A lot of folks on the interwebs have been writing about TLC’s new show, Extreme Couponing, so I’ll keep this short… If you haven’t seen the show already and you have a fondness for watching train wrecks, it’s a must see. These people are nuts.
The extreme couponers featured on the show spend up to 40 hours per week clipping coupons and planning their shopping trips. Many of them order coupons from special clipping services. Others wander all over town rounding up unwanted newspapers in order to amass their coupon collections. One woman even goes dumpster diving (along with her children), to recover coupons discarded by others.
These nutjobs achieve pretty spectacular savings of 90% or more for their efforts. They shop at grocery stores that will double or triple the value of the coupons, and they take advantage of items that are already on sale. Often, they end up getting items for free. This all sounds good, right? Why am I calling them nutjobs?
If you’ve seen the show, you get it. If not, trust me… They are NUTJOBS! First of all, this little hobby of theirs consumes their lives. Virtually all of their free time is spent figuring out how to get 600 toothbrushes for a penny a piece or how to get 90 cans of lima beans for free. Secondly, extreme couponers have ridiculous stockpiles of crap that they keep in their houses. Basically, these people are highly organized hoarders. Their garages are filled with row after row of shelves stocked with lifetime supplies of canned food and toiletries.
The strangest part of the whole thing is how protective these nutjobs are of their “stockpiles.” One would think that a person in possession of 2,000 sticks of deodorant might be willing to donate some to a local homeless shelter, but not so. Instead, they pay for supplemental insurance to protect their stockpiles. If they move across country, they spend thousands to relocate everything. When they take the cameraman through their stockpiles, the extreme couponers always have a weird look in their eyes… I’m just waiting for one of them to start running through their rows of shelving yelling “my precious!” in a super-creepy Gollum sort of way.
On the bright side, this show has made me feel slightly less bad about being lazy when it comes to couponing. It’s nice not to feel associated with these people in any way. Viva la sanity!