What a surprise. Extreme sells!
Entertainment Weekly announced today that TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” has been picked up for a 12-episode season. The fallout around the web since the show’s initial airing has been interesting, to say the least:
MSN Money: Frugality meets “Hoarders”
Budget Confidential: I was really optimistic about this show. I thought TLC would be be airing a program that would offer practical tips and tricks for using coupons to save, and even make, money. They didn’t. There was no practical advice to be had. Instead, they aired a program that exploited the lives of four people. And they have portrayed couponing as a hobby for crazy people.
Obsessive Coupon Disorder: It would have been better if the show portrayed more savvy and consumer-smart shoppers…
Buddy TV: Extreme couponers are complete menaces to grocery stores. One took two and a half hours to check out and filled nine carts that the grocery store employees helped push around.
The Happy Housewife: I understand that television makes its money by sensationalizing stories, but even if you leave out all the dumpster diving and 1,000′s of sticks of deodorant this show bothered me… These people saved big money, but I didn’t see a whole lot of fruit, vegetables or meat in their cart. The majority of what these people were buying were processed foods, soda, cereal, and toiletries.
Cincinnati Coupons: Because of these “extreme couponers” it gives you and I a bad rap. I can no longer go to my local Kroger store because the NEW manager thinks that when I place a special order that I’m going to sell the products at a garage sale. Please… let me know what stores let you special order 1,100 boxes of cereal or even the 300 toothbrushes! I can’t even order 60 Crest Toothpastes!
Hip 2 Save: To me a great show on couponing would be a show that is teaching the average person how to coupon. A person that doesn’t have 70 hours a week to scour ads and clip coupons, a person that doesn’t have access to an entire garage to store all of their “goods”… and really, who needs that many “goods”?! It’s called reality TV… but in my opinion, it’s definitely not realistic.
If “Extreme Couponing” continues in its over-the-top fashion, what are the repercussions going to be for the way general, “normal” coupon shoppers are perceived, both by manufacturers and retailers? Without even getting into the increased scrutiny the average shopper may receive at checkout, you can definitely expect to see many more limits on the number of like coupons manufacturers allow per transaction. (Procter and Gamble began limiting theirs to 4 like coupons per person back in September 2010.) Purchase limits “per-shopper, per-day” may soon become the norm as stores and manufacturers both try to curb shelf-clearing and potential reselling.
Best-case scenario? Now that the show’s been picked up, “Extreme Couponing” could focus on coupon shoppers who are at the top of their games, with a dose of coupon education thrown in… but then, could it really be called “Extreme?”
TLC issued a press release today which, if the words “shocking stockpiles” are any indication, would indicate that the show will continue it its current vein:
Each of the series’ 12 half-hour episodes introduces viewers to America’s most extreme “super couponers,” sharing why they are so driven by the deals and witnessing their amazing couponing ways firsthand. From seeing their shocking stockpiles of merchandise they rack up to demonstrating their dramatic shopping skills, EXTREME COUPONING shares the world of everyday people in pursuit of extraordinary deals.
The network also released another clip from the show today on YouTube, featuring Joyce, who, from what I’ve seen, came across as the most reasonable shopper of the bunch:
(Disclosure: I haven’t seen the entire show yet! When I spoke to Carrie Kirby of the Chicago Tribune about the show, she confessed she hadn’t seen it either, writing, “we both laughed when we realized that neither of us would be watching. Frugalistas don’t pay for cable!”)
Top image from TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” used under Creative Commons license.
If you’ve arrived here while searching for information on “Extreme Couponing,” welcome! You may enjoy my previous post on this topic, Why I’m not featured on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” special. And, if you’re seeking information on how to learn to save 50-70% on your grocery bill each week without spending more than an hour a week, or filling your house with a crazy amount of groceries, my Super-Couponing Workshop is for you! It’s available on DVD, or attend a FREE live workshop.