The new TV show, Extreme Couponing, has taken the world by storm (I have always wanted to say that, so bear with me in the cheesiness, m'kay?) I have happened to catch a few episodes, and one thing has struck me about this show.
These people are hoarders.
Sure, their hoarding is celebrated by our society's appreciation of "do-it-yourselfness" as well as a sometimes not verbalized desire to stick it to "the man" (or in this case, major corporations...). But a theme that I have heard over and over again on this show is that these people started their stockpiles during times of stress...losing jobs, loss of income, etc. It is almost their drug. Arguably a better drug than, oh, most other pharmaceuticals legal and otherwise...but still.
There was a woman who's stockpile was taking over her house. She had stuff in her kids' closets and the bathroom shower. Just because it is organized neatly, how is this any different than the people who's stuff is all over the place? It is still a way of dealing with anxiety. Would they be able to function without the couponing? What if they were unable to coupon? What would that do to them? Would they be OK, or would they end up in the corner in the fetal position, frantically clinging to the last edition of the Smart Source insert?
I am all for saving money. I am the first to head to the clearance racks, to check the shelves for cuts of meat that have a sell by date of today that have been marked down that I can freeze, to buy the day old bread. But honestly, by the time you use 1,000 tubes of toothpaste, surely some of them will have expired! I even saw an episode where a woman bought medicine that her family did not use because it was on sale and she got it for pennies (if not free). How is that helpful to have it sitting on your shelf? HOW IS THAT NOT HOARDING???