Tag Archives: reality tv

Extreme Couponing: Yes. Really.

Last night in a vain attempt to find something to watch that didn’t involve plastic-looking forensic detectives solving crimes through a microscope, or a cookery programme featuring recipes that no one in my household would even look at let alone eat (we  Sky+ the good shows and save them for the weekend), I scrolled through the hundreds of channels provided by those wonderful people at Sky.  And I came across a programme that literally made my jaw drop. Extreme Couponing.

Yes, there is a reality TV show out there that tells us the story of women who collect coupons in their thousands, and go to the supermarket and spend them against their shopping. These women spend hours every day searching for coupons on the internet, in newspapers (one woman even climbed into dumpsters to collect discarded coupons) then go to the supermarket for their weekly shop.  With nine shopping trolleys loaded with food, cleaning products, cosmetics, pet food and toilet roll, Amanda (who describes herself as “crazy about coupons” – no way?)  started to put all her shopping through the checkout. $1,175 (yes, it’s American) later and out come the coupons. The checkout man had the patience of a saint, putting each coupon through as eagle-eyed Amanda watched the total of her shopping bill go down and down. Until… disaster struck and the till crashed under the sheer pressure of so many items being put through in one transaction, at which point Amanda practically hyperventilated. The shopping had to be split between three different tills and all put through again. Eventually all 1,000 coupons were entered and the total balance of her shopping came to $2. For nine trollies-worth of food etc. Not bad, I hear you groan? Certainly better than the measly Clubcard points I manage to acquire over several shopping trips, and my husband cringes with embarrassment when I use them to pay for a bottle of milk.

With two cars full of shopping  at a cost of $2, and an extremely understanding husband, I begin to think collecting coupons is not such a bad idea, until we see the inside of Amanda’s house. Shelves and shelves and box upon box of pasta, washing powder, cat food, tins in rows and thousands of tubes of toothpaste clutter every single bit of space in her house. She has more stock than the supermarket she has just shopped in. You realise this is more than just saving a few quid every week, this is an obsession – and a really boring one at that. As Amanda describes “When I have done a whole shop using my thousands of coupons I feel like I have climbed a mountain.” Well love, save yourself some time, give your poor husband a day off  and just climb up that mountain of loo roll you have stashed in your back bedroom instead.       Continue reading

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The X Factor: Keep your desperation hidden

When magazines are dishing out advice to teens about attracting a partner, the advice is always to not look too desperate. Desperation is a very unattractive quality.

This is advice which Storm Lee would have been wise to heed, because what’s off-putting in a potential mate is similarly disastrous when it comes to TV popularity contests. So often we hear contestants wailing, “I really want this. I really, really want this,” as if wanting something automatically entitles you to have it.  No, it doesn’t. “You’ve not seen the last of me yet,” Storm uttered through clenched teeth as he made his X Factor exit. Frankly he looked as though the next time we see him he might be brandishing an Uzi in the general direction of Simon Cowell, he was that cross.

With Storm down the drain, it was up to the judges to choose either Belle Amie or Diva Fever to join him. I was surprised that the other judges all voted for Diva Fever to go, rather than mixing up their vote to force Simon to choose between his two acts. He’d have jettisoned the Divas anyway, because he keeps banging on about how the country “needs” another girl group. Obviously we don’t need them that much, particularly ones who are as rubbish as Belle Amie.

Saturday night’s show was very, very strange. The theme was “musical heroes,” but it was very loosely applied. Most of the contestants blew the pretence that they were singing songs by their heroes by cheerfully admitting, “I’m so glad Cheryl/Dannii/Louis/Simon chose this song for me.” I can’t really imagine that the members of Belle Amie had long cherished an ambition to sing a Kinks song, and Diva Fever relied on the name “Barbra Streisand” simply turning up in their song to give it some hero connotation.

Sunday night was possibly even stranger, thanks to guest artistes Katy Perry and Diana Vickers. Vickers is a loser from a previous show who has inexplicably become quite famous. She stomped around the stage without any trousers on screeching charmlessly. This was followed by Katy Perry (whom I hate almost as much as I hate Kirsty Allsopp and Cat Deeley), who took Vickers’ charmless screech and returned it in triplicate. Awful, but at the same time very inspiring if you happen to be a current contestant – see just how far you can go with very little talent and a lot of chutzpah.

At which point I realise I’ve gone full circle and contradicted what I said right at the beginning. Maybe there is a chance for Storm Lee after all – if he really, really wants it.

Posted by PLA                              (more X Factor posts here)

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