July 21, 2009

Mystery Presents: The Coupon Caper!

After my post this morning, I could not stop wondering what reason there could be for not having coupons in the paper.

At first I thought perhaps it was just stollen. It happens; you buy a paper and some Meanie Meanerson has gone through the pile and helped themselves to the coupons from your paper.

Then I wondered if maybe coupon placement had something to do with the readership/circulation numbers, and the Star's numbers had fallen to below this minimum requirement.

I also wondered if, because we are so close to Birmingham, it had gotten some sort of monopoly on the coupons so that people would buy their paper on Sundays.

So instead of spending the day speculating, I went ahead and called the paper, even though I had no idea what department to ask for. I just told the lady who answered that I was researching coupons and she passed me along without any further inquiry. I'd like to think she was just that good that she knew exactly who I needed to talk to, but I suspect she just didn't care.

The next person on the line was also unable to answer any of my questions beyond saying that they just didn't get any coupons that week to insert. Well, at least that ruled out theievery. She was very kind, though, and when I asked if there was anyone I could talk to who might be able to answer some questions, she passed me along to Mr. Dimitrius Hardy. Mr. Hardy was very nice, and had a good chuckle when I explained to him the project and why I was asking so many questions about coupons. But best of all, he was able to answer my questions.

According to Mr. Hardy, despite the fact that there is a coupon insertion list out there which tells what weeks you should find a supplement in the paper, there are simply some weeks that the Star does not get zoned for a supplement. Advertisers decide when they want to run those, and this happened to be one of those weeks that they chose not to. He said they had coupons for the first two Sundays in July and also for the last, but not this week, for whatever reason. I'd really love to know if this has to do with the circulation numbers as I originally wondered, but he said he simply did not know the specific whys. I also wish I had gotten a Birmingham paper so I would know if there was a SmartSource supplement in there!

He was able to say that the several weekly papers they own rarely if ever have supplements. He said they happen into those papers maybe once or twice a year, but that is it. That makes sense to me, but I also now wonder if weekly papers wouldn't sell better if there was a promise of getting a little coupon supplement in there of some sort!

When I inquired as to the whereabouts of the grocery store circulars, he said that in this area, grocery sales run Wednesday to Tuesday, so the grocery store circulars come out in the Wednesday papers. That definitely answers my question, but I guess I am spoiled because though our grocery sales also run Wednesday to Tuesday, we get both a Sunday circular AND a separate circular via mail or "yard post" which has the new sales on Tuesday nights/Wednesday. I'd like to know the advantage of doubling up on those of us who recieve the circulars twice. Honestly - it helps out those of us who don't normally take a paper because the Tuesday "yard post" and Wednesday mailed versions are absolutely free and delivered, so if I weren't looking for coupons, I'd still be getting information on the grocery sales!

So...mystery sort of solved, unless you count the questions I now have the stem from all my new information. And you can be guaranteed that I am going to delve deeper into the business end of the coupons! Like, how are the availability of coupons online affecting Sunday newspaper sales?

Aren't you all so glad I have a ridculous fascination?

Also, since I am stuck here without the ability to complete my contest as intended by the deadline I had originally imposed, I think I am going to take the suggestion of a reader and feature the pantries as I get them. This way I still get to satisfy my voyeuristic intentions, and at the end of the 30 days, I can still randomly pick a winner from the number order in which they were received! So keep sending me your pantries...and any information you want to share about them. If you think you have the best organizational system, let me know it so I can share it! If you just need to be shamed into cleaning it up, let us help you by showing it for all the Internet to see! Whatever your intention, you can't lose: Helping yourself or others, you'll still be eligible for the prize!

For now I'm off to get out my coupon stash from home and scour the internet in preparation for tomorrow's hometown grocery sales!


Anonymous said...

I bought a Sunday paper here, which I do periodically if I'm in the mood. It had one pitiful coupon circular, that really had no coupons, just advertisements for things like Obama afghans or other such nonsense.

The grocery circulars always run in the Wednesday paper around here, but during the summer I usually just go online to view them. During the school year, I get a daily paper in the library, so I can have them in my hands then. There's my regional differences FYI.

clippedblog said...

Oh, thanks for the online reminder! I just recently discovered that stores other than Target have this function, and forget that I can get the scoop without having to wait on my "yard mail" :-D