I know there was a time a while back when peanut paste was on sale at Woolies for half price. If you phrase that differently, that’s buy-one-get-one-free. I was so excited, I bought four tubs, and I only paid for two! And that didn’t even require a coupon! That was about four years ago. Every time I go shopping I can’t remember how much peanut paste we have left, and I buy another tub. When the zombie apocalypse comes, we’ll be set for sandwich filling.
Anyhow, take two-for-one euphoria and multiply it by eleventy billion (that would make it twenty-twoey billion) and you have Extreme Couponing. Each episode features two people who are prepared to shred every last ounce of human dignity to jump into dumpsters and/or beg on their neighbours’ doorsteps to find coupons so they may save on their groceries. The program begins with the women (almost always) proudly showing off their stash. The partners are rarely shown at this stage; they must be somewhere else on the house filming an episode of Doomsday Preppers.
First up this episode, we follow Joni from Ohio. As extreme couponers go, Joni is an EXTREME extreme couponer. She heads off to the supermarket to buy more than 2,300 items which should have cost her $875,365.97 for about forty-three bucks. She buys four hundred boxes of cat food. Joni sure knows a bargain when she sees it. That will last for ages, because she doesn’t even own a cat.
Then it’s Seattle’s Angie. She is in LOVE with coupons. She has an enormous stockpile which her husband says keeps on getting bigger. Hmmm. Angie, you realise that the point of buying this stuff is to actually use it, right? She’s never tried coucous, but she decides to buy one hundred and thirty-four boxes of it. Given my own take-it-or-leave-it attitude to couscous, that’s a pretty big risk. Then it’s off to buy candy. Six hundred packets. All that money she saves means she can spend on her kids’ dental bill.
Joni and Angie both strike the most obliging cashiers on the face of the earth. They smile and smile. “More coupons, Ma’am? Sure!” they say. Thought bubble: “I’m working three jobs on minimum wage. I ain’t got no time to fish through dumpsters looking for no coupons, Bitch!”
There’s always that ominous sound mid-transaction where everyone evacuates the store. “False alarm, peeps! Our register didn’t scan one of Angie’s coupons. That nearly cost her sixty-five cents! You can all resume queuing behind her now!”
Six hours later and Angie manages to not only receive a massive discount, but walks out with a gift card for the money the supermarket owes her. “Praise God!” she exclaims, before performing an exuberant cartwheel.
I’m no scholar of the Bible, but I’m not sure it’s God she should be praising. All credit should go to Eve, I reckon. If not for her we’d all be running around naked and eating organic.
But I’m sure there’s another reality show on US TV covering that.