The Exhilaration of "Extreme Couponing?"

Is being an "extreme couponer" really such a good thing?

Posted May 10, 2011

Yesterday, I finally did it. I watched "Extreme Couponing." In my defense, I was fighting a nasty cold that left me with little energy to do much else. So I lay there half conscious listening to the narrator as he introduced the "Double Saving Divas," a pair of ebullient twins from Chicago, who have couponing down to an art form. I watched them on their birthday cashing in on every type of free birthday meal, ice cream, and jewelry they could. With a modest budget for the day, they cashed in big time. I saw their "stockpile" which included shelves of diapers....for the babies they do not have.

While a fascinating show indeed, I worry that perhaps the whole story is not being told. Is there something compulsive about this behavior, or at least marginally unhealthy? Why is a man buying up dozens of women's deodorant? Just because it's free, does it mean we must have it? I think one woman purchased about 70 bottles of mustard, even though her husband doesn't even like mustard. Sure, it's non-perishable, but what are you going to do with all that mustard?

Though the show is intriguing, I wonder if there is also something sad about this. I'm not a licensed clinician and in no way claim to be. I do not advocate blind "diagnosis" off on anything shown on television programs, and do not intend to in any way. I wonder though if I'm the only one who sees possible touches of addiction, obsession, compulsion, and perhaps even hoarding tendencies to some of this behavior. At the very least, I am comfortable to say it seems unhealthy. Hence, I ask this: Is extreme couponing really something that should be celebrated?