This week TLC debuted a new show called, "Extreme Couponing." Two of the women that were profiled in the first episode were interviewed on the Today Show. Follow along, kids, cuz my watching the interview saves us all from having to tune into this. It can take up to six hours to make a list with matching coupons. Dozens of papers are purchased on Sunday to get the coupons. The whole family is responsible for clipping coupons. They save more than 90% on their food bill.
Here's where the train jumped the track (as if the above weren't goofy enough). They call grocery stores regularly to find out their coupon policy and then work around it to beat the system. They have over 6000 canned goods in their home. Shelving was constructed in the basement just to hold the stockpiled food and the parents bedroom is stocked with canned fruits and vegetables. Hey, baby, looking at all them peaches is getting me horny. They monitor expiration dates and donate canned goods to a food pantry if they can't use them before they expire. 6000 cans of food and the nearly expired stuff goes to the less fortunate. Under the kids' beds were stored rolls of toilet paper. 11,000 rolls of toilet paper.
Reality t.v. never fails to find a circus to film. "People might think it's odd that we go to such lengths to save money, but we wouldn't have it any other way." When you have enough toilet paper to wipe the butts of a small country, that's not odd. That's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
This morning our paper had a story about poverty in our area. A little boy was seen at his preschool headfirst in a garbage can trying to get half-eaten peaches to take home to eat later because his unemployed parents couldn't afford any more food than what they could get from the local food pantry. In desperate times, there are plenty of heroes trying to pull people out of some very dark places and they are all around us. They'll never get a reality show (maybe because it's too real) but here's hoping that the Barnum and Bailey family's five minutes of fame lasts only two.