Do Extreme Shoppers Ruin Bargain Shopping for the Rest of Us?

I drove over to Babies-R-Us today in the hopes of scoring a few packs of Huggies diapers for only $1 each. The store held a $5 sale on Huggies Pure and Natural diapers, permitted the use of coupons and provided a $5 gift card for every two packs purchased. I had a couple of coupons in my binder, so I figured I’d make the trip and pick up a few packs for next to nothing.

When I arrived the diaper aisle looked like the milk department just before a big snowstorm. The shelves were completely bare. I was curious when the store ran out of diapers, (since I knew the sale started yesterday), so I asked a very kind salesman who told me the shelves were stripped clean within the first few minutes of the store’s opening. It seems two or three women came in with binders full of coupons. They were each guiding a number of carts and simply threw every diaper into their carts, (regardless of size), and rushed to the register.

There wasn’t a limit on the number of diapers one individual could buy, so there was no policy against the shoppers filling multiple carts and cleaning out the store. Within minutes the shelves were empty.

While I don’t fault these women for bargain shopping, I wonder if they really needed to purchase every pack of diapers they could get their hands on. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel. While I think it’s great that these women will save themselves hundreds of dollars on diapers I can’t help but wonder if it’s fair to all of the other women out there who were looking to save a little too. Over at Bargain Life, they’ve raised this and other important questions that need to be asked – how is a family affected?

What do you think? Are you an extreme shopper and do you strip the shelves of products when you head to the store in search of bargains? Do you think stores should put limitations on the number of products a person can buy with coupons and discounts to ensure more people can take advantage of the bargains or do you commend these women for filling their carts for next to nothing?

12 thoughts on “Do Extreme Shoppers Ruin Bargain Shopping for the Rest of Us?”

  1. I noticed more stores are imposing limits. I'm all for that because that show teaches bad habits (some illegal) that newbies think is the rule not the exception.

  2. I'm a fan of having limits to how many one person can buy with a coupon because it spreads the wealth. I have a hard time believing those women are going to use ALL of those diapers immediately. More likely, they'll go into some sort of garage stockpile never to be seen again.

  3. Add me to the list of people who think limits are a fabulous idea. There is nothing worse than having a legitimate need and not being able to meet it because someone scarfed up all the products on sale.

    I went to Walmart awhile back to pick up a bottle of barbeque sauce. Couldn't find a single bottle in the store! I know it's cookout season, but I couldn't understand what in the world was going on. An employee filled me in – there was some kind of coupon, and the store had been cleaned out early that morning.

    There is only so much barbeque sauce (or diapers, or anything else) one family can use. Personally, I'm sick of all these people who horde items they don't need just because they were able to get a good deal.

  4. I wish that enforcing limits weren't necessary, but sadly, a lot of coupon shoppers really do ruin it for the rest of us! Nothing is more aggravating than being excited about getting a good deal (sometimes one that's desperately needed) and finding the shelves empty, when you only wanted a couple of the item in question. I think it's just rude to clear the shelves like that! I kind of hate the extreme couponing TV show because I feel like it's taught bad couponing ethics to America.

  5. I don't understand the extreme couponing/shopping thing at all. Get a good deal on ketchup? Ok buy a bottle, not the whole shelf.

    And considering the time, effort, and space needed to shop like this, it is really worth the savings?

  6. I was just thinking of a way to deter these things from happening. Diapers are a great necessity for moms and dads. however, hoarding them for your own agenda is bad.

    I think limits should be in force for a lot of the 'bigger type' sales, such as this one with the gift card being issued as well.

    I say we set a limit and HIRE (to lower the unemployment rate) a coupon/limit enforcer. That person will stand guard in a blocked off area and when you leave said area, you check out. Whatever said limit is, that's it PER PERSON. Oh, and so you don't leave and come back, they keep your driver's license or SSN in a database so if you come back, you get flagged and the remaining people in line get to throw eggs at you for trying to get by…..

    Just saying….some of this can be serious (coupon/limit enforcer) or what have you…but clearing the shelves….those ladies are just LUCKY i wasn't there. I would have stolen them right from their carts…YUP, that'll show THEM!

    I see a lot of this in my Shop Rite and my mother in law works as a cashier there. I went to get Turkey Hill one day…the little pint sized ones were on sale for like .77 cents. So I go, and this guy has a cart full of them….4 of each variety. So I sat and waited til he was done….then he went into detail that he buys the stuff so cheap and sells them at a higher price at his store and profits a ton of money. That ticked me off….Don't leave anything for us, but yet charge us 5 times it is here in your store? Oh and he doesn't pay taxes and is not even LEGAL here in the United States. That's nice…but since he's in the 'limit' he gets away with it…shame on people like that!

  7. I think it is only smart business for a store to impose limits. It only takes a few experiences like this to turn off customers. I never visit the CVS that is less than a mile from my house because I could never find the sale items. This was probably more a result of the store having ordered a limited supply of sale items, but the end result is the same. Bare shelves one too many times and a customer will switch businesses.

  8. I've always used coupons, but some people take it way too far. What a lot of people are doing is reselling the things they get for free or for very little (do a google search for "stockpile sales" if you want to be horrified.) They also donate items to food pantries and take a tax deduction for the full retail cost of the items even if they got it for free. There's a guy who comes to my local CVS and cleans out the candy aisle every week. The cashier tells me that he has about 25 CVS discount cards in different names that he uses so that he can get around sale limits, but that the cashiers aren't allowed to say anything. People have a lot of ways to take advantage of sales, and it's a shame that it's going to eventually affect everyone in one way or another.

  9. It looks like everyone agrees that stores should impose limitations to ensure that extreme shoppers don't take advantage of deals to the detriment of other shoppers. In this case the store permitted these women to load their carts with cheap diapers, but I hadn't really thought of all of the people who find ways to cheat the system to get better deals.

    The example of the man who has signed up for multiple CVS cards seems crazy. I don't see why the store can't turn him away!


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