While the recession has left many cupboards bare, others are sagging as the cash-strapped turn into coupon-wielding obsessives who stock up on months or years worth of groceries on the cheap. While coupon usage peaked in the '90s, it surged 27% last year—mainly due to extreme coupon users, reports the Wall Street Journal. "If you can get 100 packs of toilet paper for free, you're going to," says one devotee.
Websites and online communities have sprung up over night, giving the craze almost the feel of a competitive sport. But supermarkets are feeling the pinch: Coupon-packing shoppers are "executing with surgical precision," says one store exec, and further pinching profits. But perhaps there's a code of honor? "I never clear the shelf: I don't think that's right," says one shopper. "I probably only got 30." (Read more coupons stories.)