Public Editor

What happens to leftover newspaper coupons?

DAVID EULITT/Kansas City Star

I’ve had multiple inquiries along these lines over the past few weeks:

What do you all do with left lover coupon inserts from Sunday? I am interested in purchasing (some) if possible.

The “extreme couponing” craze seems to have died down in recent years, but this is still a question I bet I’ve heard hundreds of times.

The answer is yes, you can get extra coupons, but only with the purchase of a complete paper. That’s because all newspapers enter into agreements with their advertisers that the discounts are offered only with the sale of the newspaper.

I know that at least one of the TV shows devoted to coupon-clipping has shown footage purporting to be a newspaper truck delivering thousands and thousands of “extra” coupons to an eager saver. I have no clue whether that scene was a big misunderstanding or entirely scripted, but it didn’t illustrate reality.

Coupon fraud is a real thing, and the retail industry tries to combat it. There’s even a nonprofit industry group devoted to fighting it.

Sunday papers are sold at retail outlets and in newspaper racks all week, though, so it’s easy to get extra copies of that Sunday paper.