Coupons and the people that use them are everywhere these days – in the news and in the culture we live in. Extreme couponers are followed by reality TV show cameras and featured in media human interest stories, and frugality is becoming more generally accepted socially, along with the use of coupons.
What used to be a slightly unusual practice, something only indulged in by the thrifty or stingy folks, has become almost mainstream. And the use of coupons has become something that a younger, more technology-savvy demographic has taken up – witness the growth of websites like Groupon. But have coupons completely lost the stigma and air of seediness that used to surround them, or are they a bit suspicious? If you use them, what does it say about your character or personality?
How well do you know your date?
While frugality is seen as attractive by a certain segment of American society, others may see it as being stingy and a sign of being a failure – they may wonder why you have to save money, maybe you don’t make enough? Let’s say you go out on a date for the first time with a young lady or man, and you have a coupon you found online that gives you 50% off of you and your date’s dinner. Is it OK to use a coupon on the first date, or does it imply something about you that you might not want him or her to know just yet? Trying to answer that question seems to raise a host of other questions, but you might learn something about yourself by thinking it through.
As with many other things in life, it seems that there are 2 kinds of people in the world: those who would or do use coupons to save money, and those who wouldn’t or don’t. Under the coupon user group we would of course include those who take advantage of special offers and other almost-coupon-type deals, but the kind of person who doesn’t use coupons usually doesn’t look very far for sales and hot deals either. This type may have the opinion that only poor or lower class folks behave that way. Frugality is not seen as a virtue, and the very idea of self-imposed simple living on a tight budget seems somehow distasteful.
Frugal living is like a religion to some
On the other hand, frugality and simplicity have been raised to an almost religious level among the more extreme followers of this lifestyle. This kind of person typically recycles, reuses, and spends quite a bit of time thinking about how not to deplete valuable resources on a global level, and how to spend as little as possible on what is needed to live on a personal level. And then there are the really thrifty people who just love to save money for other expenditures and don’t really care too much about the environment and dwindling resources. So assuming that you are a person who lands somewhere in the coupon-using category, what about using a coupon on the first date?
Someone once said that if honesty is the best policy, then dishonesty must be second-best. There is a place for complete honesty in a relationship, but whether or not it’s on the first date is questionable. Let’s assume that you know the person you are dating just well enough to realize that you don’t want to ruin things right off the bat. But you also don’t know enough about him or her to accurately guess which side of the coupon issue he or she might be on. You may feel that any person who would not use a coupon or would look down on someone who does is not someone you could be serious about anyway. In that case you may decide to whip out the coupon as a test, to determine which side of the coupon fence your date is on.
If there are other circumstances involved – for example, you are falling in love very fast and you don’t want to blow it on the first date – you may want to postpone using a coupon for a later time (hopefully before the expiration date), thinking that you will learn more about your new love in time, and you can be completely open and honest. Or you can be really tricky and use your coupon to pay the bill in a way that your date doesn’t know or observe.
Honesty the best policy?
If you choose the complete honesty method and use the coupon so that your date notices, you are at least showing him or her that you have nothing to hide, that you don’t mind saving some money, and that you are definitely on the side of the fence labeled coupon-user. He or she will be able to surmise a lot about your character from your actions, and will perhaps be even more attracted to you and want to get to know you better. And if the coupon use turns off your date, than it may be better for you in the long run to know what kind of person she or he actually is. If there is enough mutual attraction, you may both think that, all other considerations being equal, you might be able to work with the situation.
The question of whether it is ever OK to use a coupon on a first date is a puzzling one. The way you answer it can tell you something about yourself, and something about what you are looking for in a companion. Honesty is usually the way to go, but there are times when revealing too much is a mistake, and it’s an error that can be addressed and fixed later when you know more about the person. So, think long and hard before you pull out that half-off coupon on your first date.