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Who Left That Coupon There?

The Great Grocery Whodunnit

I'm sure you've all experienced this before, but it's one of those things that I never hear people talking about, so I'm bringing it up now. You go into a grocery store, and you find a lone coupon placed on top of one of the products you occasionally buy. It's not one of those in-store coupons that comes from the mechanical dispensers you find in some aisles, no siree... this is a bona-fide mailer coupon that was clipped out by somebody and left for one lucky individual to find. My question to you guys is simple: who is leaving these random coupons on the grocery shelves?

My first guess would have to be old ladies. We all know at least one elderly woman who is willing to comb through the weekly papers for coupons that will save them tens of cents. Well, what if some of these people are generous geriatrics who simply won't let a coupon go to waste? Maybe they're not interested in eating Cocoa Pebbles, but they'll be damned before they let that $1.00 off coupon end up in the trash, so they bring it to the grocery store and leave it near all the cereal boxes for one lucky wanderer to stumble upon. Hopefully that lucky wanderer is me, because 4-5 bux for a box of cereal that comes with no toy prize is criminal I tells ya.

The other possibility I've come up with is more of a conspiracy theory I suppose. What if there are some hired guerrilla marketers behind these randomly placed coupons. Think about it; if you see a coupon on top of one box of cereal (thus making it $1.00 cheaper than the other nearby brands), chances are you'd be more likely to buy that one. Maybe these marketers figure if they can get you to buy just one box, you'll be hooked from that point onward?

So what do you guys think? Do you have any other theories as to who is behind these seemingly random coupon placements? Who are they? What is their motivation? Do they enter the grocery stores late at night under the cover of darkness to perform these coupon covert ops? I don't know why I fantasize about these kind of things being far more exciting and scandalous than they really are... I just can't help it.


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Invisible on 04/22/2008 2:43 am

I agree with your first theory. I've actually seen this done and done it myself. My daughter and I have gone around and left coupons on the products of things we don't use. Some are very grateful that they can use them.

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El Sammo on 04/22/2008 4:04 am

I'm going with the second theory. They employ ninjas to place the coupons to avoid being caught by shoppers and security cameras.

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Mystik Tomato on 04/22/2008 8:59 am

4-5 bux for a box of cereal?!

Holy crap! All the good (read: only sugar has more sugar) cereals cost 7-8.50 dollars where I live! And they never come with toys! Or coupons left by old lady coupon ninjas!


Frostor (Guest) on 04/22/2008 9:12 am

From my experience working in a store, it's most likely either the first theory or the simple fact that they intended to buy that item with the coupon, but then had second thoughts, which prompted them to leave the coupon they were going to use.

However, I also must say that it's a nuisance for the people who work there when cleaning up the aisles. Whenever I see a coupon lying on top of an item, into the trash it goes. Store tends to get too messy otherwise.

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flash_fox on 04/22/2008 11:55 am

I figured it was a scheme set up by people who make coupon books to begin with so people would know the benefits of taking the time to cutting those out, but I guess the first theory of yours makes more sense.

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Metal Misfit on 04/22/2008 12:40 pm

=D I love it! Yes, it is high time someone addressed this issue.

But let us not forget the other side of the coin... I work at a Walgreens and if someone *doesn't* pick those coupons up off the shelves and use them, I get stuck having to grab'em all after closing.

Kinda off topic, but another peeve is when people take our whole ad around the store and then leave it on a shelf somewhere. And I'm talking about finding it *hidden* behind boxes of cereals or behind all the Dawn liquids. We have hundreds of copies in-store, why are people HIDING them behind our products?


Jay-tee (Guest) on 04/22/2008 1:52 pm

Meh.. I worked at an at-price ghetto mart for a year or so. I got my cocoa pebbles at warehouse cost. Woo. Also, I randomly placed coupons out of boredom.

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Silver on 04/22/2008 1:54 pm

Aliens! I'm sure this is their work!

Seeing stuff like this happen around a place supposed to provide you what you would buy in order to ensure your survival makes you wonder if we are alone or not in this galaxy.

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El Sammo on 04/22/2008 2:00 pm

Well, Metal Misfit, ninjas get bored too. Hiding things for you to find begrudgingly is their idea of a good time.

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Mormon_Norman on 04/22/2008 2:24 pm

The coupons are most likely left there by octogenarian Nazi war criminals trying to purge themselves of their crushing guilt.

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ginmortal on 04/22/2008 2:58 pm

Nah, the coupons are probably being left by some dark entity that lives underneath the shelves.

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Desert_Screams on 04/22/2008 4:08 pm

It is, I'm fairly certain, one of the more obscure initiation rites into one of the lesser Lovecraftian cults. Ancient deities love sugary cereal, y'see.

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Ferrit on 04/22/2008 4:10 pm

Benign time travelers from the future bringing back expired coupons for us to find and use before their expiration date. 20/20 did an expose on this a few months ago - the moose out front should have told you.

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MissEvie on 04/22/2008 4:54 pm

The trolls that lived under the bridges decide that placing coupons around a store was easier than eating children, so they moved inside.


ColdFusion (Guest) on 04/22/2008 5:31 pm

I'm finding it hilarious how many of our readers here work at stores. I admire slash pity you fine hard-working folks.

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Count Mek on 04/22/2008 5:48 pm

It's already been said but Coupon Ninjas, wielding coupons like throwing stars.


