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Utah Couponers Turn to Illegal Means for Building Stockpiles

Following a sharp increase in coupon theft from newspapers, some convenience store owners are placing newspapers behind the counter.
August 16, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY - With the couponing craze in full force, many Utah residents, in an effort to multiply their savings, are turning toward illegal behavior to expand their stockpiles, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Stealing newspapers is becoming more widespread, with some couponing zealots stealing multiple copies from newsstands by putting in money for just one copy �" and then taking the rest.

The practice has become so widespread that Provo��s Daily Herald has elected to temporarily put just one Sunday newspaper in each rack in many locations.

"Putting [money] into the newsstand for one copy and removing all [of them] �" it��s definitely theft," said Salt County Deputy District Attorney Jeff Hall. "It��s like walking into a grocery store and putting eight candy bars into your pocket, paying for one and walking out."

Convenience store owners are also reporting a sharp increase in the number of people who are removing coupons from newspapers. Some have been forced to take newspapers off racks and put them behind the counter so customers don��t make off with the coupons.

TLC network��s "Extreme Couponing" is thought to be a factor in the increase in such incidents, glorifying the efforts of shoppers in accumulating coupons.

For instance, on a recent episode, the show highlighted the efforts of Desirae, who was "so thrifty, she [didn��t] even pay for newspapers. She [got] all of her coupons from public recycling bins."

The dumpster diving technique at stores and schools is a concern to store owners, who have found people rifling through garbage in an effort to find extra coupon inserts. Store owners are indeed concerned, especially with liability issues should someone got hurt climbing into a metal dumpster.

Many stores have begun tightening their coupon policies, and manufacturers are placing limits on the number of coupons that can be redeemed during a store visit.