Friday, February 20, 2009

Local couponing story... and drama...

So, yesterday I was on the news. For 2 seconds. at 5pm. Before we get there, let's go over the entire day and it is way more fun to tell a story when I add the wacky details.

9am. Me. Home.
I did my hair all "catlady" looking (this is code for it looked really bad and I was okay with that as the goal was to NOT go anywhere for the day).
I realized I HAD to go to IF for some dr stuff for the baby. So, I hopped in the car. On the way I decided to just peek in the Ammon Albies to see how the sale was. I'd hear that Broadway was totally wiped out of all the stuff I wanted (of course after the insanity from Wednesday I wasn't surprised to hear that) so I didn't know what I would find in Ammon.

There were PYPers everywhere! I talked to at least 3 people doing pyp! So exciting! Plus, I found out that the store had at least 800 coupons for FREE Grands biscuits and the product too! I bought 40 of them along with some fruit snacks, etc. I came out pretty thrilled. Spent about 12 and saved 200. Woot!

12pm. Me. Home again.
I made a critical error here. I told people how great my deal was at Albies and then, in an even more critical error, I offered to get people biscuits. I offered myself into buying 310 of them! By then I realized I'd have to go back in that day to get everything so, back in the car I hopped, 3 kids in tow.

1pm. Me. Albies.
Again, I'm seeing all sorts of pypers and we're gabbing over the sale. I'm telling everyone to get their Grands... fun stuff! The checker found out that you can do about 15 sets in a row (btw) and that was exciting. My kids were getting really burned out, but we were carrying on. Suddenly I see a reporter who wants to talk to me about all of this couponing madness. Sounds fun... except.

  • I look like a catlady
  • My kids are burned out
  • My mommy made me promise not to talk about deals and my storage anymore (sooooo lucky she doesn't read my blogs)
  • I look like a catlady
  • I felt kind of like I was on an episode of grocery store "Cheaters" and my beloved Broadway Albies was going to show up behind the camera man, saying, "Why baby, don't you love me." and then I would have to get all defensive and be like, "What?! What. Girl, you know your my world. I was just talking, I wasn't doing anything..." you get the picture
  • Again, I looked like a catlady.
But, I'm a wanny, so I did it.Plus the reporter lied and said I looked nice and I'm a sucker for a liar who boosts my self esteem.

So I did my thang.


Today I deeply regret it.
Here's why.
  • I totally did look like crap!
  • My mama was not please with the only quote of mine used... the food storage one. Go figure.
  • Albies wasn't even promoted much
  • I feel like it started a bit of an online turf war between the business that was featured and pyp.
Let's talk about the last one really quick. Here's the deal. I don't know Amanda Fricke from stretching your dollars Idaho super well, but I DO know her friend and former partner very well and I ADORED her friend. Her friend also tells me that Amanda is a fantastic person and from what I have seen that is true. One fact that proves that is that Amanda told the reporter that I was a moderater at pyp and mentioned what a great site it is. That didn't make it on air, but still, she said it and good for her. (I was told this BY the reporter when I called him to clarify that very fact afterwards, so I know it's true.)

Here is my honest opinion on pay vs free sites. I like the free ones best. Of course. BUT, I also get that some people need to be spoon fed something as complicated as couponing. I'll be extremely honest here. I started pyp 5 years ago. BUT, I didn't start doing the grocery deals until 1 year ago. I only did the online deals. Wanna know why? It was just too darn overwhelming for me to start.
What finally got me started was a friend (the same friend who parterned in SYD btw) who walked me through it. She let me call her 100 times a day, answered every question, celebrated with me when I found a good deal and consoled me when I screwed up on a deal. If I had not had an actual human helping me, I never would have figured out couponing. If my friend had been wise she would have charged me for all her time and it would have been worth it to me.

I feel like I'm a pretty intelligent gal. If I am confused on something, I'd bet others are too.

Now, I help with a weekly coupon group. We do the pyp grocery lists and talk deals. It's a lot of fun, but occasionally we get newbies who really really need help. Frankly, I don't have that kind of time on my hands and if any of them asked me if they should sign up for a pay coupon class or site, I'd tell them to go for it. Here's why: They need more hand holding than I (or any other person teaching couponing as a free service) and give. We live in a society where time is money and so it is only right to pay to take up someone's time. If someone WANTS an easier way to coupon, that is the way. Speaking very specifically, I've seen the Stretching your Dollars website and I think it is great for beginning couponers. I believe once people get better they'll graduate to a site like pyp, but in the interim, I see nothing wrong with paying to learn.

