Beginning in the 1880s, companies began formulating more concise tactics for attracting their customers away from their competitors and towards their own business, and thus, advertising was officially born. Coming up with unique ways to gain customer attention become a business of its own, and it was a business with a lot of buyers. Today, advertising is one of the biggest industries around, and companies small to large clamber for their share of trade, each one trying to be more original and enticing than the last, to be the “purple cow” of the advertising world. However, many companies still use the most basic ways of attracting customers such as slashing prices or offering coupons for discounted prices. For me personally, coupons rarely get my attention or prompt me into buying that store’s goods/service because in such a flashy world of advertising, the bland tricks fade into the background, and coupons can often be more of an annoyance than a help.
Advertising is the business of standing out, and coupons are such a common and overused way of advertising, I often don’t even notice them. When flipping through a newspaper with maybe a page or two offering coupons to different stores or watching another commercial boasting its lowered prices, the ads go in one ear and out the other because they’re not memorable enough to stay. Only the coupons selling extreme discounts ever get my attention, and if I feel it’s worth the effort of getting the coupon and then making a trip down the store, then I might use it. More times than not though, it is not worth the effort to me.
Especially as a young adult with my mother still paying for most of what I have, I have little need for coupons when I have no worry about saving a couple dollars here and there. If I were to actually stand back and look at how much money I could potentially be saving by hunting down coupons, then I would mostly likely be saving quite a bit, but at each individual purchase, the small change never seems to matter. Quite frankly, even knowing it’d be wiser to use a coupon, I still spend money on those expensive impulsive buys rather than waiting to find a coupon before buying it, simply because the item is there and I want it right away. Nor does it ever really cross my mind to print out a coupon or cut it out from the newspaper before I go shopping, and when it does, I end up putting the coupon away and forgetting about it.
Not to mention, there are rarely coupons for the things I actually want to buy that are convenient to get. Most of the coupons in the newspaper or being emailed to me are often for things I have no interest in. The things I do want, pair of jeans from my favorite store, a cute new pair of earrings, never seem to appear in the coupon section. What does appear is the everyday items that aren’t exciting, such as a case of bottled water or a new bottle of vitamins at the drugstore. Simply put, these coupons don’t motivate me to rush out to the store to buy that item.
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Only when I see a coupon, or receive one over email, to one of my favorite stores or for something I already intended to buy, will I use one. Stores will often ask if you want to sign up for their email list to receive regular coupons and updates on their sales, but the emails are so annoying, I usually just sign up for the stores I love. When I am in college and become financially independent, I most likely will make much more use out of coupons, and more of an effort to find them, but for right now, out of all the advertising techniques trying to get my attention, coupons are failing to entice me into buying their product.