SYRACUSE, N.Y. (FNS) -- Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, has picked upstate New York for its closely watched coupon elimination test, but many consumers in that market would just as soon continue clipping. While the sentiment is by no means unanimous, many consumers responding to an SN straw poll outside supermarkets here indicated they are partial to couponing. Syracuse is one of the markets affected by the P&G test, and some of the shoppers there have heard about the experiment.
A large number of consumers said they were skeptical that the elimination of coupons will lead to lower pricing overall, which is one of the claims made by some observers who contend that coupons are wasteful and inefficient. However, some consumers conceded that it was possible corporations would pass down savings to consumers from coupon elimination.
Some shoppers said they would shift to other brands if coupons weren't available.
These interviews were conducted outside a Wegmans Food Markets store and a P&C Food Markets unit in Syracuse. SN: Have you heard about the test by Procter & Gamble to eliminate many coupons from this area for food and nonfood products? How, if at all, has it affected you? How would you feel if all coupons were eliminated in this area? What if you believed that elimination of coupons would help products to be priced more fairly on an everyday basis?
"I'm a senior citizen and I live on my own, but whenever I get a chance to use a coupon, I use it because it saves. I would probably change products if I got a better deal on a coupon. It's too bad that they dropped it, because I think people around here really relied on them. You save easily on coupons."
"The coupon bit won't impact me. I use everything, whatever's on sale. I think the lack of coupons will lower the prices. According to the papers, the prices are high because of the coupons, and I think that without coupons the prices will come down. I save about $20 each trip on Wegmans' sales and about $5 on coupons."
"I do use coupons, but if they lowered the price of their product and didn't have the coupons, why, that would work the same way. I think the price of the product will adjust accordingly. I would not switch brands without the coupons; I don't do that. I buy what I like. I use Bounty towels for the quality of the towel. As far as I'm concerned, if there were no coupons, it wouldn't bother me."
"I use coupons for all products. The coupons are helpful, that's probably why I bought their products. I don't do as well as my husband does. I probably save about $3 each time on coupons. He buys according to coupons and sales together."
"I think people will stop using the products if they remove the coupons. I would most likely switch to other products. I use coupons a lot. I save about $10 per week with them. I would buy Sparkle towels rather than Bounty if I didn't have a coupon. I don't think they'd lower the prices if they eliminated all coupons, I think the prices would stay the same or go up."
"I ordinarily shop with coupons. I probably wouldn't buy too many Procter & Gamble products without them. I usually buy a lot of their products, but Bounty towels, without a coupon, nope, I wouldn't buy them. I would buy Wegmans' brand or the cheapest one. I don't think Bounty is any better than Wegmans' brand. I don't think they will lower the prices if they eliminate coupons. If they do, not enough to compensate. I save maybe $15 with coupons each week. I have a family of six."
"I only buy Procter & Gamble products with coupons. Generally, I buy whatever's on sale, or if I have a coupon for it, but if it's a product I like, if I can get something else cheaper, I'll go for the cheaper one. I bought Sparkle paper towels because I had a coupon, although I prefer Bounty. I just saved about $13 on coupons, my grocery bill was $111 and I got it for $98, for myself, my husband and my dog. It would be dreadful if they stopped all coupons. I don't believe that the prices would come down, everything else is going up -- why would they? That doesn't make sense at all."
"I use a lot of coupons. That's mainly what's in here [her shopping bag], things with coupons. I saved $21.45. I used Bounty towels, but I haven't bought any since they eliminated the coupons. I don't use Tide or Cheer, I use Arm & Hammer. I bought Pringles, even though I didn't have a coupon. I buy Sunny Delight, too, with or without a coupon. It depends; sometimes they have a sale. If they continue the coupon elimination, I probably won't buy them. I like the coupon savings. I'll buy something equal. My total grocery bill today was $70 before coupons. I'd be really upset if they all dropped their coupons. I wouldn't have half of what I do in groceries. I wouldn't be able to afford it. They probably wouldn't lower the prices, they just say that so they wouldn't have to deal with the people. It's just a gimmick. There are three in my family."
Mary Lou Geremia
"I buy Bounty whether I have a coupon or not. When you're busy, the coupons are a pain in the neck. I'd rather see lower prices. I don't know if they'd lower the prices if they drop the coupons. If they say they will I guess I'd believe it. I spend $80 to $100 a week on groceries."
"If a coupon is there and I happen to see it, I pick it up, but I just pick up things that I need. I don't think prices would come down if they gave up coupons altogether. I believe that the savings would not be passed on to the customer. I think it might help the shareholders perhaps, but as far as reduction in overall costs of groceries, etc., no, not a bit of difference."
"I do use coupons on most products. I would still buy Bounty without a coupon. It wouldn't make any difference to me if everybody dropped the coupons. Do I think they'd lower the prices? No way! My wife and daughter use a lot of coupons and they save money. Our average weekly bill is $99 or $100; I imagine my wife saves $10 or $12 using coupons. I don't think she'd stop using Procter & Gamble products without coupons."
"I use Procter & Gamble coupons. I wouldn't like it if they were discontinued; I like using the coupons. I think if I had a coupon for something else, I'd go with that. I saved $6 today on a $45 total. I wouldn't like it if they all dropped them. I think it's worth clipping them. I don't think the prices would come down if they stopped coupons."