Coupon Fairies Pay It Forward

It was a rare occasion when, for some reason, my husband was in the grocery store with me as I scrambled to gather a few things. I had a great coupon – any coupon of $1 or more rates four stars with me – that would expire the following day for peanut butter. Unfortunately, I had plenty of peanut butter already, so I sat the coupon next to the stock on the shelf and began moving on. (I say “unfortunately” because I hate not getting the satisfaction of using a four-star coupon.)

“What are you doing?” he asked, puzzled.

“I’m leaving it for someone else,” I replied, as if this weren’t obvious.

“You don’t just set that stuff down in a store!” he objected, almost indignant.

“Of course I do! Everyone does! Nobody lets a good coupon go to waste. You mean you haven’t noticed  a coupon sitting next to the item in the store before?” And his puzzled expression was proof that I had been managing the grocery shopping for far too long. This man needed to acclimate himself with the customs among bargain hunters. Evidently golf stores don’t have a coupon protocol.

Since that conversation I’ve come to appreciate a tucked-in coupon as something of a lucky penny, only better. A found coupon thoughtfully placed is not only a gesture of goodwill, it’s also worth much more than a penny, maybe thirty-five to 100 times more. It’s sort of an oxymoron, an act of generosity from a miserly shopper.

I’m sure we coupon fairies are the bane of the shelf-stocker’s existence. No doubt somebody’s “zone defense” strategy of stacking all the cans, facing all the labels, and lining up packages precisely on each shelf would be more satisfying if we pesky bargain hunters weren’t stuffing little papers amidst all their hard work. Don’t you know they hate to see a woman heading down one of their assigned aisles clutching a coupon caddy?

Thrifty shoppers are full of good intentions. They want to see someone benefit even if they can’t. Coupon planting must be like the code campers follow, a sort of effort to preserve the environment so others can come along later and enjoy it just as much.

BirminghamMoms, be unapologetic and leave that coupon for someone else to use. The manufacturer will be delighted even if the stock boy/girl isn’t.

This coupon fairy went so far as to set the featured product out prominently. Evidently the stockers were a little behind on filling the near-empty shelves…probably busy picking up stray coupons.