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Making the Most of Home: Coupons: Selling vs. sharing

Ann Haney • Updated Mar 19, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Selling coupons was a big “no-no” in times past. Coupons clearly state in the fine print disclaimer that selling coupons constitutes fraud and is not advised. 

In the past, we have seen consumers work around this disclaimer by stating they are selling their services of either cutting the coupons or some similar service they provide. This became big business on many internet sites, including eBay. 

No doubt we can understand the concept of passing on coupons we don’t intend to use to others who might benefit from the savings associated with the coupon. However, giving a coupon and selling a coupon are two different concepts. In a world where everyone is trying to make a buck, many have found ways to sell discounts. This may seem harmless to some, but as with everything, we must look at the bigger picture. Are we hurting others when we choose to do this, or is it just a matter of not following procedures put forth by Vlassis or the store? 

A few weeks back, I mentioned in an column the procedures of some who buy in excess and resell at a higher price trying to turn a buck. As I mentioned in that column, this procedure can directly hurt consumers, especially those who have a tight budget and use the principle of couponing to stretch each week’s dollars to feed their family. 

This, of course, has a direct impact due to those who count on the item at a discount price actually on the shelf, and they arrive to find no item, because the store was bought out by those who buy to resell and make a profit. Clearly we can see the damage and the financial burden to provide this can cause that some shoppers face. 

But what about selling coupons; does it directly hurt consumers? The short answer would probably be “no,” as it does not drastically impact them. However, this is more of a principle thing. A store or provider of a service like coupons put specific rules in place for their business. When these rules are not followed, consumers have generally decided themselves that the rule was unnecessary and should not be followed. 

So why the big deal? Vlassis and stores use this policy for a specific reason to produce a specific outcome. Their initial goal is to increase the production of their product by reaching numerous individuals as opposed to a handful who buy multiples of the same item. Why? More people buying the items up the odds that these people will become continual users of the product. 

One customer who buys 10 is not as economically positive as 10 customers buying one. The reason is simple; if the one customer ever decreases their buying, the manufacturer will feel the crunch, whereas, if one person stops buying one, nine others are still continuing to buy and probably telling their friends about the product, as well. 

One last thought. Think about how you would want others to shop your stores and honor your procedures. If you would find yourself frustrated with an action, steer clear of doing it yourself. 

Ann Haney is a mother to six entrepreneurial-minded children, ordained minister, CEO of Aaron Publishing, founder of Ann Haney Ministries and Living In Abundance, nationwide motivational speaker, coupon specialist, empowerment coach and bestselling author of 20 published products, including her books, “Judgment Overruled,” “Exploding Into Successful Entrepreneurship,” “Single Steps In A Married World” and “Changing Your Life Through Couponing Financial Empowerment Series.” Contact Ann at ann@annhaney.com to schedule a speaking engagement, individual coaching or view her website for more information at annhaney.com.

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