This actually happened two years ago, I ran across the post and realized it wasn’t here on my blog. I figured it would explain a lot.
This weekend I was visiting a relative in the hospital (he’s going to be fine and make a full recovery) and it was Sunday, so I was sitting on the bench in the room, casually chatting and separating out the inserts and flyers from the Sunday paper, when a maintenance tech comes into the room to adjust the A/C. He’s a really nice chatty fellow, and noticed me pulling out the coupons, and says “Oh, you do that too? So does my daughter … she’s got them all figured out!” and that’s nice, so we chit chat a little while he’s fixing the thermostat.
Then it goes very wrong.
He says, “Yeah, she’s got all sorts of things figured out, you wouldn’t believe how she can get money out of these things!” I reply with something like “That’s true, you save a lot.” then he says “She’s found there’s these numbers on the coupons, and you don’t even have to buy the product on the coupon, you can just stick the coupons in with a bunch of other coupons, and when they scan them you get the money off whether or not you bought them. She makes a ton of money that way.”
I could hear my DH suck in his breath and he looked away and pretended to be very interested in the TV remote. I give the guy The Look, the same look I would give my son when he would try to explain to me why he doesn’t have to do his homework. There is an awkward, frosty pause in what had been a breezy conversation. He continues to fill the silence with chatting.
Him: I mean, it doesn’t matter, they just take the coupons, and you can make money.
Me: You mean, stealing?
Him: No, it doesn’t matter, these are just extra coupons, and you just add them in.
Me: Like, shoplifting?
Him: No, no no … nothing like that … it’s just extra coupons. They don’t matter.
Me: Well, I imagine they matter to SOMEONE.
Him: Uhhhh …
Me: I believe if I caught my child stealing I would have a thing to two to say. And I would march her right back to the store and pay for what she took. If my child dared to do such a thing, which my child would not.
Him: Uh yeah, well it’s not that, it’s just the coupons.
Me: So it’s stuff she didn’t get but gets money for them? How is that not stealing?
Him: (quieter) Um yeah I kind of wondered that too.
Me: Look, I’ll show you what that’s all about …
So then I pull out a coupon and point out the barcode, and the description on the coupon, and how different brands have similar parts of the barcode, but the description is the important thing. And how they all say “any other use constitutes fraud” or similar language. And since he was being so nice and seemed genuine, I kind of softened and said maybe someone just taught her wrong or she got some bad information off an unethical website, and maybe he has a chance to steer her in the right direction so she’s not a thief. He seemed embarrassed but interested in the information.
After he fixed the A/C and left, my DH has not stopped calling me the Coupon Monster.