TLC’s Extreme Couponing: No thank you!

February 14, 2011 by
Filed under: Coupons 

I mentioned the TLC show Extreme Couponing after the “pilot” episode aired in December.  The show really did show some “extreme” behavior and I know some of it was for the cameras.  The money-saving blog world had tons of posts about the show, some defending the couponers, others saying that those people should be ashamed of “shelf-clearing” and having a stockpile so large they needed an insurance rider.  I was somewhere in the middle.

So imagine my surprise when I received an email from the producers of the show, interested in The Bargain Sleuth and if I would be interested in submitting a video for consideration of their new show.  I knew a casting call went out but I did not contact them first, but maybe someone mentioned me to them, I do not know.  No one has fessed up yet!

I had serious reservations about even attempting to try out for the show.  I mean, let’s face it, they did NOT put couponers in the most positive light.  Only one of the people was shown to donate some of his items to charity although all the couponers featured DO regularly donate their goods.

Also, the show never actually showed the viewer how they could save money by using coupons.  The show featured really atypical shopping trips that took months of planning, the purchasing of hundreds of specific coupons and taking the day off work.  But maybe if the show was a weekly thing it would change.  I mean, the pilot episode was supposed to pull in viewers, the rest of the shows would probably focus on the actual process of helping people save money, right?

In a word, no.

A couple of weeks ago I had my phone interview with Extreme Couponing producers.  It went something like this:

“So, how big is your stockpile?”  I answered and then the conversation continued.
“Do you have any major shopping trips planned?”
“Where is your stockpile located?”
“Do you have a special room for your stockpile?”
“How many shelving units does your stockpile take up?”
“So how many shelves are on each shelving unit in your stockpile room?”
“Are you planning any big trips?”
“Do you ever rent a trailer or something for your grocery shopping trips?”

I understand that whole “good visuals” for television aspect of production but the entire conversation turned into one big joke for me.  The producer asked for my tips of the trade and at one point I mentioned Catalina coupons (the ones that print at the end of a transaction at certain stores; common lingo in the coupon world).  The producer was clueless and joked that it must be an “insider” thing.  Uh, sorry, dear, but if you’re going to be a producer of a show on couponing, you really should do your research and already know that.

And then there were more questions about the size of my stockpile. (sigh)  And did I have any more current pictures of the stockpile than the ones I had on my site?  And had I ever counted how many items were in my stockpile? (I was actually waiting for her to ask if I slept in the same room as my stockpile…)

My decision to submit a tape was hindered by two things: work and well, work. One, because I had just returned to the workforce and was trying to find my bearings while my husband essentially moved to Milwaukee five days a week for HIS new job.  And two, because my work happened to be in a television newsroom in Green Bay, Wisconsin, there was this kind of big story going on during January called All Packers All the Time.

The bosses thought it was a cool idea if I tried out for Extreme Couponing and said I could use a photographer once the Packers were done playing for the season.  There was no way they could spare one before that happened.

God bless you, Green Bay Packers for going all the way to the Super Bowl.

It turns out I’m not the only blogger who felt this way.  (Not about the Packers, about the show).  Some really huge websites and “famous” money-saving writers shared very similar experiences with the interview process.  And they came to the same conclusion: the show was meant to be entertainment, not info-tainment.

All kidding aside, part of me was thrilled at the chance until I discovered the show’s real agenda.   I also realized that if I tried to appeal to a national audience, it would defeat the purpose of The Bargain Sleuth.  I started this blog and Facebook page to help those in the Green Bay area find deals.  And actually HELP others. You can go anywhere to find national deals, but who else will tell you about the Hansen’s Warehouse Sale or when the School House sale room opened?

This week, after the Packers news was but a trickle, one of the bosses asked if I still wanted to have a photographer help me submit a tape.  I said “No thank you!”

If it was one of my fans who submitted my blog to the show, thanks for the vote of confidence.  But don’t worry, you won’t be sharing me with America… yet.  :-)

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3 Comments on TLC’s Extreme Couponing: No thank you!

  1. Mary Jo - Saving Green Mom on Mon, 14th Feb 2011 8:23 pm
  2. Wow. Those questions were crazy!I am all about a MODEST stock pile. I also don't have a TON of time to be mapping out my trips for hours on end…lol. (although, SOMETIMES it DOES take an hour lol)I mean, yes, I have a nice stockpile but NO WHERE NEAR what we saw on TV!!! Sure, it's wayyy cool that they have so much stuff…well, maybe not. I mean, keep 10-15 bottles of shampoo and DONATE the rest!! Keep 20 cans of soup…DONATE THE REST! THIS is my philosphy with my stockpile. My family and I would eventually use it all, but come on now! SO many people need our help and I THANK GOD that we are frugal enough to find the deals to HELP them!! :)

  3. TheBargainSleuth on Mon, 14th Feb 2011 8:50 pm
  4. I've heard from more than one source that one of the couponers featured actually SELLS a bunch of the stockpile at rummage sales ($12,000.year) so it's really a JOB to them. Spending a few hours a week for a shopping trip makes sense in that case, not that I would ever do it.As with anything in life, moderation is the key (says the lady who got seven Butterball turkeys for almost-free in November) Four of them are already gone including two to Paul's pantry and one to my awesome sister-in-law who is letting my husband stay with her in Milwaukee. It's all about paying it forward, isn't it? :-)

  5. Terra on Mon, 14th Feb 2011 10:06 pm
  6. Thank goodness someone has common sense. Thanks for sticking to your values!

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