Lowes Regrets 'Extreme' Appearance

WINSTON SALEM, N.C. — Lowes Foods here said it "definitely made a poor decision" in allowing the "Extreme Couponing" television program to shoot episodes at its stores, saying an episode of the popular reality series that aired earlier this month included a staged interaction between the featured couponer and a member of the show's production crew pretending to be a shopper. The retailer said it also regretted altering its own coupon policies as to facilitate the drama.

One scene (see "The Shelf Clearer" below) shows the couponer emptying a shelf of energy bars into her cart while a production crew member posing as a shopper looking for a single bar is crestfallen.

"While we cannot undo our participation in the taping of Extreme Couponing, what we can do is share with you our reason for doing so and some truths that will not be aired with the show," Lowes said in a post on its Facebook page, which has since been removed. "Lowes Foods agreed to allow the taping in our store in hope to show viewers that we are a coupon friendly grocer with outstanding products and customer service. Some of what appears … was staged by the production company."

Lowes added that it declined an invitation to participate in additional tapings. "We do not share this to deflect blame. We share it simply to let you know that things aren’t as they always appear," the posting said. "We definitely made a poor decision by participating in the show. What is most disturbing to us is we disappointed you, our valued customer."

A Lowes spokeswoman told SN Thursday that company officials were unavailable for further comment. An official previously told the Charlotte Observer newspaper that the company may have angered some shoppers by altering its policy limiting 20 coupons per shopping trip for purposes of the show.