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No Double Coupons

If you put a lot of time and effort into couponing, it probably shocks and saddens you when you happen upon fellow shoppers who ignore the sales circulars, pass by the blinkie machines, reach for the products that don’t have peelies on them, and blithely fill their carts with full-priced groceries. Not all of these people are clueless, though – some of them do it on purpose, and are actually proud to say so.

And these people are the ones who are now praising Kroger for doing away with double coupons.

One by one, the nation’s largest supermarket chain has been eliminating double coupon programs in its various regions. This week, it was Georgia, South Carolina and parts of Alabama’s turn (read: “Kroger Drops Double Coupons in the South”). When Kroger confirmed yesterday that it would be discontinuing doubles in those states, as part of a price-cutting program, it performed the perfunctory task of posting the news on its Facebook page.

Cue the angry shoppers!

Except this time, many of them weren’t angry at all.

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Similar notices, in other regions, resulted in feedback that was predictably and overwhelmingly negative. But surprisingly, to some, many commenters had nothing but nice things to say about the change. Just read some of the reactions:

  • “Thanks for making it better on this busy mom with no time or patience with coupons!”
  • “This is great news for those of us that don’t coupon! I drive out of my way and pass 2 other competitors to come to your store.”
  • “Permanent lower prices beat periodic coupons any day.”
  • “Who has time to clip coupons & run all over town to find who doubles coupons. Give me lower prices, isn’t worth my time clipping up the newspaper.”
  • “Kudos to you. As a working mom of 3 boys, I don’t have time to coupon and ‘shop around’ for the best deal.”
  • “This is a good thing, now everyone saves.”

Well, that’s all got to be music to Kroger’s ears – and, to extend a metaphor, fingernails on a blackboard to couponers. Are southeastern shoppers really so much busier than everyone else in the country, that so many of them have no time to clip a coupon or two?

Plus, as much as double coupon proponents have not wanted to believe it, the reaction also lends credence to Kroger’s earlier claims that less than 10% of its customers take advantage of double coupons anyway – while 100% of its customers can benefit from lower prices.

“They’re a very vocal part of your customer base, and they don’t like it when you stop giving them that reward,” Kroger CFO Michael Schlotman said about double coupon fans back in May (read: “The Real Reason Kroger is Doing Away With Doubles”). Put a bit less delicately by one retail analyst, “double-coupon screamers” are just loud. They’re not profitable, he argued, so it’s right for Kroger to “fire” them (read: “Contempt For Couponers? What Retailers Really Think”).

Of course, there are plenty of shoppers who did speak out against Kroger’s decision to ditch doubles. “As a working mom of 4, I do coupon,” wrote one Facebook commenter, “and it has cut our grocery bill in 1/2.” Said another, to all the non-couponers, “if you really think they will lower prices you shouldn’t be allowed to handle scissors anyway.”

But the fact remains, it seems there is a silent majority out there who would like their grocery store to be less into coupons and more like – well, more like Walmart. If you’ve seen any of its ubiquitous commercials, Walmart’s whole pitch is that you can save more money there if you don’t want to bother with coupons or shopping the sales. “They are going to be more like Walmart as far as prices go. This is a good thing,” read one reaction to Kroger’s announcement.

Not the kind of thing couponers want to hear.

Finally, there’s this: “I like it. Now get rid of the senior discount too!!! Such a sense of entitlement,” scoffed one commenter. And you thought ditching double coupons was bad. For some, it seems, it could have been – or may someday be – even worse.

5 Comments

  1. People are really crazy!! You save more when a store doubles coupons and you stack that with a lower price. Non-couponers are really not informed and lazy, if they are unwilling to cut a few coupons to save money. I prefer to save money!!

  2. I’m thinking these are the same people who BRAG about how much they paid 50K for their car and A Cool Million for their house. These people exist-I know some-couponing is beneath them. (You probably know some too. They only shop at Neiman Marcus.)

  3. people are foolish if they actually think that Kroger is going to be ‘more like Walmart’. I mean, really, really foolish. Despite the huge deal made here in Boston when Shaw’s got rid of their loyalty card, it’s been non-noticeable. Many of their prices went up a few cents and they were already the priciest place around here. Their sales became a little broader, but they are no better than they were.

  4. Ms Bea Haven says:

    I love the comment from the woman who said, “If you really think they will lower prices you shouldn’t be allowed to handle scissors anyway.” Great line!

    • This one is scary: “I like it. Now get rid of the senior discount too!!! Such a sense of entitlement,”

      Proud member of the ‘church of hate’. Very sad.

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