Time for another of my (in)famous vents. Yesterday was April Fool’s Day, only the joke was on me. Last weekend, many of us found coupons good for $3 off three tubes of Crest toothpaste. As some MHOTC readers know, I often shop for local charities who need personal care products and non-perishable food. Safeway had the Crest toothpaste on sale for 99¢. Unfortunately, by the time I hit the stores on Sunday, there was no more Crest.
Okay, I get it, everyone wanted to get in on the deal. Stores restock their shelves every few days. Knowing this, I asked one of the managers at the Safeway on S. Havana when to return. I was told the toothpaste would arrive on Tuesday night and be restocked Wednesday. So, early Wednesday I drive over to Safeway and…yep, the shelves were empty. No Crest toothpaste. I asked one of the clerks, “What gives?” She told me that the shipment has actually come in Monday night and the store were restocked the next day.
But, and here’s why I’m mad, a group of 12 women swept in like locust right at opening on Tuesday and cleared the place out. That’s right, hundreds of tubes of toothpaste. They were buying 20 to 30 at a time. Word on the street is this “coupon gang” (and I could use other descriptive words, but MHOTC is “G”-rated) swarms the store and others around town, buying up super-sale items and then reselling at small stores and bodegas they operate. They do this repeatedly. Shame, shame on you, ladies. Not only is this unfair to other shoppers, but as my friend, Teresa, would say, just not nice.
Let me be clear, this is not a rant against Safeway. One of the managers, Tausha, went out of her way to track down the person who handles the ordering, find out when the next toothpaste shipment would be and kindly gave me a raincheck so I could shop without having to storm the doors at 7 a.m. and use my grocery cart as a battering ram to knock some of these extremists aside. In fact, several of the Safeway staffers apologized to me. I was told the store is trying to rein in this “gang”, but to no avail.
As someone who teaches couponing workshops, I know that there are ways to pay just pennies for certain products such as toothpaste, toilet paper and liquid soap. But there is nothing more frustrating than entering a supermarket on the first day of a sale and finding empty shelves. I write this post knowing it is unlikely the culprits read MHOTC. (Our subscribers are all very nice.) Still, if you do encounter someone (or, more likely, a group of “someones,” as they typically travel in packs like hungry wolves) clearing shelves and dumping 10 or 20 of a product into their carts, give them the evil eye and maybe point out that there are others out there who are being deprived due to these greedy folks. Someone call the “Extreme Coupon Police!”