Something Procter & Gamble Doesn’t Want Me to Do

These pictures are taken five hours into my garage sale. We started setting up around 8:00 this morning and before I could even get inside the house to get the camera, people were coming, grabbing things as fast as we could put them out.  By the time I took these pictures, I’d already sold about $400 worth of new products, clothing and books.

One thing you might note from my garage sale is the amount of new products.

Why so many candles, deodorants, Hefty bags and Glade air fresheners?  By now you know that I am an avid couponer and I like to stockpile items I either got free, or very cheaply with my coupons.  See those Glade candle tins?  They were on  clearance for $1.60 and I had $1.50 coupons.  The Hefty bags were free with coupons. 

The books?

They were either from a $1 a bag sale, $2 a box, or the 12 for $1 sale I ran across at Salvation Army.

PROCTER & GAMBLE wants me to stop having garage sales with new health and beauty items, at least THEIR health and beauty items. How do I know this?  Because this weekend’s Procter & Gamble coupon insert tells me so.  Please note at the bottom of the P&G coupons in your Sunday paper the small print that states only four like coupons per person, and not to be used on products for re-sale.  This isn’t the first time that Procter & Gamble showed their disdain for coupons and coupon users. 

From my work in progress:

In January of 2001, the Journal of Marketing published a study on the effects of Procter & Gamble’s decision to reduce its coupon distribution from 1990 to 1996. The study looked across 24 categories at the effects of the company’s 20.7% increase in advertising, 15.7% decrease in trade deals, and 54.3% decrease in coupons. P&G’s net prices also rose 20.4% during this same seven-year period.

            What were the results of this experiment? P&G lost roughly 18% in marketing share. The study concluded that promotion has a stronger impact on market share than advertising for the average Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and concluded that decreasing coupon promotions decreases market share without any effect on brand loyalty. In fact, coupon loyalty could be more important than brand loyalty. Toward the end of the study’s research period, P&G conducted a well-publicized “zero coupon test” in Upstate New York. P&G cut out all coupons distributed in this area and replaced them with lower prices. The result was a public relations nightmare in which consumers boycotted, held public hearings and petitioned local politicians to take action. The ensuing anti-trust litigation resulted in a $4.2 million settlement. Tellingly, P&G paid out their portion of the settlement in the form of $2 coupons.

Obviously P&G learned that avid couponers are a mighty force to contend with.  Those same avid coupon users might not be too happy with the results of this new labeling on the P&G coupons.  People like me will concentrate our efforts on other products, from manufacturer’s who aren’t trying to put controls on our buying habits.  I really resent these kinds of limitations.  And how exactly are they going to enforce them?  Have the consumer sign a statement that they are buying for a food bank or for their children’s Christmas basket instead of for re-sale?  What if I buy 10 bottles of shampoo for my own use and then we decide we don’t like that brand? Is a P&G executive going to come to my garage sale and arrest me for selling their brand of shampoo?  Is this a sign of things to come with other companies? 

This week’s garage sale profits are slated for a COBRA payment for my husband’s health insurance.  Holding annual garage sales has been one way I can make money from home, and stockpiling new items with my coupons has always attracted customers to my sales.  Besides that, I get a real rush when I can get something like the Hefty bags or Bic highlighters free. 

The average coupon user isn’t going to care about the limit of four like coupons. They might only use one or two anyway.  And they certainly wouldn’t think of re-selling anything they bought with the coupons.  The average coupon user saves less than $7 a week with their coupons, hardly cause for worry from the companies issuing the coupon. So this new wording is directly aimed at the extreme coupon users.

People like those I have interviewed for my book.

Like John, who donates to a food pantry.  And Rayven, who barters stockpiled items for building materials for a house they are building.  And Elaine who fills baskets of free health and beauty items to donate to a nursing home at Christmas.  Or Lisa, who lets her adult children shop from her basement shelves, stretching their grocery budget. Or Tony, who stockpiles for the winter months when his construction job ends.

Or me, hosting a garage sale with extra stockpiled items, using the profits to pay my husband’s medical insurance premium next month.

I guess Procter & Gamble just doesn’t like smart shoppers.


One thought on “Something Procter & Gamble Doesn’t Want Me to Do

  1. Christel Schade says:

    I totally agree!!!! I AM LIVID!! Because they only allow you to sell 2 of their FUSION razors on ebay each month.. they are stepping on our rights as citizens to do what we will with the money we used to purchase their products. It is a shame, really. Since I will not go out of my way to purchase their products and many will do the same leading to a huge drop in their sales.. oh pity.

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