Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Coupon Mania: The Bad Kind

Today I was checking out Gabe's blog and saw at the top this video from Earthfare. You know how much I love Earthfare and organic in general, you know how much I've loved saving money there. So it was with great sadness to learn they are having issues, especially the last few weeks, with people committing COUPON FRAUD.

They have multiple cases of people trying to take advantage of the weekly freebies 4, 6, even 8 times! Some have even purchased the item, changed clothes in the parking lot, and returned "in disguise." Really?! Who does that? I'll admit the free pizza and cheese deal was so tempting, I dragged a sick child into the store to get it. It's actually kindof a funny story if you need a laugh. But try to redeem more than one free offer? Never!

The coupons clearly state one coupon per person. Get your deal, say thank-you, and go home! Hopefully you'll value the freshness or quality enough that you'll return another time to purchase it again. But don't abuse the system. When you do, we all suffer.

According to this recent Wall Street Journal article, fraudulent coupons are not a big portion of coupons redeemed but they have increased 14% in the past year. Additionally 198 faulty coupons have been identified since late December--more than the previous decade combined! And if you're ever tempted to use bogus coupons, beware of these guys: the CIC, a non-profit fighting coupon fraud. They haven't lost a single case. You go!

Now I don't think Earthfare is battling fraudulent coupons. The coupons they email weekly CAN be printed multiple times and are often shared on lots of local coupon blogger sites. But just because you CAN print them multiple times doesn't mean you SHOULD. What Earthfare is dealing with is people abusing the system. And the more people who do that, the less likely they will share wonderful deals in the future. It's not worth a couple of extra pizzas--really!

While we're on the subject of coupon ethics, Katie had some great suggestions for making sure we all remain ethical when the dollar signs of savings are in our eyes. I'll admit I've been greedy with taking a few extra peelies off products in the past, but I've vowed to change my ways. Thanks for reading and being one of the good guys.

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