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rise1revolt1 on 04/22/2008 8:01 pm

theory 1 - simple, i once had a lady come up and offer me a 20% off coupon therefore it is theory A

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Dungeonbrownies on 04/22/2008 9:44 pm

most of the time, someone just writes their list on a deathnote and the coupons simply appear there, thus causing death by purchase/consumption


but seriously, its usually the first one.
ive done that before
[not that im an aging octogenarian]
but that ive clipped a coupon but chagned my mind.
then i just leave it there.

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alittlebirdytoldmeso on 04/22/2008 10:16 pm

It's me. I'm the one leaving all those coupons around. You see, while meditating in a pixie stix sugar daze one day, it was revealed to me that my lifelong quest was to save people a few dollars on Nutella and whatnot.

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Another_Version on 04/23/2008 4:56 am

it's the coupon gnomes......


KidKC (Guest) on 04/23/2008 7:06 am

I actually am currently employed by a grocery store, I work 3rd shift stock. Our store in open 24 hrs., so you can imagine the folks we get in sometimes, but the coupon thing? man let tell you, when it triple coupon weekend.....someone might as well shot off a damned confetti gun, those things are EVERYWHERE. But it's my job and I get paid royally for keeping the store stocked and clean. Pays my bills and my internet connection.

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Nick on 04/23/2008 7:42 am

You're senile future self is using his time travel belt to systematically travel back in time to place coupons for you to find.


Su (Guest) on 04/23/2008 7:59 am

And here, I'd thought such coupons akin to the old dollar-bill-on-a-string gag. I've even gone so far as to step cautiously to one side of them. Damn my lack of childlike wonder! Once again, you leave me paying full price for my Oh's!


BatmanJohnson (Guest) on 04/23/2008 10:02 am

Speaking as some one that works in a grocery store we see these coupons and usually throw them out.

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RationalDementia on 04/23/2008 10:44 am

Wrong, you'e all wrong! This is another in a long line of government conspiracies to keep us fat and docile. Which government? Canada! They want us too full of overly sugared cereal and snack cakes so that when we all fall into a diabetic coma they can march down and turn our land into a giant mayonaise and Kraft MacN'Cheez processing center. Those of us who survive will be forced to work in the factories, preparing Potato O'Lay and Molson for our Quebecian overlords!

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StalfrosGR on 04/24/2008 9:55 am

I have witnessed (at PetSmart albeit) vendors who stock their products leaving a stray coupon or two on the same shelf. I haven't noticed that these are clipped out of news papers or box tops, but I thought the activity was strange at first and then made some crazy kind of sense.

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CaTlaloc on 04/24/2008 3:42 pm

You are all wrong. RoG, my wife and I have been clipping coupons and leaving them next to their products for years. Of course, we are both very sadistic and only leave behind EXPIRED coupons. Poor fools go to the register thinking that they will experience the extasy of saving, only to have their dreams crushed! wahahahaha...

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stevetothepast on 04/25/2008 12:25 am

I would say embarrassed husbands/boyfriends or wives/girlfriends for that matter, who feel cheap as their loved one made them "take the damn coupon"


Sparkster Sanjulo (Guest) on 04/25/2008 6:26 am

well i can say ive never seen a coupon left like in any of the amount of times ive been to walmart, so either even the coupon-giver-outer think walmart is so sucky (which it is) that it isn't worthy of their attention or everybody and their freakin' brother's getting them all before i see 'em


Kevin (Guest) on 04/25/2008 1:35 pm

It's advertising agents DISGUISED as elderly old women. It's just to make the illusion that much more believable.


John doe (Guest) on 04/26/2008 9:23 pm

I blame the crazy coupon placing ninja granny hackers.

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greenimp on 04/27/2008 6:07 pm

hey rog, gift horse dentistry here, who cares! (lads, there on to us)


Snooky (Guest) on 04/28/2008 6:59 pm

Damn you Greenimp, it was you all along! I should have known!


Cody (Guest) on 04/30/2008 1:24 pm

hahaha I had to laugh because I leave coupons ALL THE TIME!! (you don't live in the Albany, NY area do you?)

I cut many coupons and sometimes I have second thoughts about whether I need "that many cans of soup" etc... so I leave the coupon for someone else!


JackKnife (Guest) on 05/03/2008 11:20 pm

Ok, I will come clean and tell you all who it is. ITS THAT DAMN SASQUATCH! *it was from Billy Madison if you didn't know*


CouponNinja (Guest) on 05/05/2008 1:54 pm

Alas, I have been discovered...

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CouponNinja on 05/05/2008 2:03 pm

It is I.

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i-bobbery on 05/07/2008 3:19 pm

i have no idea what your talking about with the coupon thing but there is always an open can of some energy drink laying around Stop & Shop.


truck norris (Guest) on 05/13/2008 11:11 am

the chef from red october did it.


ThaBigMang (Guest) on 06/22/2008 3:41 am

As a former Grocery Manager for both Ralphs and Albertsons, I can tell you with all honesty...its US. Now, granted some times a customer does it just to be nice but most of the time, its us. It has nothing to do with back stock or a soon to be expired product. We do it to push sales. We do it to move units. Now, how do we get those coupons, you ask. Well, we dont cut them out ourselves but if we find one on the ground or somebody leaves their coupon book behind at a checkstand or in a grocery cart. We give them a few hours to call us for it but after that...we walk around the store and "place" the coupons. Some people outside my industry frown on that as being manipulatory and greedy....and they are probably right...but we have our reasons.

So, yeah. There it is. Thats the truth.

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