Grocery Stores Are Taking Extreme Measures Against Extreme Couponing

By Mike Pomranz |

© Carsten Reisinger / Alamy

Extreme couponing is one of those activities that might have disappeared years ago had it not been thrust into the public spotlight by a bad reality show. But a small subset of crazy deal hunters who clip pounds of coupons and probably buy things they don’t even need (eight pallets of yogurt—really?) just to see how much they can save at the grocery store have persisted to the point that one supermarket chain has had enough.

Publix, which has more than 1,000 locations in six Southern states, is cracking down on the practice. They’re implanting such Draconian measures as telling customers they can use only eight of a single coupon.

But if you find that change egregious, you’ll probably also be upset with a few of Publix’s other adjustments. The company said it will start enforcing the idea of a “household,” meaning shoppers can’t have their kids pass off extra coupons to clerks. Dollar-off coupons are now restricted to two per day, and coupons of $5 or more will need manager approval.

Even couponing veterans appeared to be getting fed up. The site True Couponing wrote about the Publix policy change, saying, “Let us just say that we agree with these clarifications made to the coupon policy. We receive a load of feedback from readers and we knew too much ABUSE was happening.” When people who run a couponing blog think you’re out of control, you’re out of control.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Publix officials said, “the changes were made based on customer feedback and research,” though the officials “declined to elaborate.” If they did decide to elaborate, however, they’d probably point out that their research indicates they make more money when customers pay full price.

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