Did That Really Just Happen?

March 4, 2010

Did that really just happen?

You know the story….you have planned, organized, and shopped a store and you head to the register to excitedly pay for your items when suddenly someone is rude, disrespectful, or demeaning because of the fact that you are using coupons. I have received so many emails and comments lately about the way people get treated while using coupons. First off, I just want to let you know….you are not alone, it has happened to just about every couponer that I know (if not literally EVERY couponer).

Whether it is the cashier or another shopper, it really doesn’t matter, does it? It can make you go from feeling so accomplished to down right sad, frustrated, upset or a combination of all three (hence the picture above). I am all too familiar with that feeling and can tell you my roughest encounter was when I was shopping at Super Target a few months ago and a mother with her teenage daughter came up behind me in line. All my stuff had already been rang up and the cashier was scanning my stack of coupons (I probably had about 50…so yes that is a lot). I always try to be polite by telling the person behind me that I have a lot of coupons that will take a while to scan and that time was no different…only the reaction was.

The mother smirked at me and then leaned into her daughter and said, “see honey that’s what happens when you are not responsible in life…you end up having to use coupons because you can’t afford to pay for stuff.” Ohhhhh…I was flaming mad inside and wanted to say sooooo many things that would not have been appropriate, but instead I smiled at her while she gazed back at me like she had just won the lottery and I said, “No honey, I use coupons because I have a deep respect for the hard-earned money my husband makes and for every one dollar coupon I use, is one dollar that stays in my pocket and not the retailers.” She never responded, and I wanted to tell her so many other things that proved I was responsible in my life, like:

  • How I went to college and graduated with a Bachelor degree when I was 22 and then proceeded to get my professional clear teaching credential, masters degree, and a GATE teaching certificate all by the time I was 27. And how I proudly walked across that stage to accept my MA degree while my newborn son and 3-year-old daughter were sitting in the audience with the rest of my family.
  • How I bought my first home when I was 22.
  • How I taught elementary school for five years and decided to quit when my son was born so I could stay home with my kids.

None of that was emotionally or physically easy, none of it was mentally or financially easy, but it was all because I WAS RESPONSIBLE! Right? I planned for those things and worked hard to achieve them!

So, while I can easily offer you my condolences and tell you it happens to all of us, I have a few other pieces of information that might make you feel even better! Did you know:

“Online coupon users have bigger households, are better educated, and are wealthier than the general population” according to the Coupons, Inc. Market Research Bureau.

“More than one-half of US Internet users with household incomes of at least $100,000 reported using online coupons. By contrast, only 30% of users with incomes under $25,000 used coupons” according to eMarketer.

Here are the percentage of coupon users at different income levels according to eMarketer

<$25K : 30%
$25K – $50K : 38%
$50K – $75K : 42%
$75K – $100K : 43%
$100K – $150K : 51%
$150K and over : 53%

I do my research….a learner by nature! I just wanted you to know that, YES it happens to all of us, YES it’s frustrating, and YES I wish I could come stand by each and every one of during times like that, but I can’t, so I leave you with that food for thought….you are smart, you are responsible, and you are saving and THAT is all that matters!

Have a FRUGALICIOUS day my fellow couponers!

PS: For those of you who have difficulty with cashiers, just kindlly remind them that for every coupon you use, the store gets an additional $.08 – $.10 handling fee. And for every coupon you use that is under the value of the product, they still get full value of the coupon from the manufacturer, so they are basically making more money off you than someone who just walks into the store and purchases something! So there :)

{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

51 cathy harrell August 12, 2010 at 11:15 am

How rude! She was probably just jealous anyway.

52 Coupon Gal June 2, 2010 at 10:32 am

Hi Sarah!!

Thanks for sharing your story. I think for some men they feel it is a pride thing and don’t want others to think they can’t provide for their families. I can relate to your situation believe me :)

You just keep doing what you know you need to do for your family! I’m here if you ever need to vent!!

Have a wonderful day!!

Coupon Gal

53 Sarah Davis May 28, 2010 at 10:03 am

I’ve been blessed to not have that kind of an experiance with couponing! I wish I could save like all ya’ll but my husband is the one who makes me feel bad using coupons! And its “his money” I’m trying to save for him to be able to go out with his friends and stuff on the weekend! He always complains about never getting to go out and always being broke and then doesn’t want to use coupons for things! So aggrivating! Thanks for the post!

54 Prissy April 6, 2010 at 12:40 am

OMG, Just when I thought I had heard it all. I swear some people just get more ignorant as the days go on. It’s really sad. I have had my fair share of encounters. And it’s really frustrating when you know that you have done nothing wrong. But cest le vie!!!!! Anyway, that’s why blogs such as yours keep us hardcore couponers going and looking for such wonderful deals!!!!!!!!!!!

