As you all know, I love, l-o-v-e, LOVE couponing. It has truly brought a world of plenty to my home today and for the future when food may be in short supply. It’s almost like a fairytale for me when I go into a store, load up my grocery cart, and leave with supplies for me and others that I paid less than 20% of their original cost for. But just as in every fairy tale, there are always the fire breathing dragons or wicked witches who make things tough on the heroes and heroines. Today’s article is to warn you of the fairytale nemeses in all of their ugly forms.
Villain of the Coupon World #1. First of all, I love it when I go into a store and see a tear pad of coupons offering to send me money in the mail if I simply buy what I already planned on buying. For example, Albertson’s had lobsters on sale for only $5 each. That’s a heck of a lot better than any seafood restaurant is going to charge me and I can assure you that I won’t overcook the little buddies. So I bought them—and even paid for them with $10 worth of Albertson’s store coupons which I had received on previous shopping ventures. I then sent in my receipt to Budweiser Beer and received a $10 rebate in the mail 5 weeks later. Yup. Even though I didn’t buy a drop of alcohol, Budweiser bought my lobsters for me. Where the wicked witch comes in though is when she goes by the same tear pad in the store and feels that she could make an easy buck by stealing the entire tear pad and selling it on e-bay. As a result, only a few of us fairy princesses got to take advantage of that deal. This is why some stores have to keep all of the tear pads at the customer service counter—to keep them out of the hands of the wicked witches in the world.
Villain of the Coupon World #2. Next, you have the villain in any fairytale that’s all about the power and profit. In the world of coupon fairytales, this is rampant. If you read the fine print of just about any coupon around, it clearly says that the coupon is NOT to be bought, sold, auctioned, etc. And yet there are countless villains who swipe and sell coupons. Unfortunately there are plenty of trusting heroines who naively purchase the poison apples. Some villains try to go so far as to say “we don’t sell coupons, we simply charge a handling fee.” Really? Then why is your “handling fee” based DIRECTLY upon the dollar value of the coupon? I mean does it really cost you more to “handle” a $1.10 off one item coupon than it does for you to “handle” a .55 cent off one item coupon? And if you really think about it, a drug dealer doesn’t sell drugs either. They only charge a handling fee. Right. Not only that, but when you buy coupons, you simply cannot trust where they have come from. Are they counterfeit? There is not a single household in the U.S. that is legitimately provided with 839 “.55 cent off Duncan Hines Cake Mix” coupons! So, my fair maidens, don’t buy coupons. You’re only keeping the villains in business and there is already plenty that you can do with what’s already FREELY available.
Villain of the Coupon World #3. Speaking of counterfeit, yes, there is always the ugly witch who attempts to pose as a beautiful princess, even in the coupon fairy tale. It is FRAUDULENT for you to copy a coupon. Coupons have a cash value. Just as it is a serious crime to copy U.S. currency, it is a COUNTERFEITING CRIME to copy your coupons. If a web site only allows you to print off two coupons per computer, then so be it. Worst case scenario, you can go to other cottages in your village and print coupons off of their computers. At least then you haven’t committed a crime.
Villain of the Coupon World #4. There is also the enchantress who attempts to cast a spell on you and make you believe that something is “free” when it truly is not. Don’t fall for it. Understand that if you have to PAY money in order to obtain something “for free” it is no longer for free. There are many villainous websites who “rate” or “score” savings levels when you use coupons. Be suspicious of the ones who mistakenly tell you that something is “free” simply because when you BUY one thing, you get a store credit or a rebate that you can later use on something else. That’s not free. That’s giving the store an interest-free loan until you remember and actually use the store credit you earned for the purchase or until they remember to send you your rebate check. If you’re not willing to take the money out of your pocket to obtain the so-called free item, then it’s not a purchase worth making. Don’t fall for the enchanted promises of something “free” in the future.
Villain of the Coupon World #5. Last, but definitely not least, there is always the villainous side-kick whose own ignorance and cowardice, combined with a smidgen of power, becomes your worst enemy. These folks tend to disguise themselves as cashiers for large corporate villages. Their ignorance is fostered in a village that is so large that no one attempts to educate or properly oversee the dealings of the townspeople with the coupon fairies. As such, they forget that if it wasn’t for the protection of the coupon fairies in the land today, 14% of all grocery retail and food manufacturers would be crushed by the recession giant. Unfortunately, the sidekicks don’t know any better, and as a result they try to cast worthless spells on the townspeople such as “you can’t use this coupon on a trial sized item” or “you can’t use a store coupon with a manufacturers coupon” or worse “if your coupon beeps, it’s invalid.” Here’s a little trick, my coupon friends, to help you battle the Igor’s of this world. Arm yourself with the coupon policy of the village. When there seems to be some ridiculous statement brought up such as I’ve mentioned here, simply wave this magic piece of paper and it will usually rid you of any vexing. (By the way, the villages of Target and Wal-Mart have the largest population of villainous sidekicks in them. So always keep the village Coupon Policy on you when shopping there.)
Ultimately, I look at it this way. Couponing is just one more magical way that I have to provide for my family and others in the future. I really am not about to taint such a blessing by making use of ill-gotten gains—nor am I going to cower in the midst of a villainous threat. Arm yourself with knowledge of right and wrong, and then do right—period. I don’t know about you, but I can use all of the blessings I can get and with what I’m able to achieve legitimately, I already feel like there is truly enough and to spare.
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