Have you ever been in line at the checkout and had a rude “couponer” in front of you? Don’t be that person! It’s simply not worth the savings you might get.
1. Use the coupon for the correct item!
Many… many… many times I’ve seen people on forums and such stating that they got away with using a coupon on the wrong item. Yes it may scan, a lot of places let the coupons scan but when you aren’t getting the product it’s intended for it is stealing. I know harsh word, right? Let’s face it, companies don’t have to send out these coupons at all and stores don’t have to accept them, it’s their choice. And it’s up to us, couponers, to use them properly to ensure future deals! Think about it… if we all started to abuse coupons then companies would be less likely to continue to release them.
2. Verify your coupons
While I make it a point to try and validate every coupon I post on my site sometimes there are some great coupons that go around the web… sometimes they’re a little bit too good to be true. Make sure to verify these! People can and do make fraudulent coupons which hurts the rest of us, making a store and company untrusting of us sweet thrifty people just trying to snag a good deal. If the coupon itself looks too good to be true, it probably is!
3. Do not alter a coupon!
For the most part you are not able to easily alter coupons but there are some .pdf coupons that go around and honestly… they make me nervous! A lot of those can and are easily altered (ie. expiration date) and you can print off as many as you want. What happens with this? The company starts getting millions of altered coupons in and stops the offer all together and possibly future offers!
4. Do not just take a blogs word for it!
I know, this one sounds crazy coming from a blogger, but please do not just take the blogs word for deals at stores. Bloggers are human and can be wrong or certain deals may work in their store/state but not in yours. Each deal can vary! So just because a blogger snagged a great deal with X and X coupon, check it out for yourself.
Let’s face it, store employees don’t read the blogs and cannot verify whether or not a site is correct on a deal. Always verify these deals yourself by picking up the Ad at the front of the store.
5. Store employees are not your personal shoppers
It’s okay to ask a store clerk or employee for help finding an item, that’s what they’re there for! I’ve seen a woman with a print off from a website bothering a store employee with the printed shopping list from the site and not even bothering to look at the actual Ad herself. While I wanted to say something, I felt it was not my place and the employee really was trying to help her. This goes along with #2 though, the employees do not read the blogs (typically)! So showing them your list and saying “it says right here about so and so deal!” and not bothering to check the Ad and fine print yourself is just not cool.
6. Store employees don’t make the rules!
I am guilty and ashamed of this but I have caught myself catching a small attitude with a cashier when there’s an issue. Now I know it’s not usually their fault but they’re the middle man and it just happens! Try to keep your cool because 9 times out of 10 the cashiers have no clue about all the policies and just do what they’re told. if you have an issue you should address it to the store manager, if they cannot or will not resolve it then leave the store and call the corporate office to have it handled there.
7. Don’t be a shelf Clearer
So, I have mixed feelings about this. I do not like going into a store on first or second day of a sale and having all the coupon sale items gone, it’s frustrating for everyone! It is okay to stock up, we all do it, that’s why we coupon! Be considerate of others behind you and don’t wipe out the entire shelf before anyone else has a chance to get in there, just get what you know you need.
8. Help out a fellow shopper!
I love to go in the grocery store and see a fellow couponer trying to find great deals and many times I’ve walked up to them and pointed out so and so deal on aisle 5. It’s a great feeling to help them out and in return a lot of times they’ll tell me a few deals they’ve found that I may have missed!
If you’ve snagged all the items you want/need for a deal and still have some coupons left why not help someone else out? If there’s someone looking at the same sale with you offer up a spare coupon or two! Or if the coupons are about to expire and you know you won’t need to use them, leave them at the item for others. I do this quite a bit and always get tickled when I look at a sale and see a coupon laying there.
What if a store gives you grief about coupons?
I’ve seen it time and time again and it has even happened with me, stores giving you issues for using coupons and sometimes even treat you like you’re trying to steal items that you get for free after your coupons. So what do you do? Well there are a lot of options, I firstly do not recommend getting an attitude and yelling at the cashier because that does no one any good.
Know the store’s policy
This is the FIRST thing I tell anyone, know the coupon policy for the store you’re shopping at and print it out! Why? Well it’s difficult for cashiers or managers to argue with a policy printed right from the store’s website. You can find a list of the coupon policies for the stores I post about on my site for refrence, however I recommend printing directly from the companies site or email to take with you in store.
Verify the deal and coupon yourself
Knowing the coupon and the deal is the best way to be able to stand your ground at the checkout counter!
If you like to check out my site or others for the store deals to grab that’s great, however, do you verify these deals yourself? Always verify what is posted on any site for a store deal yourself, people make mistakes at times especially when they just go off the Ad paper itself. Always double check them yourself before heading to the checkout lane, this helps prevent any issues or questions.
Verify the coupons also! Make sure the coupon in hand matches up with the item or deal you’re working. Do you have just ONE manufacturer coupon? Do you have a store coupon to go with it? Most stores will only allow you to use one manuf. Coupon per item and one store coupon.
Check to make sure the size on the coupon matches the size on the product and make sure the coupon date is still valid. If the store has a limit of 4 items, stick to that limit. As a couponer you want to be fair to yourself, other couponers and to the store! Read the policy as well as the fine print in the Ads and coupons, this will save you the headache at the checkout counter.
What to do when the employee gives you attitude?
If the cashier is giving you an attitude about the coupon but still runs it through, just smile and be pleasant. You will at one point or another run into a cashier who thinks you are just out to get them by using coupons to buy groceries for your family. Whatever the reason they have, know that it is not your issue and what you are doing is legit and very smart!
If you feel the cashier or manager was just very over the top rude, you can contact their corporate office and let them know of the situation. They cannot handle a rude employee if they don’t know about it, so make sure to inform them of the issue so they can handle it properly. Most corporate contacts can be found on the store’s website usually by a contact form.
What if the cashier turns your coupon away?
If the cashier turns your coupon away you need to first find out why it’s being rejected. If it’s for an issue you don’t agree with or what the employee is saying is against their policy you can let them know what the policy states (hence why you carry it with you!) or ask for the manager to have the issue resolved that way.
But what if the manager doesn’t resolve it? I’ve had that happen! If you are not satisfied with the resolution of the manager you can contact their corporate office and have it handled strictly from the top. Corporate knows their policies and most will make sure to satisfy the customer (most, not all)
There are many, many cases where employees and even managers do not understand coupons or even know their store’s policy, it’s sad but true. It’s up to you, the coupon consumer, to know the rules and policies so you don’t get turned away for the wrong reason.
What if I continue to have issues even after I contact corporate?
If issues with stores or employees persist even after you contact the corporate office or corporate just does not resolve the issue like they should have, do not give them your business! I have stopped shopping at quite a few stores because the customer service I received regarding coupons was horrendous and nothing was done about it.
Why should you give a store your business when they don’t treat you like a human being and give you issues with trying to save your family money? You have a right to shop where you choose and trust me, there are more deals out there even if you stop shopping one store.
It’s easy to get through it when you know you’re not the one making these deals! Manufacturers KNOW what coupons they put out, they KNOW when their items are on sale at these stores, it is by no means a mistake, you’re just good enough to get in on the secret!
View Coupon Course Part 1 : Getting Started Couponing
View Coupon Course Part 2 : Organizing Your Coupons
View Coupon Course Part 3 : Understanding Coupons
View Coupon Course Part 4 : How to Shop at Walgreens
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