The coupons I want aren’t in my insert!
“I use two brands of laundry detergent made by the same manufacturer, and these brands’ coupons usually do not come in my insert. On the page where the coupon used to be, it now asks you to go print them. Those are the only coupons missing from that insert. I feel it is unfair that certain regions get the coupons and others have a one-time printable version that expires in a day.” — PATRICIA F.
“I have a friend who lives out West who is couponing, and I am, too. We talk about what coupons we get in the paper each week. Without fail, there are some different coupons every Sunday. Sometimes she gets higher dollar values than I do on her coupons, and sometimes she gets coupons for entirely different items. Why don’t we all just get the same coupons?” — KAYLA C.
It’s a common misconception that coupon inserts with the same names contain exactly the same coupons inside, no matter in which newspaper they appear – coast to coast. Manufacturers, brands and marketers regularly tailor their offers to specific markets. It’s obvious that coupons for regional products, such as brands and items that are only available in specific states, would only want their coupons to appear in those areas.
Market areas where stores routinely double coupons may also have different dollar value offers than areas that do not double. For example, in parts of the country where coupon values are doubled, manufacturers may offer different dollar amounts to either encourage or discourage doubling. For example, in an area where stores doubles coupons up to 50 cents in value, manufacturers who don’t want their coupons doubled
may issue a 55-cent coupon.
(Here’s a fact many shoppers don’t know: Stores that double coupons typically pay for the doubled value themselves. The manufacturer does not pay for the doubled value. So, a 50-cent coupon would double to $1 in value at the register, but the store itself pays for that extra 50-cent value. A 55-cent coupon that doesn’t double protects the store from paying additional doubling value.)
Additionally, brands may offer coupons for the same product with different dollar values depending on the publication in which they appear. I receive two Sunday papers each week: One that’s published locally, and one that is our major metropolitan city paper. Both papers often have different dollar amounts for the same coupons inside or, at times, completely different offers for different brands. I like to maximize my savings, as well as read both papers, so I subscribe to both.
With regard to the practice of a manufacturer printing a full-page ad where laundry detergent coupons used to appear, then instructing the reader to go online to print coupons, this is a tactic specifically being used to combat coupon resale in areas affected by this kind of coupon fraud. While coupons state in their own fine print that they are void if sold, there is unfortunately a black market of sorts where people buy and sell coupons online. While brands want to provide their coupons to consumers who wish to redeem them, they also want to discourage coupon theft at the distribution level. Sadly, if you see coupons for sale online, it’s highly likely those coupon inserts were stolen from a newspaper distribution center. There have been many coupon theft cases in the news over the past few years where people caught in the act have confessed that they were stealing the coupons for resale.
I’ve pointed out for many years now that coupons are a privilege, not a right. Brands do not have to issue discounts to us. If a brand continually finds that its coupons are being used fraudulently, they have every right to limit distribution of their own coupons. While I understand that it is not nearly as convenient to head online to print the same coupons that used to appear in your newspaper inserts, I’m glad the brands involved do continue to make these coupons available in some format versus eliminating them completely.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo. com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to email@example.com.