One seemingly gray area of couponing is whether or not you should take a peelie coupon off of a product without purchasing the product. As part of my coupon etiquette series, I’m going to explain why you should not be a peelie thief.
What is a Peelie?
A peelie is a coupon that is attached to the outside of the package of a product and can be peeled off and scanned at the register on the same day you purchase the product. These coupons are usually found at random and are a great way to save money!
Unfortunately, some people take those coupons without buying the item. Many times I have come across product displays where it is evident that someone has taken the peelie coupon off of every single product!
Should You Take Peelies?
Peelie coupons are clearly meant to be used on the item they are attached to. Many of them even note that the cashier must remove the coupon at the register in order for it to be valid.
If the coupon is attached in any way to a product, I consider it a part of that product. It becomes the property of the purchaser of that product.
I view peelies the same way as a free sample that is attached to a full-size product. The free sample belongs to the purchaser of the full-size product, even though they are not technically paying for the free sample. In the same way, the peelie coupon belongs to the purchaser of the product.
Would you cut a coupon off the back of a cereal box without buying the cereal? Would you open a package, take the coupons out, and place the package back on the shelf? NO.
Just because this particular coupon is on the outside of the package does not mean it should be taken without the purchase of that item.
There are other coupons in stores (like blinkies and tearpads) that are free for the taking – and you don’t even have to use them at the store you find them in!
This brings me to a similar etiquette tip – don’t take all the coupons.
How Many Coupons Should You Take?
It is okay to take more than one tearpad or blinkie coupon. You can even take several, depending on how many are available. If there is just one lonely tearpad, I recommend you only take one or two coupons. If there are stacks and stacks of coupons, you could probably take three or four.
In the end, it’s all about being courteous. Treat other couponers the way you would like to be treated.
:: Coming up next up in the coupon etiquette series: “Don’t Steal Newspaper Inserts.”