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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Maria F.

Do coupons influence my purchasing decisions? I can argue both sides quite easily; however I still come to the same conclusion: It is detrimental for society to let coupons choose what one is to buy. Allow me to express my understanding towards people who have coupons influence their shopping. I come from a family where we used to be able to buy the right amount without caring too much for the price. We would visit the mall every weekend and even occasionally on weekdays. We used to eat at a middle-class type restaurant. We would go to the grocery store and not even look at the price; we’d just get the “usual”.

Anyway, all this has changed. “The crisis hit,” as my father says, back in 2009 and we lost all the money on our home we sold which wasn’t worth as much as it would have been worth in 2008. My brother, mom, dad, and I moved to an apartment and began saving every penny—literally. I have been trained to always only look for what is on sale at the grocery store, rip out every coupon I see, and even trained for practical things such as ripping a napkin in half before I use it because what my family will save is something significant, especially for my brother’s education and my own.

So, you ask, how on earth could I be opposed to letting coupons influence my purchasing decisions? Consider this event: I am sitting at a round table with a group of high school students waiting to eat dinner. As I look around, there is only occasional conversation. As soon as one topic is extinguished, the table falls unanimously silent. The cause of this silence? The iPhone. Cross-eyed, each person at the table holds their iPhone no more than five inches away from their face with their thumbs scavenging not only the screen of their phone, but the depths of cyber space. Similarly, they are sitting with me at the table, but their minds are miles away.

As I sit there, I am greatly alarmed at the uniformity of the people I’m with and try to make sense of it. Is it a search for order and stability? Is it natural conformity? It could be all of these things or there could be a simpler answer: wanting to be part of an in-crowd. This idea not only pertains to having the same cool-looking phone as everyone else, but it extends to the want for societal inclusion. It become as societal problem which shapes and changes the individual’s behavior.

For instance, my friend’s whole attitude changed from the time she got an iPhone. Suddenly she was one of them. This might sound melodramatic but the correspondence of the time she got her iPhone to the change in her behavior is too close to be a coincidence. She once was a respectable girl who was nice to everyone and was very smart. You could tell her anything and your secrets would go into a deep vault at the bottom of her heart. Nowadays, however, her vault has become rusted: there are no more incoming secrets, for nobody can trust her now. The myriad of facts she used to contain in her intelligent mind are now a replica of her Facebook page she pulls up on her iPhone. They are a replica of her Facetime which she spend at least 45% of her day on. Her mind has become a social media file.

Inclusively, her personality became completely different. She not only became more outgoing, which can be a good thing, but she went beyond the realm of what is acceptable. It is safe to say that she was a crazy party person now. She is close to breaking her once well-defined limits and her serious personality which earned her inherent respect from others.

This all came about as a result of her purchasing choices. If we let other phenomena choose what our brains and consciences are designed for, detrimental things paralleling to this iPhone story will occur.

Even my friend repeatedly admits that the iPhone aids her social life dramatically. Her new obsession with being socially accepted suggests that the use of the iPhone has superseded its original intent (the same goes for coupons). Instead of facilitating communication, the life of the average teenager has been trapped in the evils the iPhone provides.

In conclusion, there are two options: 1) let coupons rule your decisions or 2) to embrace the struggle which will help form your identity and become a person with a choice. Real change starts at the very basics and shopping, like it or not, forms the basics of our society today. People in society should think about what they would like to ingest, what type of person they would like to portray, and the implications of what they are about to purchase before they allow an easy-way-out coupon to be civilization’s downfall.

A note from us at I’m In: Maria talks about the iPhone phenomenon that has occurred among her friends.  If you spend a lot of time  on your phone, why not use it to save at your favorite stores?  Download our app for iPhone or Android to have instant access to deals whenever you need them!

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