I’m giving up on coupons! Kroger accused me of “fraudulently” printing a coupon for a free package of Kings Hawaiian Bread, which was sent to me via a Facebook offer. Then today at Walart, they refused three of my coupons that were printed from Coupons.com because they didn’t have the right bar code.
Is this a common occurrence for users of coupons? Is there something I need to be doing differently with my coupons. I just wonder is this is something that happens to others. Hints, tips, and suggestions as to how to avoid these issues in the future? -Cyndi
I think most all of us couponers have had a bad experience or three while using coupons, so we feel your pain and frustration.The bad experiences are usually very minimal in comparison to the good experiences, but they happen to all of us at one time or another.
A number of years ago, I was accused of cheating and firmly asked never to come back to a store by a manager. Truth be told, although I replied kindly and left the store, I was shaking and wanted to give up coupons then and there.
Instead, because I knew that the manager was misinformed on coupons and had overstepped his bounds in the way he had treated me, I went home, wrote out all of the details of what had happened, and placed a call to that store’s corporate office the next morning.
You know what? They apologized profusely, reiterated the fact that I was using coupons in accordance with their policy, and were very concerned with how the manager had treated me.
In fact, they asked me if I’d like for them to have him call me and personally apologize! I said that wouldn’t be necessary, but I just wanted to ask if they could make sure the manager was better informed as to what their coupon policy was so that I and other couponers who shopped there in the future wouldn’t have such a difficult time using coupons.
I never found out exactly what happened, but I do know that from then on, that store became a much more coupon-friendly store and the manager never gave me or my other couponing friends who shopped there any issues.
So don’t give up — even when you feel frustrated! Your wallet will thank you and I promise that not every experience using coupons will be so bad in the future.
Here are some suggestions as to ways to prevent as many bad couponing experiences as possible in the future:
1. Make Sure You Know the Deals & Store Policies Well
Get a copy of the store’s corporate coupon policy and bring it with you when you shop. Know it backwards and forwards. That way, if there is any question regarding your coupon use, you are well educated and can make a clear case for why you are using coupons in accordance with the store’s corporate coupon policy.
2. Look for Efficient and Cheerful Cashiers
I always scan the checkout lanes before heading into one and look for a cashier that is speedy, efficient, and cheerful. For some reason, I always seem to have better success in using coupons with these types of cashiers.
In addition, I’ll look for people who are using coupons and checkout and if I see that the cashier is running them through cheerfully, I’ll head to that line. As the cashier is usually what makes or breaks your coupon-shopping experience, finding cashiers who are coupon-friendly go a long way toward a pleasant checkout.
3. Be Polite and Courteous, But Firm
Unfortunately, many cashiers do not know the store’s coupon policies. I can’t count the number of times a cashier has told me they can’t accept a coupon for one reason or another.
While their reason might be 100% true and valid, more often than not, I’ve found that they will tell me something that I know is not right per the store’s coupon policy. When this happens, I politely, but firmly explain what the store’s coupon policy is. More often than not, this is all it takes and they willingly accept all of my coupons, no questions asked.
Be a polite and informed customer, follow the store’s coupon policies to a tee, and you’ll usually earn the respect of the cashiers. When they respect you, they are much less likely to question your usage of coupons.
4. Don’t Make a Big Stink
In some instances, I’ve cordially explained the coupon policies and a cashier won’t budge. Instead of getting frustrated or upset, I just calmly ask them to remove the item from my transaction and return my coupon.
Yes, I miss out on some deals, but I’d rather leave the store without the deal if it means I avoid holding up the line and making a scene at the cash register. Plus, in many instances, I can use the coupon at another store to get a great deal.
5. Work on Lowering Your Grocery Bill Without Using Coupons
While I’m a big advocate of using coupons, I think they are just one piece of the grocery-savings pie. If you live in an area with few coupon-friendly stores, you might find that you just aren’t going to see the savings that someone with a lot of store options and stores that double or triple coupons is going to see.
Don’t be discouraged by this! There are many, many other ways to save money without using coupons. Pick a few of these to implement each month and determine which ones work best for your family.
Not everything that works for someone else will work for you, but I’m sure you’ll find many simple ways to lower your grocery bill without using coupons. Paired with the savings you can also obtain by using coupons, you can eventually really see significant savings!
What advice do the rest of you have for Cyndi? I’d love to hear your suggestions and tips!
photo courtesy of Big Stock