If you ever watch the TLC channel, you must have come across the trailers for their Extreme Couponing TV show. I have recently watched a few episodes of it and have been very surprised at the content. Basically, you get a person who spends a tremendous amount of time resourcing coupons, either from newspapers or coupon booklets or the internet. They accumulate coupons and a game plan to maximize the value of the coupons and go on a huge shopping spree. They go to the grocery store with an entourage to buy wares in bulk. In one instance, a check-out value of over $600 ended up being only under $30. In another more extreme instance, a couple got over $1100 worth of products and ended up with the store owing them over $100!

What really got me thinking is that this has become a sport. People spend hours each day (some up to 8 hours a day) couponing. Some people even have groups that share coupons and plan together. They take all that preparation and go to the store for the ultimate performance. The check-out  serves as the evaluation of that performance. The TV show focuses on the anxiety experienced by the couponer upon checking out. The hours spent preparing for that shopping trip comes down to the check out. Each of them have a goal as to how much they are expecting to pay, and despite receiving up to 90% savings, if their goal was not met, the trip would be considered a disaster.

Maybe in the near future we will see couponing take a bigger stage in sports. But for now, we can vicariously experience it through cable TV.

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