Why Extreme Couponing Freaks Me Out

I knew there was quite a buzz surrounding Extreme Couponing (TLC), but I didn’t understand the extent of the “extreme” element until I finally watched an episode.  Wow.  I was speechless, to say the least.

Just to clarify, I do not have an issue with couponing in general, as I regularly use coupons myself.  I also don’t have an issue with frugal or thrifty living. In fact, I think it’s smart. What I do have an issue with is the stockpiling of food.  Now, stocking up on food makes sense when you have a large family AND plenty of room to store it.  However, in any other case it appears to border hoarding.  For example, a Extreme Couponing episode I watched showed a woman purchasing 20-30 bottles of mustard, even though she already had about 100 at home.  Um, why?

I mean, I get that the couponers are getting food cheaply or for free. I admire and respect the talent and skill that goes into the art of extreme couponing. BUT, do you really need to buy all 30 bottles of mustard?   Does the system not work unless you do buy all 30 bottles of mustard that you have a coupon for?  Can you just pick up 2?

I also wonder, do extreme couponers donate any of this food to the homeless? If so, stockpiling would make sense. Maybe I missed the episode that discussed this.  For now, I can only base my thoughts on the episodes I viewed where the couponers had toilet paper stuffed under their children’s beds and bedroom closets full of breakfast cereal.  I mean, wow.

Please tell me I’m missing something.  I get that reality television is already extreme in itself and things can be blown WAY out of proportion, but still, is this a healthy lifestyle? Could Extreme Couponing actually be a shopping addiction or even hoarding?  I would love to hear your thoughts.