In a shocking move (to me at least), as of February 1, 2009, Valassis decided to pull their Red Plum insert from many major city newspapers in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Maryland, and Texas. While the Indianapolis Star is still lucky enough to be providing the Red Plum insert to it’s customers, many cities all around have already seen it disappear completely.
Frugal shoppers and coupon users nationwide are up in arms about this decision with very good reason! When Red Plum has a great insert, we head to the store to pick up extra copies of the paper, but for many that won’t be an option any longer. Since newspaper inserts are the number one source of savings for many frugal shoppers, I’m personally stunned Valassis would decided to upset it’s target audience by making it’s insert more complicated and sometimes impossible to obtain for consumers.
First, newspaper inserts are not only valuable to consumers, but for many they are a necessity. Now large families who may need more coupons to purchase enough food to provide meals no longer have the opportunity to purchase additional newspapers to access the needed extra savings. Also, many frugal shoppers donate the additional inexpensive or free items they receive with coupon to charities and those in need. Unfortunately, the lack of coupon is going to hurt those who need them the most the worst, but effects all of us as shoppers.
Valassis says that they are now using a more direct marking campaign in which their coupons will be available online, but since many stores have difficult Internet coupon policies or completely do not accept them, this really doesn’t seem like an equal exchange at all. Plus, what about those who don’t have Internet access? As well as all the coupon fraud issues presented with Internet coupons? It looks to me as if the Internet coupon has a long way to go before it’s ready to completely replace paper coupons.
In addition, Valassis will now be mailing their coupon insert directly to targeted areas only upon request, but each household gets one and only one. (CORRECTION: Some areas are automatically getting their insert via mail without requesting it online.) It will take 6-8 weeks to receive one insert after requested. (Note: If you are without a Red Plum insert and live in a target area, you can sign up to get one via mail HERE.)
BringBackTheCoupons.com is providing a platform for coupon users and frugal shoppers nationwide to express their concern over this decision. How can you get involved? Visit HERE to get a list of ways to help bring back the coupon insert to our newspapers.
Red Plum is heading in a new direction that will change coupon use forever. If they aren’t met with resistance, many other coupon providers will follow suit. Now is the time we have to stand up and make our voices heard, so we can continue to save on every day items. If coupon inserts continue to disappear from the newspapers, will this be the end of us frugal shoppers eagerly awaiting our Sunday papers? What does this mean for the coupon industries?