Coupons, Coupons and More Coupons!

Times are tough.  The pundits on all of those financial news programs keep insisting that the economy is rebounding despite the fact the cost of living keeps increasing but take-home pay keeps diminishing.  Unemployment continues to be a Great Depression levels with no sign of getting better anytime soon.  America needs a little help.

coupon on WannabeTVchef.comOne place to get that help is one of the many coupon web sites out there.  Grocery and restaurant  coupons have gone 21st Century – online and printable.  But whether you frequent CouponMom, CouponBug or CoolSavings there are a few points of coupon etiquette to remember.

We’ll start with restaurant coupons because there are really only two rules.  The first rule is never ask the restaurant to give you something other than what is listed on the coupon – dickering is not allowed.  Period.  Second, coupons do not apply to the tip.  Your tip should be the same with or without the coupon.  If that puts you in a financial pinch, you can ‘t afford to eat out.  Other than those two rules couponing a restaurant is groovy.

Grocery coupons have a few more rules.

  • The first rule for restaurants also applies to grocery coupons or any coupons for that matter.  No dickering ever.  The conditions on the coupon are non-negotiable.  The retailer is fully within their rights to refuse your coupon if you try to alter the conditions listed on it.
  • Always, without fail, have all of your coupons ready to go.  If you have to dig for it forget it.  The people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.The Coupon Mom on WannabeTVchef.com
  • If it works; it works.  If it doesn’t work; it doesn’t work.  Coupons are not binding contracts.  The people who issue them are free to change any or all aspects of the offer at any time for any reason without notifying the public.  The store does not have to honor the coupon.  Neither the producer nor the retailer should be penalized for a misprint that costs either profit.  So if the cashier scans it and it doesn’t work; move on.  The people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.
  • Price matching.  I am fully against retailers that price match but at the same time I get the business end of it.  What I do not understand is the person that pulls up to the register with a basket full of groceries and circulars from every grocer within a 100 mile radius.  If Winn Dixie has a better price on rump roast than Kroger then you need go to Winn Dixie to get it.  Retailers should have one register dedicated to price matching if they insist on following the practice.  If there is not a designated “price matching” lane then the customer should have to go to the customer service desk.  The people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.
  • Finally, and I cannot emphasize this enough, the people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.  If your coupon compulsion extends the check out process by more than a minute or so then you need to divide your savings equally among the other people in line behind you.  You owe them that.  You never have the right to decide how much of their time you waste.  Their time is more important than your bottom line.
  • Oh, one last rule.  The word is pronounced kyoo-pon or if you bow to it’s Frankish origins koo-pon but never koo-pun.  That just makes you sound silly.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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