A few months ago someone commented (anonymously) that I was acting selfish because I had purchased a large number of items using coupons. It got me to thinking.
Is it selfish to coupon?
Well, is it selfish to go into a grocery store and buy 20 boxes of pasta? What if you don't leave any on the shelf? Is it selfish if they are full price or only if they are on sale?
How many coupons can you use and not be considered selfish?
I admit that it is frustrating when people come in and clean out the shelves to get the best deal for themselves. I know you can but do you have to buy an entire year's supply of dish detergent in one shopping trip or clean out all the mac and cheese because it's been marked down or take all the water that's a really great deal and a money maker?
The truth is we're all trying to get the best deals that we possibly can and unfortunately at the store (any store, any sale) it's first-come; first-served. The stores don't care if they sell a hundred boxes to one person or a hundred people.
When I shop I am stocking up for my family and I try to be reasonable. To you it may look like a hoarding of cereal but to me it looks like 2 weeks worth of breakfast. It's actually quite rare that I can stock up past a few weeks because of how quickly we can go through food.
So is it selfish to buy 10 boxes of cereal at a time?
Guess it depends on your perspective. To me anyone can be selfish. I wouldn't begin to say that couponers are exempt and there aren't people who try to cheat the system and hoard things for themselves. But it's no different in any part of life.
However, I often find couponers to be very generous people. For the most part we find deals and we share them. If we didn't there wouldn't be blogs on the subject. I know lots of people who love to coupon and rather then keep it to themselves they excitedly share with everyone they know. That doesn't sound selfish to me.
Those of us who get our food at rock-bottom prices find it easier to donate to food banks and relief efforts because doing so doesn't effect us as much financially.
Ultimately, the best way to not be selfish is to think of others first. Sometimes those others are the shoppers coming behind you and sometimes those others are the families you're trying to feed - usually your own; sometimes other families.
Do evaluate your purchases. Do you really need it? When I buy 10 boxes of cereal, yes, I really need them. When I buy 10 tubes of toothpaste or 10 things of deodarant I don't really need them. Sure I will evenutally use them but it will take a LOOONG time to go through them and generally the item will go on sale again before I actually need it.
Be considerate when you shop but believe me I don't think couponers are any more selfish than anyone else.
What about you? Do you think couponing is selfish or can some couponers just be more selfish than others?