few.. takes away the $avings of the honest majority' ...
Whether we like it or not.. the cashiers look at us all little differently now even our favorites!


Just recently, I went to do the Jewel pop deal. I tried using two $2 coupons on four cases of pop, but the cashier said I could only use one. It said per purchase in small print. Since I had to buy four for the deal, I couldn't split it up. I'm pretty sure he was wrong because I had four purchases and one transaction. I didn't want to argue with him, but I lost $6 in coupons with the rest of the pop that I bought because of this. I also have a large family and a graduation party coming up as well. It's really frustrating.


Well, I'm sorry to say it sounds like he was right. A purchase is a transaction. I guess he wouldn't let you pay separetely? It's like you have to leave and come back to do it. If that is what people have to do, they might as well let you split it up while you're there. It boggles my mind that he would sit there and read the coupon as people wait to check out. Just scan it, if it scans it scans. Geez. I'm lucky my grocery stores just scans my coupons, they don't sit there and read them all. Get a life cashiers! Your just a minimum wage cashier, get over it! Scan the coupons!

purchase - go back now to CS, Jewel allows that

purchase is the item you buy - transaction is all the items you buy in one, well, transaction. A colleague or customer service would have straightened her up. Jewel is usually good about that. OR NOW, you can go back to Jewel customer service and tell them you did not use 3 Qs with the receipt and they will give you cash. They are excellent about that, they do not bat an eye. I always do that when I forget Qs.

At Meijers once, the cashier told me I could only use one Q because of that, and I explained her the difference between purchase and transaction - she said "I know" and proceeded to scan the coupon so she was just trying to give me a hard time for no good reason and backed off immediately. I do not know what to call that behaviour.

Selfish Cashier

Selfish cashier that needs to get a life is what you call that attitude.


They really seem to be scrutinizing every coupon. Yesterday at Wags, after I gave the cashier the money for my order, he stopped and reviewed my receipt and coupons once more before giving me my change. I guess he couldn't believe how much I was saving and wanted to be sure it was legit. I felt a little awkward standing there with people in line behind me, while he carefully reviewed my order.

It feels like harassment..

I understand that the stores have the right to refuse coupons and look them over stc..but I am not liking the rudeness..I also had a cashier stand and stare at me when I was using the self check out at one point she came over to me nd said "I'd likeo kow where your getting all these coupons because you have more coupons than products!" Which was wrong, I told her I have 1 coupon for every item purchased. I think it borders on harassment.

When I was in Shaws I had another shopper say WOW it's like extreme which the cashier replied .."not in here"....It is like you are taking money out of their pocket why do they care if you are saving money?

I had anothere cashier at WAG when I tried to explain how the BOGO at WAG with a BOGO mfg coupon works..say Whatever I really don't care and neither does Walgreens...nice attitude..

Anyway I am going to say something next time I don't feel I should be treated any differentley because I am using coupons..maybe if I get the manager involved they will stop being so rude..


Yes, let the manager know about the rude cashier comments. They shouldn't treat people badly because they have coupons.

So far I haven't had any rude

So far I haven't had any rude cashiers, but you are right that they do scrutinize coupons, and it takes forever. What really bugs me is that most mistakes are made by stores, and they always make it so difficult, like the time that I was supposed to get $5 RR at Walgreen's, the Catalina coupon didn't print out, I asked why, and only after I said I would return the product, the cashier called the manager who apologized and said that this was a Walgreen's mistake and Corporate had told them to give a $5 refund because the Catalina issue had been going on all week!

I was actually stopped once at a grocery store after self-check-out, although the coupons were supposed to be scanned (and were scanned) by an employee there as was the rule. She said she didn't understand why I paid $21 and had gotten so many groceries! She then added "But you got a bunch of things on sale and combined them with coupons, right?" Needless to say, I wasn't clearing shelves or anything, besides, this is impossible at the specific store which put limits on purchases.

Great video...

Just watched your Nightline video. Loved your approach to the challenge!

Thank you

Remember that was filmed in March, 2010, long before the Extreme Couponing show was a thought in anybody's mind... but even then it was important to me to show my actual shopping trip for the week, with meat, produce and healthier foods too -- instead of doing a crazy "what can I get free" kind of thing. (Link to my Nightline shopping list.)

Anyone can order 100 of the same coupon from a clipping service and have a great "TV trip," but those kinds of television segments rarely include anything about the cost (or ethics/legality) of buying that many identical coupons to create such a trip. And, unrealistic trips really don't help or encourage others how to save with coupons.

