Be still my coupon-loving heart. Yes, you are broken. But the healing will begin — eventually.


I have to say I’m sad to say a new case of coupon fraud has been exposed on one of my favorite shows, and the reason I started couponing last year, Extreme Couponing on TLC.


In an episode that seemed too good to be true when it aired, a high schooler named Joel managed to get through a haul that included 36 coupons for free Quilted Northern toilet paper.


Now, I’m not claiming to be the queen of couponing, but even I raised an eyebrow at that one.


For those not familiar with coupons for completely free products — well, they’re not easy to come by. You usually have to write letters to companies in support of their products in hopes of possibly receiving free product coupons.


The few I’ve used have been for one of my dog’s high-dollar dog food — which has been a life saver, but nonetheless took an effort to obtain.


However, since I do know people sell their coupons on resale websites, such as Ebay, it didn’t seem completely impossible that Joel could have obtained that many coupons.


I came across an article through Yahoo! News, which stated that the Quilted Northern coupons 16-year-old Joel used in the episode were in fact counterfeit. To remedy the situation, his mother has since paid the store they were purchased at the full $400 retail the toilet paper was worth.


In hindsight it all makes sense — seeing as during the episode, the coupons were not ringing up properly, with the register saying the code on the coupons was invalid. But in the name of television (and ratings…and free advertising), the manager gladly came over to override the register and push the coupons through during the original transaction.


But you know my coupon-loving heart was still curious after reading this intriguing case of coupon fraud. As I searched for other reports and stories on the subject, I found several other articles posted on reputable news sites with further claims of coupon fraud on the infamous show.


In the long run, I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. Most episodes have seemed beyond belief—even considering most of the participants were stay-at-home moms with much more time on their hands than myself. It was hard however not to be envious of their savings. I mean, to get a grocery bill to go from $1,300 to less than ten dollars? Seems awesome to me.


But, if the way to get there is finding fake coupons and hoping they go through, or learning how to cheat the coupon bar coding system to use coupons for products other than the ones they were intended for — then I opt out of “extreme” savings.


I’ll stick to my price matching at Wally World, and to my trusty Trapper Keeper, full of valid coupons. After all, I can’t let down all those cashiers who rightfully call me “the price matching lady.” All in the name of honestly saving money. Nothing less, and nothing more.