Crazy About Coupons
Just the other day, Colgate toothpaste was on sale at a local pharmacy and Zulema Barnes- Chung thought of her mother, Sheila Barnes. That was because Ms. Barnes was a bargain hunter extraordinaire, who transformed the routine of buying household goods into a competitive sport.
"My mom would go so far as to take other people's fliers just to get the coupons," Ms. Barnes-Chung said. "I guess that was stealing, but she did it so she could have three of each coupon. That's how bad it was."
And it was never really about the money. No, Ms. Barnes, who was 55 and worked for Aon, did not cut coupons because she was miserly. "It was a game for her to see who could save the most, a game mostly between her and my aunt," Ms. Barnes-Chung said. "They kept the receipts to show the whole family 'Look what I got!' "
"My aunt says it's not so fun anymore," she continued. "But when I saw the toothpaste on sale, I thought about my mom. I almost dialed her number, before it hit me."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 9, 2001.