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 Post subject: A legal "pyramid scheme" and other couponing tips
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:00 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:39 am
Posts: 13
I am not an extreme coupon-er (yet), but I can see how it becomes addicting.

I receive daily emails from all of the Groupon-like sites, and recently received one from Living Social for half off a $20 purchase at Whole Foods. I occasionally shop at WF and scooped up the deal right away. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Living Social offers a free deal if you share your unique link to three other people who also buy the deal. I sent it to friends I know that shop WF, and also posted it to my Facebook and within minutes three friends also purchased the deal! My deal is free! Check out the “pyramid scheme” for yourself http://livingsocial.com/deals/how_it_works

Additionally, three friends and I were deciding on a place to eat last night and three restaurants were suggested. I went to the Facebook pages of each restaurant and found one of the restaurants offered a free appetizer for “liking” the page. Decision made! With the huge free appetizer for the table, the rolls that the restaurant offered, the water that I drank (I can’t drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages because I’m pregnant), and the soup I ordered, I only paid $7 for my share of the meal.

Small victories in frugality!


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 Post subject: Re: A legal "pyramid scheme" and other couponing tips
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:41 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:28 am
Posts: 250
Location: Pittsburgh
Awesome job snatching up a great deal.

As an experienced couponer, I hope you are not striving to be like the people featured on the Extreme Couponing show. As a member of some coupon forums, I knew "Extreme" couponers existed. Although the show might glorify them, they are not respected by many involved with couponing. Some of their practices perpetuate fraud, and some of it is simply unethical.

Anyone that has an extreme couponer in their area knows that it often results in all couponers being treated poorly. There also was a recent article outlining how the TLC show has influenced both manufacturer and store coupon policies. A prime example of how greed of a minority negatively impacts the majority.

The show glorifies these people pushing 3 or 4 carts of free or near free items out of the store. Trust me, not all stores allow what these people get away with.

This is coming from someone with a respectible stockpile that was build gradually. You can get plenty of free items and even make a little money couponing without breaking any rules.


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 Post subject: Re: A legal "pyramid scheme" and other couponing tips
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:58 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:39 am
Posts: 13
DaveInPgh wrote:
Awesome job snatching up a great deal.

As an experienced couponer, I hope you are not striving to be like the people featured on the Extreme Couponing show. As a member of some coupon forums, I knew "Extreme" couponers existed. Although the show might glorify them, they are not respected by many involved with couponing. Some of their practices perpetuate fraud, and some of it is simply unethical.

Anyone that has an extreme couponer in their area knows that it often results in all couponers being treated poorly. There also was a recent article outlining how the TLC show has influenced both manufacturer and store coupon policies. A prime example of how greed of a minority negatively impacts the majority.

The show glorifies these people pushing 3 or 4 carts of free or near free items out of the store. Trust me, not all stores allow what these people get away with.

This is coming from someone with a respectible stockpile that was build gradually. You can get plenty of free items and even make a little money couponing without breaking any rules.


Wow, I never knew about the unethical behavior and its negative impact. Truthfully, I've never seen the show (only the commercials). I would call myself a coupon dabbler, but with these small victories, it helps me keeps my eyes open for more ways to save.


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 Post subject: Re: A legal "pyramid scheme" and other couponing tips
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:53 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:28 am
Posts: 250
Location: Pittsburgh
It is definitely a soapbox topic for me.

I will use CVS Drugstore as an example of the negative impact. If you are not familiar with CVS, they have a member card program that earns you Extra Care Bucks when you buy certain items. It is basically store money that can be used within 30 days. Some of their deals just give you a net discounted price. $2.99 for the item, get $2 ECB back, net price $.99. Some of their deals net out to $0. $2.99 for the item, get $2.99 ECB back, net price FREE. If you have a coupon for that particular item, you end up making money.

A couple years ago, many of these FREE deals would have a limit of 5 per card. I would walk out of there with 5 tubes of toothpaste one week, 5 deodorant another week. Some weeks there would be several of these deals at once. Pretty awesome if you ask me. Like I said, that was a couple years ago.

What happened to the deals? The greed of extreme couponers. The genereous limits wasn't good enough. They opened cards in family members names, and many even bragged that they had cards for their dog or cat. That caused CVS to change the program to "per household". That just led people to find ways to use multiple addresses. That eventually led to limits being reduced, which are now most often 1. And their FREE deals are not as frequent either.

So instead of being happy with 5 free or moneymaker items, they bled the store for what they could and eventually ruined it for everyone. Of course that doesn't phase them because they have rooms dedicated to all their loot.

If you don't already, I recommend searching the internet for deals for your local drug & grocery stores. Most often you can find deal information a week or more in advance of the sale. Gives you time to make your shopping list. Just make sure you go to the store when they open their doors when the sale starts. Otherwise the shelf for the free item you wanted might be clear already.


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 Post subject: Re: A legal "pyramid scheme" and other couponing tips
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:17 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1627
Location: Seattle, WA
In the example case - Living Social deal for Whole Foods - the (a) downside of pyramid schemes was clearly illustrated. That is the effect of saturation. The coupons sold out before any of my friends had a chance to buy one using my referral link! :P


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 Post subject: Re: A legal "pyramid scheme" and other couponing tips
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:18 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:28 am
Posts: 250
Location: Pittsburgh
Check out this article.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44493132/ns/business-retail/t/extreme-couponing-sparks-backlash/


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