Issues with Extreme Couponing

Did you watch the TLC Extreme Couponing shows? If you did, you are not alone. The post I wrote about Extreme Couponing in Canada- Is TLC Extreme Couponing Possible in Canada?   remains one of the most popular posts here on Money Saving Canadian Mom.

I definitely have mixed feelings about the show.   I think that it's great that it showed consumers that you CAN save money with coupons.  But I have to say that it made "couponers"  look like a bunch of hoarding crazy people.

Since there were several accounts of coupon misuse and coupon fraud on the show it has made using coupons, even here in Canada a bit more difficult. There are now more restrictions on coupons such as:
  • Coupons stating that they can not be stacked (for those who shop at London Drugs)
  • Limiting the amount of like coupons
  • A lot more stores just flat out don't take printable coupons anymore
  • More in store rules about coupons usage.  See your local store for their coupon policies as they are sometimes store specific and can change often.
 You can read more about the TLC Extreme Couponing coupon misuse issues here  from the Coupon Information Corporation.
Since the show has aired I have stopped bringing my coupon binder to the store.  I now pull coupons I will use and paper clip them to my list and leave the binder in the car.  The general consensus is that if you have a coupon binder with you then you MUST be just like the people on the show.  Well, I'm not but I couldn't stand the dirty looks anymore.

I have even had issues with a few cashiers sighing and rolling their eyes when I give them coupons.  I'm not talking stacks of coupons, I'm talking about 6 or 7 coupons and absolutely legit Save.ca, Websaver.ca and Brandsaver.ca coupons.

 I just want to say to them ,"I'm here to shop at your store, but I want to save money for my family. Please don't give me a hard time, I'm trying to a courteous shopper here!" 

If you are a couponer, please make sure that:
  • Your coupons are legit
  • You check the expiry date
  • You purchase the correct product for the coupon
  • You follow the rules.  Some Brandsaver coupons now say  "Limit of 4 like coupons"
  • Don't be a shelf clearer, no one likes that!
  • Don't take peelie stickers off items if you are not purchasing them
  • If you do use a lot of coupons try not to shop on the busiest days,  usually Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Personally, I like to shop on Wednesday nights when the kid's are at Girl Guides.
  • Be polite to your cashier.  If a problem arises, politely ask to speak to the manager. 
Let's all try to raise the bar about couponers and set a good example out there!

Do you find that coupons are harder to use now? Please comment below.



  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I agree with you, I think it is sad how rude we end up being treated sometimes just because we save. I don't have any judgements for anyone as long as you follow the rules and are respectful why not save you and your family as much as you can!!!!!

  2. Thank you for this good information. Very interesting and usefull.

  3. Amen!
    yes, I'm seeing policy changes too! such a shame!

  4. I find it very hard to use coupons in Canada and also a very lengthy process. We are in Southwestern Ontario area. None of our stores now will take any printable coupons. That in itself is funny, as Sobeys is one of them that refused the printable coupons and it was the Sobeys head office that sent them to me. I complained and didn't hear a thing back from them so now I do not shop there. Also, even though I highlight the expirey date or underline it, the cashiers are not trained or equipped to deal with more than one or two coupons on a purchase. When I had coupons for free items, I would ask them to take the coupon at same time as the item so they wouldn't have to go back on the slip and try to find the price to take it off. No they all want to do it their way and you end up in line up to another 20 minutes and p' everyone off that is behind you. Wish there was a simpler way. We do go across to Kroeger once in a while in Michigan as we are close to the border and I like how you can load the coupons onto your Kroeger card and just swipe it at the check out. That would be a great idea for our Canadian stores. If you don't use all the coupons they stay on the card until they expire and then just magically disappear.

    1. I hear you! I wish we had the ability to put coupons on a card like the US does or at least have a system where cashiers could scan the coupons to speed up the process.

      Have you tried using printables at Walmart and Zehrs? I live in SW Ontario and my local stores take them.

      I just emailed Loblaws head office because the cashier(I think she was new) told me they don't take printable coupons anymore.
      Loblaws Head office emailed me back and said that they most definitely do accept printables and they called the store about it too.

      I worked in retail for several years and we were never trained in the ways of the coupon and interpretation was totally up to us. I wish stores would train all of their cashiers about their coupon policies, it would make life a lot easier!


  5. I've never understood the attitude that cashiers give sometimes. The company they work for puts a lot of time and thought into creating promotions to generate new business and make existing customers happy. All that is negated by a poor customer experience at the checkout.

    Poor communication between the marketing people and the store managers / human resources.

    1. I find on the whole most cashiers are OK. there are a few out there that make it feel as if you were stealing from them. Maybe they don't realize that their store will get the money back for these coupons plus a handling fee. Yes honey, your store is MAKING money by taking my coupons!

      I had a really bad experience at PetSmart recently using manufacture coupons from Purina(not printables either)

      The cashier kept shaking her head and saying "Unbeilievable" REALLY loud. I was so embarrassed and got out of there quick! Usually PetSmart cashiers are really great so maybe this cashier was having a bad day or maybe her panties were too tight, who knows :D