Only been Super-couponing for

Only been Super-couponing for about a month and although I find this all very interesting sometimes I wonder if we've come to couponing too late. It really does feel like the rug will be pulled out from under us just as we're finally learning to do it the right way. The more success we've had makes me realize of couponing on an extreme level isn't needed to make a big impact on your budget. I'll be the first to admit that we we're always doing it the right way. Early on before we understood how to work coupons we did shady things like give the cashier one too many or try to slip in an expired one. We did those things out of sheer frustration and miseducation. Now, after learning more from Jill and other common sense ethical couponers in a few short weeks we've bought enough soap and deodorant to last the better part of the year for little more than sales tax and after only buying two or three papers a week. Us new Qers are excited about the future and I sure hope opportunities to do things like like this don't disappear.

Jill, I wish you would start

Jill, I wish you would start addressing the dirty little secrets that keep your average customer from getting a single item much less actually using their coupons.

The special orders for only special people and the illegal activities that go on to gain thousands of free inserts a week.
These shelf clearers are not only wiping shelves but they are wiping out warehouses. This causes other stores not to be able to receive even basic amounts of product. Often times the store managers are in on this because it's boost their store sales.
Employees of newspapers have strict guidelines that are being ignored for financial gain. Where do the thousands of free inserts come from each week? I can assure you it's not GPS, Gods Postal Service!
This is a mutli step scam that starts with improperly gaining inserts and ending with flea market and stockpile sales.
These folks brag that they are making thousands upon thousands a year and not reporting this to the IRS.
They brag on their tax free high lifestyle and even bragging on vacations, designer clothes, and even private school, all gained by shady dealings that involve everything from shelf clearing to reselling.

There is a new TV add stating that P&G is a "Proud Sponsor Of Moms".
My foot! They are proud sponsors of flea market booths. The little mom coupon shopper gets nothing but empty shelves!
The notes on the bottom of P&G coupons have done nothing to help.
Customers simply do multiple transactions or ignore the wording.
The only way to atop this is to stop the newspaper employees from getting thousands of free insets each week.

There are so many issues that are not deeply being covered in the media such as major overage, cash back from coupons at Walmart, and even so me customers hiding merchandise in the store in stashes!
Even coupon sites need to be investigated. Any members who point out abuse and fraud are banned secretly behind the scenes. These mods clean up the mess, delete the posts, and leave the shady coaching for the world to see. It's time these sites were held accountable for the shady they do behind the scenes.

The shady things that go on are too many to list here.

To address the specific issue

To address the specific issue of stolen inserts, here's something I posted on another forum yesterday:

Call News America Marketing (distributes Smart Source) 1-800-462-0852

Call Valassis (distribues Red Plum) 800.437.0479

P&G has not been responsive to my calls about their inserts.

News America and Valassis appreciate input from consumers. If you suspect someone is stealing inserts, they will be very interested in talking to you. They WILL investigate. I work with those 2 companies pretty often and theft of their coupon inserts seriously impacts their bottom line. It's pretty hard to convince advertisers to put high value Qs in their inserts if they are just going to be stolen, sold, and over-redeemed. The manus pay to be in SS and RP, they have already lost some large advertisers and many others have REALLY dialed back.

So, if you have the time, make those calls.

Thanks for this info! :) I

Thanks for this info! :) I did complain to P&G whose reps kept sending me idiotic emails back saying "Thanks for being interested in our products, you'll find our insert in your local paper". We kept going back and forth like that until I asked them if they wanted me to report to senior management that their reps lack basic reading comprehension skills. They then sent me their corporate address (which I already had) and two very valuable coupons by mail for ... heartburn meds!! Now they probably thought I am a deranged person who was soliciting more inserts for free, and that they were going to get rid of me by sending me coupons for things few people need. This was obviously not the case because a) I wouldn't go into so much trouble and lie thereby losing my dignity, and b) I happen to suffer from terrible GERD, so the coupons ended up being supremely valuable to me after all!! lol

Seriously now, I think the only way to stop people from stealing is this:

1) Place the Sunday paper near cashiers and NOT allow people to pick it up first, go shopping, presumably steal the inserts, then check out and "replace" the paper.

2) Pick up a few thieves and prosecute them for shoplifting.

3) CIC and law enforcement investigate two of the women from Extreme Couponing who are obviously breaking the law: the one who was plundering papers from "foreclosed properties" and the one who had thousands and thousands of inserts that she claims "God" sends her. I am 1000% certain they will discover foul play. The two get prosecuted, they become an example for the rest.

4) Viewers boycott TLC completely. Which will not happen because most people will continue watching the show, ostensibly to become indignant at those people, in reality to get ideas. So OK, perhaps only a few of them will actually imitate some of the criminals featured in this true crime series, but the rest in order to get ideas.


