Most of us are upset (and rightfully so) by people who clear store shelves, leaving nothing behind for others.
But does the game change if that haul is being donated? My answer: no, it doesn’t. It’s still rude.
Oh, the Irony…
Imagine a gentleman going to open a door for a lady. Nice guesture, right? But suppose that in the process of opening the door for the lady, he knocks another lady to the ground in the process, and steps over her.
That is how I feel about folks who choose to clean out stores in the name of charity.
Remember, some families need those items NOW. Believe it or not, a lot of folks may be counting on the stock to be in the store so they can take advantage of the deal now. It seems really unfortunate to me if there are families trying to put food on the table by carefully matching store ads and coupons only to find the stock is gone, cleared out by a generous couponer and sitting at a food bank somewhere.
You might be surprised to learn that many stores also support local food banks. When I toured a food bank last year, I was surprised to learn that my local Albertsons provides the food bank with produce on a regular basis. You might consider chatting with your store manager to find out what they may already be doing, or encourage them to get involved if they aren’t.
Tips for Donating
So, am I saying donating is wrong? Absolutely NOT. I WANT you to be generous and support food banks. But I want to encourage you to do so in a tactful way.
I want you to be that gentleman that opens the door for first lady, and keeps it open for the second lady. This can be done.
1. Work WITH your store. If you see a great deal? Please call your store! Ask if they couldn’t order in extra stock of a certain item so you can take advantage without clearing the shelves. Incidentally, much of what you may have seen on TLC’s Extreme Couponing was staged. The contestants were able to give their stores a big heads up. (It’s just too bad in most cases the American public was left in the dark about this process.)
2. Work WITH your food bank. Please be considerate of your local food banks too. Not all food banks may be thrilled to see you pull up with a u-haul full of mustard. Determine which items your food bank could use the most. One bank I toured last year was so short on space that pallets of food literally had to be forklifted in and out of the bank every day.
3. Use coupons as intended. Do I really have to say this? Yes, I do, because there has been some serious fraud afoot (which I will be addressing in a subsequent post later this week). For the record: donating your groceries does NOT make defrauding stores and manufacturers OK. You are not a modern day Robin Hood.
4. Teach others to do this! Imagine mentoring another family on how to best use coupons and stockpile. So instead of providing them with a bag of free food, you begin to help them transform how they shop and fill their pantry. (Even better, why not do both?)
5. Look for great opportunities to give. Couponing for Community is teaming with Stamp out Hunger this year to bring in non-perishable food items from May 8 – 14. Please read more on their Facebook page. If many people each gave $20 worth of food, the impact may be more effective than one person giving mass quantities of one item.
What do you think? Is it OK to clear shelves because you intend to donate all those items? Or, do you agree with me and think there are better ways of going about this?
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