Whenever we go to Uncle Albertsons, Someone stops in the store to open an app and look for coupons. Someone regularly looks for coupons and his buying is influenced by what he finds.This drives me to distraction, for I am on a mission to buy what is planned and get out ASAP. When one is initially dating someone, one ought to ask some basic questions like are you a smoker/are you religious/which way to you vote/what do you find funny. ‘Do you clip coupons’ may be one to add to this list or crucial questions. I did not grow up in a ‘coupon-using’ household’ so I find the whole concept bewildering. To me, coupons seem suspect on two accounts:

A. They get you to buy things you weren’t wanting in the first place, now being bought on the grounds the coupon cuts the cost. For example, you are not intending to buy yellow gumdrops, but on the Albertsons app there is a coupon for 30% off, so you buy some.*

B. The money the manufacturer or store saves is passed onto others viz. Urs Truly, who doesn’t clip coupons.**

So far as I can tell, thems clipping coupons mostly do so to save money. Time is more valuable to than money for me, so the time used to browse the ads that regularly show in the post doesn’t seem worth few dollars the coupons may save me. Sometimes I am in the grocery checkout line behind a person (always a woman, I don’t see men with coupons) with a handful of clippings that accumulates to 5-10 dollars savings. I guess this could be an important savings for her budget. Sometimes this hypothesis is questioned after looking into her cart at the expensive imperial tidbits in she is purchasing. hohoho.

Another type of coupon-user is thems who feel good for paying less than others. In the early 90s, Robert the Roommate regularly bought a thick book of coupons for local restaurants and carry-out places. He did this not because he couldn’t afford to go out, nor was he originally planning to go to these places. With 15-20% off each purchase he felt good to do so. He called these coupon booklets “Jewish food stamps” and they often influenced what we would be eating on a weekend. ***

Apparently the process how store coupons work is a complicated time-consuming process I shan’t bore you with. It makes me wonder why on earth the maker of coupons bother, but I suppose ‘they work’ , otherwise why bother? Perhaps coupons are an overall ‘loss’ but not enough for thems who make them to scuttle the system. I know ‘anti-coupon’ types who feel their use supports a complicated exploitative system. I don’t follow the logic to this if anyone can help me out here.

Funny that while I never bother with using coupons, I enjoy delight in reading one of two blogs who regularly write about their use of coupons. These crafty dames obviously know how to work the system, clever girls they are! I wonder though do they start with wanting product “A” and go find the coupons for it, or they find a coupon for “A” and go buy “A” rather than “B”.

I will end this entry with an exception to my rule. Bloodbath and Beyond continually sends us coupons, which Someone collects in a drawer so when we want a kitchen gadget or something he scoops them up and applies all of them at checkout towards the purchase. I am grateful for this savings. I wonder how BBB manages to survive doing this sort of thing. Someone says they aren’t doing very well for this reason.

In the end coupons seem to be an intriguing combination of economics, psychology, and anthropology I find fascinating.

Do you use coupons?

Do you use them for things you wanted to buy or the other way around?

Does your Significant Other think you nuts for using or not using coupons?

*Based on a true story. Oh the pain.

**Pharmaceutical representatives are very big into providing coupons for their products. In theory the patient gets a free or heavily discounted first month. The process how they are activated and work sound even more complicated than the paper coupons process. I always have to hold my tongue not to say rather than coupons why not just lower the price to something reasonable for everybody?

***He assured me this was a very funny and acceptable expression at Temple. He made a comparison to Vics Vapor Rub as being called ‘A sacrament of the Lutheran church*. It still sounds awful and I would never use it. However, to this day when I use a coupon, I think of Robert, the dear !