Does anyone else watch the show Extreme Couponing with a combination of awe and apprehension? Do you know what it is? It's a reality sort-of show that highlights extreme couponers - those people (actually, all women on the shows I've seen, no men - and I think there's a reason for this) who clip coupons, file coupons, compare sale flyers, and then bring their coupons/laptops/spread sheets to the grocery store where they emerge some 3-5 hours later having just scored $1,000 worth of groceries for something like $1.75.
Impressive? Absoutely. A little terrifying? At times, because these women are obsessive about matching up their coupons with deals and then either buying things they would never use (and then donating them to the needy, I guess), or stockpiling things they probably will never get through. The "stockpile" is the pride and joy of these women: usually a closet, sometimes a separate room altogether, filled with everything they've scored free or almost free. And yes, I admit I'm a little jealous, considering I spend over $100 almost every week on groceries. But I'm not sure I could break down and buy 25 deodorants just because they're .10 each, or 100 packets of dried noodles because they're .15 each. What on earth will one family do with 150 boxes of cereal? Or four shelves filled with hand soap?
This is where I think the extreme couponers border on hoarding. I really do. It becomes more about the deal than about buying things you need and will use. I think, honestly, having a huge stockpile, whether or not you use it, makes some people feel very secure, and maybe rightly so. But still. I do find it a little odd.
Here's the other thing: do these people buy produce or meat? I can't believe so, at least not on the show. Because those things are NEVER on sale with a coupon. And finally, with absoutely no disrespect to those people who are racking up 98% savings when they shop, not one person featured on the show has a full-time job. These women say they spend up to 30 hours a week clipping coupons and scoping out sales, and I believe it. But there's no way I would ever have time for that! (Thus my opinion as to why no men are featured on the show: they're out working 40+ hours a week while the women are home with the kids and the coupons).
OK, this post had nothing to do with writing. But I do find this relatively new fad of "extreme couponing" quite interesting. Thoughts?