Sunday, December 28, 2008

Couponers Make Others Look Cheap?!

I was idly reading the paper when this article caught my eye. The story (titled "Stand next to a penny-pinching, coupon-user and people think you're cheap, too, study finds") makes me angry and offends me on almost too many levels to count.

According to the authors of the University of Alberta study, not only are coupon-users so repellent that nobody wants to be caught using coupons, but their appearance of cheapness rubs off on the unfortunate people who just happen to be standing in line behind them!

The first thing that bugs me is that this study was done at the University bookstore. People were asked a series of questions about people who used coupons and the people immediately behind them in line at the bookstore cashier. Being called "frugal" isn't bad in my book (although it appears to be a negative in the researcher's vocabulary) but "tightwad" and "cheap"? Aren't all these people students? Forgive me if I seem unclear on the concept, but I was under the impression that students are perpetually short of money and are always on the lookout for ways to cut corners. These are the people denigrating their fellows for using "a coupon with little value" (a 50 cent coupon on the purchase of a $4 pen, according to the story)?

Then too, the placement of the story elicited a bit of a snort from me. It was just a few pages after a full-page article on how people had waited for the Boxing Day sales to buy their nearest and dearest's Xmas gifts! So it's not cheap to wait until December 26 to buy your mother an Xmas gift or to wait hours overnight in a lineup so you can buy a $200 digital camera for $50 off, but it's cheap to use a coupon.

Frankly every page between the two articles had ads reading things like "Save an instant 25% off our already low Boxing Day prices on everything in the store" or "One Day Only! December 26th Receive a $100 Gift Card with a 2 year [cellular] agreement" or "All up to 80% off (on furniture)". But coupon-users are perceived so negatively that "nobody" wants to use coupons. We'll just trample each other to get to the marked-down laptops, but that's not cheap.

And finally, the capper to the whole article was the close. If you happen to be one of the unfortunates who gets stuck behind one of those crazed couponers you won't be perceived as cheap if you happen to look like Jessica Alba. If you're just normally attractive you should probably escape out of the line as fast as possible to avoid the stigma! Give me a break!

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