You're forgetting that the lady who gets the coupons from god donated alot of that stuff to church and charity. It was also mentioned that people donate inserts to her because she uses them to donate and do good with them. The stores get paid the value of the coupon so it's not stealing from the stores. Many people don't use their inserts so it balances out in a way. So many inserts end up in the trash so if someone gets extra, so what. There's still plenty left. The papers outside of the foreclosed homes would end up in the trash so the lady picking them up may be getting the inserts, but I'm sure the rest of the paper gets put in the recycle bin, thus helping us. When I find a sale product sold out, I have never thought a couponer came and took it all. I just figured the store didn't order enough or alot of people got the item. Think how many people shop for sale items. I have bought several sale items before because it was on sale and didn't use coupons. Gain detergent was on sale at my store this week. There was 1 powder left and several liquids. I took the last powder and a couple of liquids. Am I evil for getting the last powder detergent? Even worse, getting 3 detergents! When I ask for more of something missing, the store clerk never tells me a couponer took it all, they always say, well it was on sale and we ran out. People buy sale items, that's why they dissappear. They hope people buy regular price items too, but if your tight on money you only buy sale items. Doesn't make you evil. Oh yeah, and don't forget the ladies who get the cat food and donate it all to the animal shelters! They are saving cats lives. Many cats get put to sleep because the shelter can't afford to keep feeding them. Do you think that's also wrong? If there are thousands of inserts getting stolen like you say, there clearly must be a surplus. They will most likely go in the trash, so what's the problem? No, I'm not a couponer, but do use them occasionally so no, I'm not defending them because I do it too. I think if people are mad it's because they are jelous that they pay more then them.

Working on a story about this...

One thing many, many people have written to ask is, "Why do the stores and manufacturers even care? Don't they just want to sell lots of product?" I will be addressing this in a future story for the blog, hopefully this week (schedule permitting.)

Thank you Jill! You are truly appreciated. :)

I just want to say I am looking forward to your next article. :) As for TLC's show, I wish they'd cancel it. I feel it's doing more harm than good. Thank you for being who you are and for teaching the legal/legit/correct way to coupon. You are appreciated! :)

I can't wait for this story.

I can't wait for this story. Sometime I feel like your the only one willing to speak out.
Thanks for all your hard work!

The ONLY way to put a stop to shelf clearing is to do your homework and REPORT to places you never thought to.
Your going to have to contact:

-the newspapers where the thousands of inserts were illegal obtained each week.
There is a reason those inserts were kept under lock and key. This must be reported to the newspapers and the mf that issued the coupon.

-the retail store that is acting like a wholesaler by allowing special orders to special people. The managers are in on this scam as well. Wiping out shelves and warehouses is wrong and must be reported. Other stores can't get shipments due to the warehouse clearing.

-resellers, deal with them. start reporting flea markers and stockpile sellers. When they brag on their tax free luxurious lifestyle then it's time to report them.

-coupon clipper sites-where do you think they obtain their coupons, duh?
Report them to their newspapers, the CIC, Bud Miller, and anyone you can think of.

-braggers- when you see braggers on sites, take notes. They provide a LOT of useful info on themselves.

-coupon websites- have you noticed that posters that point out abuse and fraud are quietly banned behind the scenes? Did you notice how they clean up the site and remove all the abuse complaints but leave the abuse tutorials up? Report them as well.
Mods and site owners have gotten away with this for years. It PAYS to house the scammers. Go to any website value site and type in the name of your favorite coupon site. Look at what they make per month? Now do you see why they house the scammers???

Until people stand up and do the work, these scammers will take every product and laugh while you sit with your uncut unusable coupons.


the retail store that is acting like a wholesaler by allowing special orders to special people. The managers are in on this scam as well. Wiping out shelves and warehouses is wrong and must be reported. Other stores can't get shipments due to the warehouse clearing.

This comment is inappropriate because I order cases of goat milk at my store because I get a 10% discount for buying a case. One time a flavor of peanut butter was missing and my store ordered me a case which I thought was very nice. You can't say stores are doing bad by ordering things for people. What about people having parties that would like to order alot of drinks? You can't say stores shouldn't order things for people.

Using coupons is not stealing.

I have cleared out a clearance shelf before because it was really cheap and I did not have coupons.
I can't imagine warehouses are going empty because of coupons and if they are, I'm sure they are still making money so they must be happy when they run out.

ABC News

Congratulations to you, Jill. You were wonderful last evening on ABC World News with David Muir, it was awesome seeing you! I also liked how they mentioned in the segment that TLC featured people who may not have been using coupons as they should and "it was being looked into"... Thank you Jill for helping so many people and teaching us how it can be done honestly.


I had no idea ABC was re-airing year-old video footage of me though, until people started emailing saying they saw me on TV again..!

And it's kind of dubious having them mention my name, then go into an Extreme Couponing story and how stores are reacting to "us." Those who haven't seen the original Nightline segment and only saw this piece might mistakenly assume I was part of the EC show.

Definitely a heads-up for anyone who's filmed for a news piece: The network owns the footage, and if they want to use it down the line for something else, they can - even if the next story has nothing to do with what you shot the footage for.

You're appreciated

Jill, I think most everyone who cares about that segment enough will know who you are and know that you aren't a scammer. It's a bit shady of ABC, but I don't think they dragged your name in the dirt. Anyone who does coupons, knows Jill.