Oklahoma Parents Using Children To Dumpster Dive For Coupons

Monday, June 13th 2011, 6:11 pm
By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- How far would you go to save some cash?

Would you spend your day digging through discarded newspapers? What about squeezing into recycling bins? Can't fit? How about getting a helping hand from your kids?

"No I would never think of that. Buy newspapers. There's enough coupons to triple your money. I don't know. I've never heard of such a thing," Janell McCormick, a recycler, said.

Yes, some Oklahomans are guilty of taking the extreme even further.

"Small children, five, six-year-old children who are sorting through paper and handing the coupons out to their mom or their dad," Michael Patton, with the Metropolitan Environmenal Trust, said.

"It's real disturbing. If those things start to slide, you can't get in there and get them. It's really scary," McCormick said.

Patton said a Claremore family became confrontational with employees after they put their kids inside the recycling bins to search for savings.

"We appreciate trying to save money. I use coupons all the time myself. But I wouldn't risk my child's life to save a couple dollars on a pizza," he said.

Patton said this isn't the first incident. And since the allure to save is sometimes too strong, the MET is having to change its policies.

"We can't have it," he said. "It's dangerous. Our insurance won't allow it . It's illegal. It's funny, but we really have to say no."

Scavenging through recyclable material is also illegal. It's also not a free-for-all. Patton said once the newspapers are in the bins, they become property of the MET.

News On 6 reporter Tara Vreeland checked with Money Saving Queen Sarah Roe about dumpster diving for coupons.

Check out 10 safe, legal options for getting coupons for products your family