The Atlanta Kroger Region is dropping its double coupon program.
According to its news release, Kroger is ending double coupons in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina on Sept. 21 as part of a new overall lower-price strategy.
I will be sorry to see Kroger end double coupons. I am very disappointed because Kroger was often featured in many episodes of a television show about extreme couponers. However, not long after the first episode aired, the Houston Kroger store featured in one of the first episodes became the test market for ending double coupons. Shortly after, the entire Texas region ended the practice.
I constantly talk about the rules in order to discourage shoppers from practicing fraud, knowingly or unknowingly, that makes both manufacturers and retailers suffer losses. In retaliation for those losses, manufacturers change coupon strategies, set coupon limitations and reduce coupon amounts for the next coupon cycle. Retailers react to losses by changing coupon policies, setting redemption limits and even refusing to take certain types of coupons.
Part of this reaction is understandable, but the amount of people who abused the system has always been only a small fraction of the group of so-called “extreme” couponers. In 2010, many people became curious about a reality show that featured people who used coupons and sales together to get things free or nearly free at a time most were afraid for their financial future. These new budget-minded individuals went out to buy binders and attended coupon workshops. Not every teacher taught about why you can’t photocopy Internet-printable coupons, why links to 99 percent of free product coupons were fakes and why you should never purchase coupons off eBay.
Starting in 2006, coupon usage among consumers rose steadily for five years, and during that time coupon production matched that growth. In 2012, coupon use began declining as food coupons dramatically decreased, despite more coupons being redeemed and while more non-food coupons were released. That trend has increased in 2013.
We can only wait and see if other chains decide to join Kroger in ending their double coupon programs. Only time will tell.