COUPONS: CLICKING vs CLIPPING

I once had a wonderful fantasy where I’m at the supermarket, my pockets bulging with valid discount coupons on a triple-coupon-credit day. As I roll into the check-out line, my cart overloaded with groceries, meats, desserts, soaps, soups and sundries, I hand over an inch-high stack of carefully clipped valid coupons.

The cashier begins to pass my purchases past the electric eye as it tallies the total cost and then proceeds to tripley deduct the amounts on my coupons. Glancing at the screen, she says, “Sir, it looks like we owe you $35.43. Do you have change for a fifty?

I had that fantasy about 40 years ago, and it still has some relevance. However, I wish that all of us, buyers and sellers, would have matured more in the interval, but discount clipping continues to mangle our newspapers and magazines. As a former journalist I resent the practice.

If this were a newspaper page instead of a blog, it might have been rendered unreadable by the removal of a coupon on the reverse side and the vitally important news of an incoming killer comet would have been rendered unreadable by the removal of a discount coupon for organic potato chips.

There are very good signs that digital coupons may save our newspapers from clipper-mangling. One shoppers’ website predicts digital coupon redemptions will top $90 billion in 2022. But clicking has not yet completely replaced clipping. This is especially true for us old fogies. Another site reports $476 billion in paper coupons were offered in 2019 and only $3.6 billion were redeemed. We seniors are not that quick on the clip anymore.

Unfortunately, with inflation on the rise, more and more shoppers will become clippers or clickers and coupons might begin to cover a wider range of products and services, beyond supermarkets, pizza stores and home improvements.

Just yesterday I spotted a 50 percent-off coupon for tattoos. It was printed on the forehead of a young fellow getting off a Harley Road King. I guess he’s got a lifetime deal.

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