Extreme dysfunction

A greedy person and a pauper are practically one and the same. ~ Swiss Proverb


Ladies and gentlemen, I am taking a break from my “all-about-me-and-my-woes” blogging to discuss something that has been on my mind for a little while.  It’s the show “Extreme Couponing” on TLC.


Let me disclaim, before we start, that because of this show, I have decided to use coupons a little more consistently.  And my irritation with this show *isn’t* because they use coupons.  It isn’t even because they take a shopping trip from $1000 down to $55.  The truth is that I think it’s a savvy and proactive way to save money.  My issues with this show are that it spotlights greed and gluttony in a way that makes the subjects of the show “heroes”.


Compare it to “Hoarders” on the same channel.  The truth is that there is no difference, in my opinion.  One person collects, what appears to us as useless junk.  The other collects things that are useful.  But, in the end, is it really different?  Only in America would we make a show that is entirely based on greed, gluttony and pride.


**Side note: some of these people who buy tons of foodstuff actually donate it and help other people.  One couple donated $75K of groceries to a charity.  Those are *not* the people I am referring to.  It’s the lady who has 150 packages of cat treats and doesn’t own a cat! It’s the people who bought 200 containers of Aleve to add to their stockpile of dozens.  That medicine will expire before anyone uses it!  That’s so fucking wasteful!

Whew!  Okay.  I can feel the hair standing up on my neck.  Yes.  This really, really irritates me.


I grew up as a have-not.  We were poor.  And not that kind of poor that people just bitch about because they didn’t get everything they wanted.  Or their parents didn’t buy cable.  I’m talking real poverty.  I remember, once, I didn’t eat any solid food for days.  I learned that caffeine was an appetite suppressant.  So I drank lots and lots of tea.  After days of my tea-induced-stomach-shrinking, I ate a sandwich.  It was payday, you see, and I finally got to eat again.  And it wouldn’t stay down.  My stomach wouldn’t take it.

I was 7 years old.


My issue is that people buy all of this crap, just for the glory of knowing that they saved 98% of their shopping bill.  That’s crazy.  And what’s worse?  The way TLC makes them out to be these small-time-heroes.  In my incredibly blunt opinion, they are exactly the same as a hoarder.  It is an illness.  It isn’t something to be celebrated.  If I were to go to a friend’s house and see that their children had no room for toys in their closets or under beds because they had their stockpile there, I would call them out.  That’s not okay!


These women (mostly) who spend 75 hours a week clipping coupons instead of working… wow.  I’m not a stay-at-home-mom-type-of-girl (I think we’ve already established that), but really?  75 hours a week?  Here’s a clue, lady: how about actually spending time with your children and family doing things that enrich their lives instead of obsessing over the double coupon day at your local grocery store.  You really think your kids are going to grow up and say, “Wow… my mom is awesome?”  Nope.  More than likely, they will wonder how to get your attention.  And will probably, and sadly, make a coupon book full of things that they want to do with you in the desperate hope that you’ll actually engage them.


Yeah… sad, huh?  *This* is what that show spotlights.  It’s unfortunate.  I hope that the rest of America isn’t so duped by creative filming.  Hopefully they see, as I do, that these people have control issues.

My bottom line: just because dysfunction isn’t dressed as a tattered and weathered hobo, doesn’t mean that it isn’t dysfunction.  You can put all the pretty bows on a disorder that you want to.  At the end of the day, it’s still an illness.


That’s my soapbox for today.  And no, I didn’t use a coupon to get it.


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