I watched Extreme Couponing for the first time last week. As a recovering compulsive shopping addict, it hit a little too close to home for me to be comfortable with what I was seeing. I fully believe that the individuals featured on the show are as unhealthy as I was. Sure, they aren’t carrying $40k in credit card debt, and I applaud them for saving money, but shopping has taken over their lives.
Once upon a time, I participated in a TV interview and it made me accept the label of compulsive shopping addict. Dr. April Benson was the professional commenting on the interview and she provided questions to ask yourself before you enter a shopping situation that is unhealthy: ”Why am I here? How do I feel? Do I need this? What if I wait? How will I pay for it? Where will I put it?”
As I watched the show, those questions were on my mind. The shoppers were there, for the most part, for the challenge, for the rush, for the desire to watch their stockpile grow. In most cases, they had groceries on hand that would last a year or more and did not need more. Yes, they were paying with coupons that would expire. I get that. But if you don’t need it, why are you buying it? Cereal expires. Many canned foods expire. Not to mention how unhealthy the food was.
Then, there is the issue of where to put it. Children sacrificed their living space for the overflow of surplus goods. A man lost his “man cave” so that bags of ramen noodles could be tossed to the side of the room. This was the third room that this stockpile had taken over in that particular home. For two people.
What disturbed me the most about this massive waste was that only one person mentioned donating to charity. Just one. How much of that food is going to go bad in those rooms rather than do good in the communities?
The fixation on accumulating more. The need to organize it and “make it pretty with all of the labels facing out.” The need to then rearrange it. Making the haul look perfect.
It’s what I used to do with my shoes. My precious, precious shoes. I used to be proud when I would save over $600 on the retail price. And, trust me, getting some of the brand new designer shoes that I got for under $100 is like getting a box of cereal for under $1.
Shopping has taken over their life in an unhealthy way. It saddens me that the show is choosing to highlight the anxiety at the cash register as the show’s climax. This show should be more like Hoarders. Someone should be asking the woman who bought 40+ ramen (honey, they’re not noodles – it’s freaking instant ramen – I saw what was in your cart) and 100+ candy bars if that is healthy and if that is really how she wants to eat.
Would people buy that crap food if there wasn’t a coupon for it?
What do you think? Am I making too much of nothing? Should I be celebrating their amazing savings and how shopping has taken over their lives?Get Keyword Ideas