55 Laura March 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I love this article I saw on thecouponproject.com that said that using coupons amounts to $100/hr. Tax-free. Couponers are pretty smart cookies!!

56 Katie March 10, 2010 at 9:44 am

love this. great job!

57 Suzanne March 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

“The Millionaire Next Door” is a great example of this. You don’t get rich by blowing all your money.

58 Suzanne March 9, 2010 at 10:51 am

I had a great experience at the store yesterday. The guy behind me in line actually said, “Wow, nice job with the coupons!”. That certainly made my day :-)

59 ALLY March 8, 2010 at 6:51 am


60 Jessica March 7, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Lol- love this post. :)

61 Patty A March 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I always get the dirty looks as well, particularly from certain cashiers. Those are the same cashiers that roll their eyes and sigh when I pull out my food stamp card (as a single mom graduating from college this May – I will be off them soon!! woohoo!). I have even been asked why I bother with the coupons since I have the FS, like I also don’t want to stretch that money …. craziness.

62 angela March 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

I had to make a comment about my extremely thrifty self. I do experience the people that get annoyed at my coupon usage. The person behind me I normally warn that it will take alot of time for the cashier to go through all of these coupons and they might want to go into another line. Walmart knows me so well that when I get into a cashiers line they shut down the line until the cashier is done with me, and then let that person go on break. Target does something similiar, but they think they are going to catch me doing something wrong and I usually fight with them for every cent. I normally have pitty on them, because if they just used coupons the way I do they wouldn’t have to work as hard. My son figured out that with the amount of money I save and the time it takes me to coupon that I make about $28 per hour. The best I have ever couponed is when my bill came to $411, yes that much, but I only paid $38 for the entire bill. the people that don’t use coupons are just plain stupid! Why spend more money and work twice as hard to get the same thing. My family has a better quality of life, since I decided to stay home and we have more expendible income with my frugalness than before I was stressed out working. So who is the dumb one the one working their butt off or the one that isn’t. Keep couponing!!!!!

63 Babychupes March 6, 2010 at 8:33 am

I empathize with you. I’m sorry this happened to you. But your stats are so on the mark. I live in a ritzy area of Los Angeles and I can tell you that the mommies that go to play group (driving their Range Rovers, Lexus, Mercedes….) are such couponers. They were super excited when I mentioned that you can stack coupons at various stores. Even more savings!!!
People who have money do so because they don’t spend it willy-nilly.
I read your blog frequently because I’m hoping one day you post a link to a 50% coupon to a new Beemer. ;-)
Keep on couponing and keep on blogging!

64 Heather W. March 6, 2010 at 8:21 am

Thank you for sharing this story. If anyone ever said that to me I would simply tell them that God wants me to be responsible with my money and use it wisely. Continue on doing a great job Coupon gal. God bless you for keeping it under control. Take care and know that you are not alone. I’ve had so many people think I’m wasting my time with coupons. I just tell them “If you only knew how much money I’ve saved over the years you’d have a heart attack.” :)

65 Kathryn March 6, 2010 at 7:28 am

Thanks so much for this, I have has several emails in the past month from my readers with their tales of woe, I have been through all of it. I am going to link this to my blog, thank you for sharing this!!!

66 Libby March 6, 2010 at 7:17 am

Couponers are also generous and give to charities because we get more than we can use! I sometimes think cashiers are jealous that they aren’t doing the same thing. I’m trying to be a good steward of the money that God has loaned me. I love using coupons also!

67 monica March 6, 2010 at 12:28 am

I’m glad I havent really had any negative experiences. Sometimes they’ll ask if I have an item before they scan the coupon, so I’ll just show it to them. Some cashiers already know me at the stores that I got to , so I don’t have much of a problem. Some cashiers actually ask where I get my coupons! I love it! :) There is nothing wrong with using coupons. I too went to college, got my MA and credential and we bought our own house… and I use coupons! It’s such an awesome feeling that I spend only a fraction of what I would pay if I didn’t have my coupons :) keep up the great work, ladies!

