Tuesday, April 17, 2012


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Yesterday afternoon, husband and I went to a popular clothing store to try and use up a coupon we had from previous purchases.  Of course if that 50% off discount applied last time, we wouldn't have had to make a second trip in as many weekends.  That was the point though, wasn't it?  To try and get us to return to that store for another round of spending money.  That got me thinking about coupons in general.

Where did the idea of coupons come from?  A bit of research has shown that it was the brainchild of an American businessman named Asa Candler, who used the concept to sell more Coca Cola.  The idea took off like wildfire, especially during those lean Depression years.

However, the popularity and relevance of coupons seem to have declined since the 1990's.  Having a physical piece of paper that was diligently cut on the dotted lines has become a bygone notion.  Do we not want to save money anymore?  We currently live in the most frenzied spending society, one based on heavy personal debt.  So why not go through those magazines, weekly flyers and newspapers for some savings?

I can see that we may not want to hold little pieces of paper in our hands, but we still want to save money.  Now I see that retailers have "preferred customer cards" whereby after your 11 millionth cup of designer coffee, you can get one micro sized cup beverage for free.  Or if you chose to sign up on an email list, you can receive discount vouchers on a regular basis.  This means that your personal information has gone to third party companies who pay to gather names and numbers for their own purposes.

Swinging to the opposite end of the spectrum... I watched a recent episode of a prime time television drama which featured a storyline of an extreme couponer who was murdered because of her obsession.  She was found with piles of coupons stuffed into her bra.  I've also seen daytime talk shows featuring these over-the-top thrifty types.  Considered another form of O.C.D. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), this type of behaviour is considered way out of control by many.

On the whole, I suppose our ever disposable society without patience has decided to discard the notion of collecting coupons.  It's too much work and we'd only save 50 cents or so on a household product, so why bother?  The whole concept of retail seems to have changed, so we along with it.  That could be one reason for the decline of couponing.  It could also be that this is yet another of those old fashions ideas/traditions that just hasn't quite survived the new millennium.

What do you think readers?



Anonymous said...

Hi Carol, I love your blog :)
I have only recently been on a thrifty streak (being older and realizing that money could be spent elsewhere)I just wanted to offer a suggestion, if you have a product coupon why not try to use it when your grocery store is having a sale? They will accept a manufacturers coupon even if the item is offered at a discount in the store, not very exciting I know, but can save you several dollars that you can use to buy a fabulous vintage dress!

Some Like it Vintage.com said...

Thanks for the idea! Always happy to have extra $$ for vintage dresses :-)