The Coupon Carbon Footprint

9 May


Has anyone noticed we have gone completely coupon crazy?  What started as a simple marketing technique is now out of control. 

I’m sure somehow the mass quantity and variety of coupons available is a sign of the impending downfall of capitalism.  Coupons are the insidious seed of discontent in our society; they feed our debilitating need to get more for less; slowly devaluating all we have and do in a discounted frenzy… In the very least, they are a messy, time consuming pain in the neck.

They’re also bad for the environment.  Has anyone calculated the coupon carbon footprint?  The piles and piles of messy paperwork?  The ink cartridges?  The plastic carry cases?  Let’s not overlook the cost of lost work time, family time, and general productivity that can be attributed to all this sitting around searching, sorting, clipping and printing coupons.

How does one even have time to shop after sifting through the mounds of coupons from the paper, the internet, and the mail?

And for all you condescending coupon carriers – how do you know you have the best coupon?  Maybe someone else is getting 75 cents off their can of beans and you’re only saving a measly 50 cents. 

I could be using my 40% off one item coupon plus my 10% off member credit AND a $100 gift card from my new bank (et tu Brutus?); and you only have a 25% off VIP shopper card plus a $5.00 off coupon from the paper?  Hmmm?  Now how do you feel? 

My new trick is to ask the sales clerk if they have a coupon.  Sometimes I go so far as to infer I have forgotten my coupon.   The clerk usually sifts through the papers by his or her register, or pulls a magic discount code from her drawer, and – voila!  I save a bundle.

Recently when having a work truck serviced, I used the ole “I forgot my coupon trick” (I like to dig through my giant purse while asking, I think it adds credibility).  A few quibbles later and I had saved $250 on shock absorbers with a coupon I didn’t even have!  

Same trick at the fabric store; I was rung up for $95 worth of foam padding that was reduced to $65 thanks to the magic coupon the clerk scanned from her drawer (yes, I am building myself a padded room).

Obviously I am not a coupon clipper, and paying more than my coupon cavorting compatriots is maddening.  It contributes to my not-so paranoid delusion that every business, bank and broker out there is trying to rip me off. 

This current craze feels like a double whammy; a one two punch to my time and budget, when I’m already drowning in a sea of information overload.

We have three boys who seem to either consume or destroy everything in their path; we run two small businesses from our house; and the dog that was supposed to be 65 pounds (according to the shelter) is 120 pounds.  So despite my distaste for consumerism, I spend a lot of time on the frontline – or the check-out line as the case may be – and I’m here to tell you – it’s ridiculous.

I’m going to start a group called “Poop-On,” as in poop-on your coupon.  Members will agree never to use coupons.  Participating businesses will agree to sell their products for the price on the tag, or the menu, or on the price list; any daily specials, discounts, sales, promotions etc. will be given to anyone purchasing the product that day.  No paperwork, membership files or portfolios needed. 

Participating business can use a symbol, like a little brown pile of poop inside a circle with an x through it, to indicate they are members of Poop On and don’t participate in the… bull-oney.  

The little symbol (no poop here) will give shoppers the peace of mind to know there are no coupons available for the establishment – just by being a customer they will get the best deal.

But will Poop On be enough?  Do we need shop out days?  Must we take to the streets like in Egypt? 

Or how about a coupon for an honest upfront transaction from a business?  No sleight of the hand, no smoke and mirrors – just a product for a price.    How about that?  Can you send me one of those?  That one I’d clip and use.  

Next up:  Warranties


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