Now, for those who don't want to pay to learn... don't! Good for you! You'll save a lot of money, but you'll have to work harder. I think that is great. pinchingyourpennies is a great site and I credit it with teaching me how to save in nearly every aspect of my life.

*** But... in this day and age of choice, no one should have to be exclusive to anyone or anything, except your spouse. I think that's a good choice to be loyal to a spouse, but that's just me...

Another note on free websites. Nothing is free. Advertisers pay money for you to have a free site and that is great. Nobody should ever complain about that. People should just realize that someone is picking up the tab (which again, is just plain awesome for us free users of any site!)

Here is my final thought on the matter. I looked like crap,but very few people saw me at 5pm so I'm okay with that.
That's not my final thought, but I had to add it.

I'm sick of this competitive coupon website drama. As a small business owner, I've learned the hard way about competition and this is what I've learned: There's room at the table for everyone. Be gracious. Be the bigger person. I've struggled to do that myself more than once, but it's important. If you can't do that, then just ignore whatever thorn is in your side. Odds are they'll go away eventually... or you will.
There are pros and cons to both kinds of businesses and it is up to the consumer to choose which is best for them.

I always go back to this example:

When I worked for the Bon, I had a business meeting where I listened to reps from Kitchenaid and Cuisinart talk about their products. The Kitchenaid rep spent all the time dissing on other brands, particularly Cuisinart. So, when we met with the Cuisinart rep next, one of the first questions asked was, "how does product xyz rate compared to Kitchenaid product xyz?" The very intelligent rep said, "I'm not here to talk about Kitchenaid or any other brand. I'm here to talk about Cuisinart." And off she went. I was so very impressed with that. It actually colored my opinion of Kitchenaids for years and is partly why it took me so long to buy a Kitchenaid mixer (even though I love it now).

Okay, I'm hopping off the soapbox. I hope overall more people start couponing and getting deals and I really don't care how they do it!

Oh and here's the story link:

People, be kind. Enough with the drama, please.

This is exactly why I should never leave the house with catlady hair. It always ends poorly.


Anonymous said...

HOW HOW HOW in the heck did you get 310 for free (just tax). I still had to pay for my first 10. i know. maybe a stupid coupon question, but I AM new, and figuring it all out. ps. called my sil to see if she wanted some of my 100 (like pay me the tax), but found out you already gave some away (her hubby is J6). You are a lot nicer than me! haha.

Kimber said...

I had a $10 coupon to start me off! I'd already been in there doing my other deals, so I was ready.

I have to share with my police family, lol! (and they paid the tax on it so I didn't give them away completely!)

Give yourself time, you are still new and it takes awhile, but yes, I did pay my $10 earlier in the day for everything!

Jeff & Ashlee Olsen & Family said...

Hey, I don't know if you know or not, but since you love Albies SOOOOO much, I thought I'd pass it along. They will make your babies first b-day cake for FREE!!! It's a round 8 or 9 inch cake and they'll personalize it and everything. (I know I'm only 3 kids late, but better late than never right?)

Sandi said...

Sorry about the drama. I have a friend who is considering paying for a class but now is wondering if she should. I told her it depends on how much she wants to figure out for herself, and how much she wants handed to her. Depending on whether you have more time or money, it's a great deal either way! (I figured it out for myself after 4 months.)

Thanks for the birthday cake info on Albies. My daughter will hit the 1 year mark soon!

Natalie said...

Thanks for the clarifications! And I'm totally stoked about the b-day cake possibility for Eliza.

When good deals arise, the feral actions come out and that's when we REALLY see a person's true colors. Thanks for showing us that you can still be level-headed amongst all the crazies!

Debi (Dubs2007) said...

First of all -- I feel soo slow!! You are in my area!! I live near winco! yeah a couponer near me finally!! (yeah, I already mentioned I am slow...) 2nd.. yeah, n/m I will go back and re-read, maybe I'll find my answer the 2nd time through - this competition thing is confusing me..

I already had your site bookmarked, now i'll have to double bookmark it so I'll remember it is local!