30 April 2011

Your What the Fuck Moment of the Week: Extreme Couponing

I've managed to catch this terrible show on TLC the past few weeks called Extreme Couponing. Everything about this show is moronic, soulless and terrible. It has caused such an ire to grow within me that I am compelled now to rant and rave about it as Your What the Fuck Moment of the Week.

For those of you who have never watched the program, every week it features a new insane human being who compulsively uses coupons to save a couple bucks at the grocery store. Actually typically they save 90+% of their shopping totals, often in upwards of a few grand. The concept for achieving this feat every week is actually pretty simple and also completely needlessly excessive.

The driving idea is that after literally 30 - 40 hours of research a week the Couponer will find some compounded deal like a coupon for a dollar off some laundry detergent that is already at half-price. Doing so actually renders a positive monetary yield, that is, they're able to make money off their purchase. After scouring hundreds of magazines and products the Couponer does this literally a few hundred times with different products which builds up enough of a positive yield that cancels most of the other products that they couldn't get for free. Virtually every product they buy has some kind of discount, it's a conceit that limits their shopping to only on-sale products. Afterwards the Couponer obviously boasts that they have trimmed hundreds of dollars off their purchase.

This is so obviously stupid to me. The trick is simple enough - con a grocery store out of their money by manipulating their sales and coupons by doing what no sane person would do - buy 90 Aspirins and 40 Bags of Fritos on a discount. Naturally the savings aren't really impressive when you realise that if they would just buy one thing of detergent like a normal human they could spend only a few bucks instead of hundreds. You may argue that this is negligible due to the savings, but the amount of time spent researching and collecting the coupons could also be spent you know...working a job.

It's just this parade of excess. These people's houses contain closets filled with Soda 2-Liters and garages filled with toilet paper and cans of beans. They're saving money at the expense of acquiring possessions. It's a spiritual deathtrap. It's not even spending, it's just HAVING. This is the epitome of American Consumerism. It's not even about money anymore nor the use of products. It's about hollow acquisition under illusory pretenses of saving a few bucks. It's an exercise in purposelessness. At the end of the day these people are saving hundreds of dollars but that's only the face of couponing. Underneath they are wasting tremendous amounts of time in planning and preparation, limiting their families meal choices (for example quality meat and fruit is rarely on sale) and filling their houses with products and clutter they will never use. We may mention again that they are basically scamming grocery stores, causing them to suffer as well from thousand-dollar purchases that amount to nothing.

Perhaps I'm overreacting but this kind of thing is just evil to me. It's consuming without reason. In fact, it's not even having things for the sake of having them, it's having things for no reason at all. It's idle time wasted in order to buy crap. We live in a society where not buying things renders people crazy. We praise these Couponers and give them a show that treats their savings as victories in the battle of spending. They can consume more while spending less so they must be our society's heroes. We praise them for their saving skills instead of investigating their severe mental obsessions. Whoever consumes the most is the champion. Basically the fact that no one considers this show to be insane is very insane. We have become complacent towards our consumption and acquisition of material products until this breaking point when we're almost completely apathetic. It's a miserable state that offers no real honour or spiritual fulfillment.

Well, now that my blood is sufficiently boiled and gears sufficiently grinded we can just relax and watch Hoarders.

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