I was watching Extreme Couponing the other day on TV. This show explores the addictive nature of coupon clipping and the gratification they get when they go on large shopping sprees or hoard enough items to live on for a year or two. These people go to the extreme by spending most of their days searching for coupons, going to grocery stores to pre-shop, calculate different coupon deals and making detailed lists of the items that they are going to buy. It is something that is unhealthy as these people strive for the free deal and hoard all of these unneeded supplies for the sake of satisfaction.
The coupon cutters in the show do it so well that they will fill up handfulls of shopping carts totaling a thousand to several thousand dollars and after they use their coupons, they will only end up paying tens or maybe hundreds of dollars. Some of them will only shop for free coupons which results in the shopper only paying the sales tax that would have been incurred when buying a regular priced item. If they can not find the coupons themselves, shoppers pay a coupon cutting service which cuts out coupons on behalf of couponers and sends the coupons to the shopper for a small fee. This allows shoppers to buy tens or hundreds of items at the same time because these coupon services have the ability to find thousands of coupons.
How does coupon cutting advance His Kingdom? Well this one coupon cutter did something that was almost inspirational. – I say almost because as a business major the idea that people could cut so many coupons and pay close to nothing is astonishing to me. – This coupon cutter saw a sale on cereal and calculated the price on boxes of cereal after a couple complimentary deals. This gentleman got coupons from a coupon cutting service. He alerted the store in advance that they needed to order a thousand boxes of cereal as he was going to buy them all. He bought a thousand boxes of cereal for under one hundred dollars. The great part was after we saw him purchase all of this cereal, he announced that the cereal was going to a local food bank. With coupons he was able to do so much more for the homeless and for God’s kingdom than people who donate money alone.
I think it is awesome that he was able to buy so much food for such a low price. This presents a great opportunity for philanthropists everywhere. However, I wonder if there are other ethical considerations that must be reconciled. For example, is it taking advantage of a company to use coupons in a way that would allow you to get food for close to free? The reason why companies give coupons is for prospective customers to sample, try, or reward their products or services. Coupons were not intended for people to constantly receive free products or services. On the other hand, why would a company allow customers to cut coupons and get a thousand of items for free if they couldn’t support it or indirectly allow it?
Is Extreme Couponing okay? Is it okay for helping the unfortunate?
I wrote that I would give an update on the ThinkFlood RedEye a while back and never got around to it. Overall it is a great product with a great design. They have been steadily improving the RedEye iPhone app ever since they released it. ThinkFloods customer service has been phenomenal and their support during the beta period was great. I would recommend the RedEye for people that want to control multiple pieces of equipment in a single room without the need of an iPhone accessory. However if you are looking to control multiple devices in different rooms I would suggest holding off until the RedEye mini comes out this Spring. The RedEye mini is a dongle that fits in your headphone jack with an infrared transmitter in it. It turns your iPhone into an infrared remote from 30 feet away and leaves the dock connector open for charging whereas other infrared accessories occupy the dock connector. The mini is convenient because it does not require batteries and it is affordable considering its included features. I plan on purchasing one myself, when it becomes available.
The RedEye application on the iPhone makes it very simple to customize your remote layout. There is a tutorial that assists you through programming your remote and an icon based layout editor for easy customization. ThinkFlood has added a database of remote codes so programming remotes is even easier. By searching your device’s model number, preset codes can be found making it possible to easily program your iPhone without a remote control. The RedEye setup allows you to program single button pushes in one icon or to program multiple button pushes in one icon. For example: to watch TV you can program the remote to only turn on the TV or you can program the TV to turn on the TV, the cable box and your surround sound system all by one icon. Finally the last feature they added was the ability to backup your configuration to your computer or restore your configuration. I would definitely recommend the ThinkFlood RedEye or RedEye mini.
AT&T’s CruiseCast was discontinued.
A pretty interesting new option in automotive entertainment but definitely an expensive one is AT&T‘s new service called CruiseCast. The idea is that you can mount a satalite receiver on top of your car and get TV in your car while traveling. This antena connects to a box which converts the stalite feed and then routes that to TVs mounted in your car.
In order to get the service you have to shell out around $1,300 and then pay a monthly fee of $28. You could buy each of your 4 kids a new 32GB iPhone 3G S and still have some money over to help pay off the additional data charges. They would be able to choose their content better and play video games on them when they get bored. The funny part is they advertise it as 40 channels plus which seems like just a portion of the channels that you get with a basic satellite package however 20+ of those channels are music channels which means nothing being that you have a radio or hopefully some way of playing your own music. However what is interesting is that they claim to have a coverage area of the whole entire United States. And in case you are traveling through a tunnel of in between New York City skyscrapers, the equipment buffers the video so that you can go 3 minutes without signal until you would know.