Coupon Clippers Go Crazy, Turn Competitive

Tough times drive many to save big, buy in bulk
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2010 12:03 PM CST
Coupon Clippers Go Crazy, Turn Competitive
In this photo made Dec. 8, 2009, Kelly Norby searches on her Blackberry to find coupons for Yoplait brand yogurt at a Target store in Wheeling, Ill.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

While the recession has left many cupboards bare, others are sagging as the cash-strapped turn into coupon-wielding obsessives who stock up on months or years worth of groceries on the cheap. While coupon usage peaked in the '90s, it surged 27% last year—mainly due to extreme coupon users, reports the Wall Street Journal. "If you can get 100 packs of toilet paper for free, you're going to," says one devotee.

Websites and online communities have sprung up over night, giving the craze almost the feel of a competitive sport. But supermarkets are feeling the pinch: Coupon-packing shoppers are "executing with surgical precision," says one store exec, and further pinching profits. But perhaps there's a code of honor? "I never clear the shelf: I don't think that's right," says one shopper. "I probably only got 30." (More coupons stories.)

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