68 linda March 5, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Wow..you did great. I am single and actually do most of my couponing for charity due to the fact that there is no way I can use all of it. I haven’t had very many problems. One of the things I do is…a lot of small talk with the cashiers and even try to give them a few of my extra coupons, or my regular cashiers I actually bring them something I got for free. AS far as the rude people behind me…if I see something in their cart that i have a coupon for then i usually pull it out and give it to them. I always let people go in front of me in line if I can. And I don’t ever argue with the store…I realize that if they don’t want to take a certian coupon then tomorrow (or the next day etc.) there will be a different cashier and they will!! I just nicely say “I am getting most of this for charity and if the coupon won’t work then I will wait and get something different” (most of the time they will go ahead and give it to me).
I have a friend you argues and tells them to get the manager…and now everytime she goes into the store they are all defensive and ready to fight with her on every coupon she uses while at the same time, I am being rung up using the same coupons and laughing with the cashiers….Couponing is FUN, challenging and relaxing for me…and I plan on keeping it that way. There will always be people who don’t understand it, and I feel sorry for them, my goal is to help teach those willing to get interested in them..just think if 25% of people on food stamps started using them…wow it might even help some get off of gov. aid.

69 mama O March 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Love this story. BUT I must say that at my local grocery store the ladies are very sweet and even questions when I don’t have coupons for that week. (Some weeks I just plain don’t have time and yes it kills me when I know I could be saving more!) I love to use coupons!

70 Sandra March 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I love this post!! I am a coupon shopper myself and when I would tell about my deals, they thought I was crazy. My nephew is a CPA as was quiet interested. On his first shopping experience with me he had a trunk full of goods that he and his family used regularly. He spent less than $30.00 for $200 plus of goods. He shook his head and asked if you can do this why doen’t everyone do it. I simply replied most people spend money like they have it to burn(I am glad I am not one of them). Most of us couponers save thousands a year. What an easy way to make that IRA payment each year for that wonderful tax break.

71 tub March 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I am linking this post to my blog. I LOVE IT.

72 lolo March 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm

God bless you .I was wondering if I am the only one to feel that ,I was telling my husband that they hate me at target because of my coupons they are always rude about it and always looking down on me sometimes they make me feel like I am stealing because I use coupons and I’ll tell you if you think you have it bad try being a foreigner oh God they think you can’t understand the policy and can’t read and do not know anything and you get the looks of how cheap those people are I saw it all but I still use my coupons and I am a mother of three great kids and a college degree and you know the other day I get a look from this lady like why you are doing this ? I felt bad then to my surprise she paid with food stamps I do not have anything against this but I hated the way she was looking at me making all these noises like she is sick of my coupons I wanted to tell her that I am the one who is paying for her stuff but I stopped myself My husband works so hard for the money so I try to do my part by using the coupons so they hate or not we will keep using our coupons.

73 J March 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I have solved the casher problem by using the self checkout then I do most of the work. The cashier that helos at them only has to ring in the free or BOGO coupons or if one won’t scan. I have learned to save those for last so I am not bothering them til I am completely done.

74 Amy March 5, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I love this! Thanks for putting your story out there and letting us know the facts. Those statistics are pretty surprising for me and pretty cool. I’m new to couponing, but even I have had my great accomplishment, as you metioned, be dragged down by someone elses negative attitude towards couponing. Great article!!

75 Julie March 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm

My comment would have been “Why should I pay $100 for all this stuff when I can just pay $50?” Really! I am a college graduate (graduated at 21!) and work in high tech and make more than 6 figures and I still use coupons every time I go shopping. Just because I make a lot of money doesn’t mean that I want to spend more than I have to! Thanks for the great article.

76 Liz H. March 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I have been couponing for over a year now and am fortunate that I have not really had these experiences other than one cashier guy at my local Publix that gets grumpy when I hand him all of my coupons. I solve that problem by not going through his line anymore. There are several other cashiers who are really nice and understand that we’re all trying to save money where we can. It’s too bad that woman didn’t realize that SHE was the irresponsible one by not teaching her daughter the value of a dollar. It kind of makes you want to say, “I just bought $138 worth of groceries for $42. (This was my actual savings at Publix last week!) How much did you spend? Yeah, that’s what I thought.” How is saving money irresponsible? For every moron like that, there are three other people who are shocked and will stop and ask you “how did you do that?” Keep up the great posts!

77 Lisa March 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I once had a cashier question whether I had actually bought the item that the coupon was for. When the bagger reached into the paper bag and pulled out the cereal box to show her, the cashier finally calmed down. She was pretty rude about it, but after a while I didn’t see her working at the grocery store anymore.

78 Jaycie March 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm


Oh my goodness, I can’t believe someone said that to you! I am so proud of how you responded. And I know you well enough to know you were soo polite about it all. Way to keep your dignity while still teaching a lesson.

I love the stats that you found. Coupons do so much good–helping save us money and helping us to donate those that are truly in need.

Keep your chin up and be proud of yourself for your coupon usage and for all you’ve accomplished in your life. I’m so glad that we are friends. You are always the bright spot in my day. :) <>


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