Oct 14

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What is “gang-cutting”?

To make a “gang cut” refers to the stacking of multiple coupons and cutting all the coupons at the same time. Therefore they have the exact same cut marks. Most Sundays, I will have five papers and I stack and cut my coupons to save time before filing them in my binder. Am I committing a crime? It can be a touchy subject in the couponing world!

Back in the 1970’s one of the most famous “gang-cutting” cases took place. Gang-cutting became a problem because stores were gang-cutting leftover coupon inserts and then submitting them to the manufacturer for reimbursement on items that were never purchased. It is estimated that over 100 million coupons were submitted for reimbursement for items that were never purchased and in some cases, the store didn’t even carry!!

Manufacturers have been fighting back on extreme couponers. (Read: a few people ruining the system for all the good, honest people who work hard to save their family’s money!) The newspaper industry has put restrictions on the sale of inserts (you cannot buy inserts from a third-party, although you can pay for their time clipping for you.) Stores have fought back as well. The manufacturers have reserved the right to refuse reimbursement to stores who accept gang-cut coupons and some like P & G have imposed a four like item limit on their coupons. Therefore, many stores have imposed product limits and a right to refuse any coupons that appear gang-cut or even coupons that the consumer tells the cashier were purchased online. Another red flag is a staple or staple mark in the coupon which would indicate they were stapled together and then cut as a group. If a store accepts gang-cut coupons, they run the risk of never being reimbursed.

What all does this mean for us regular folks who are just working to save for our families? It personally made me think twice about stacking my coupons and clipping them together. I LOVE my coupons and I feel there is a lot of negative press swirling around currently which makes manufacturers and stores leery. I don’t want to do anything which would make my store decide to negatively change their policy. I would encourage everyone to follow the rules and always coupon ethically. Read your coupons carefully and don’t try to “sneak” items into your transactions that shouldn’t be there. I believe there is more good than bad in the coupon world and if the “good side” continues to do what is right, that will eventually outshine the bad!

Thanks to Jill Cataldo for her helpful post which made me think!
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