"At first, among couponers, we were kind of outraged for the people who were doing it right for so long," says Amy Edmiston, founder of the SavingwithAmy.com blog. On the upside, she adds, "This eliminates shelf-clearing … when the couponer comes in and gets 50 things and nothing is left on the shelf."
Aubrey Nix, the founder of the EasternShoreMom.com blog — that's the Eastern Shore of Alabama, not Maryland — says some consumers tear the packaging on items to get at a coupon, while others steal inserts from newspapers or coupon binders out of their fellow shoppers' grocery carts.
And some people take advantage of coding to use coupons on products not intended for the discount, she says.
"The game will be over if they keep treating it this way," Nix warns.
But the industry is addressing that last no-no.
New bar codes are being rolled out gradually and will replace the older version eventually, Miller says. Once that happens, shoppers won't be able to use a coupon for a product other than the one intended.