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Help! I’m so frustrated with trying to use coupons that I’m thinking of giving up!

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 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

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  • I always like to be respectable & talkative with the cashier. Compliment them on something you like ( their nails, hair, smile, attitude, etc). Talk about the weather or how their day has been. Do they have children? How old & how many? Treat them like a friend and not an employee. A lot of these cashiers deal with grouchy, rude, and uncaring people all day. Brighten their day and if things don’t go your way, remember that there will ALWAYS be more deals. (( Hugs to all)) Mrs.Clark

    • Diane says:

      I agree with being friendly but I personally really hate it when people ask me how many children I have, probably because I have 2 in Heaven and 1 here but don’t really feel like telling a passing stranger about it, it’s really easier if no one has to ask.

    • Emily says:

      Yes, that “do you have kids” question can be a tough one for someone who is dealing with infertility…I advise not putting someone in that position.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I have to agree with these ladies– this is a touchy subject for a lot of people. I never ask about kids unless someone else brings it up.

  • Luckily, I’ve never had anything like that happen to me while using coupons, but I have had people behind me in line get upset that my transaction is taking a long time. My local grocery store is very coupon friendly, but I do find that using coupons at Target is a pain. Many time my coupons won’t scan and then they check all the bags to make sure I actually bought the correct item.

    I’m glad that you told us your story about calling the corporate office…if I’m ever in that situation, I’ll have a good example to follow 🙂

    • Meggan says:

      I am with you! I can not believe Target prints their own coupons, and then the registers don’t always recognize them. It drives me crazy & then they treat you like a criminal as they search your bags. Crazy! I am with Crystal — look at the cashiers & find a friendly one 🙂

      • Ally says:

        I, too, have had problems at Target with coupons. They don’t seem to pay attention when they ring you up and customer services isn’t a big help. I am usually there with kids in tow and the hassle is frustrating. I wrote to the corporate office and their reply was that I should call!

      • That’s so frustrating that you’ve had that experience with Target! Many times their own coupons don’t scan for me either (how silly!) but the cashiers usually just count the coupon for me anyway–maybe that’s good, or maybe not! 🙂

        I try to have my coupon items rung up last so that if we do have to look through a bag to verify that I bought an item, I know they are in the last couple of bags.

      • Rachael says:

        I tried calling the corporate Target once and it was a total waste of time. The complaint was about their price matching policy, which requires customers to go to the customer service counter for their purchases. After trying to get the representative to understand what I was talking about, he hung up on me. Very frustrating! (However, to be fair, I usually have had good experiences with couponing at Target, just not the price matching.)

    • WilliamB says:

      I had a negative experience using coupons at Target, too, which included the store manager not knowing the store’s coupon policy. I did what Crystal did – being unable to convince the manager I left the store without the deal. But with the names of everyone I talked with.

      Then I wrote it up for corporate HQ – what actually happened, what should have happened, who made it so, what I couldn’t get because of the mistakes. HQ responded promptly, gave me store credit for the extra (this included for the deals I didn’t buy) plus $10 for the hassle, and promised to retrain the manager. Never had that problem at that Target again.

      Sometimes the problem with internet coupons is that your printer uses a bit too much or too little toner, and the scanner doesn’t recognize it. At my supermarket the cashiers just hand-jam the amount in.

  • Shannon says:

    Thank you for this! Just in time too as I have had three similar experiences recently… Thank you for the positive encouragement to keep going 🙂

  • Monica says:

    Currently, I am taking a break from shopping with coupons. Instead, I am using everything I’ve purchased in the past months. I have enough to last me until next year. I am only buying dairy and meats and Costco. So far, I’ve stayed away for 3 weeks so far. I think everyone needs a break every now and then. Especially when you are overflowing with lotions, razors, shampoos and girly stuff. I can’t find anymore room in the house to stash my deals anymore. My garage gets 120 degrees in the summer, so that space is totally out the question.

    • August says:

      I, too, am taking a break to live off of my stockpile for a little while. I was told not to because then I’d be starting over, but I’ve had so much more time to focus on other things like my son and school. Everyone needs to take a break every now and again. That’s how you stay interested in it!

      • Monica says:

        It’s not starting over for sure. I got so tired of clipping, organizing and heading different stores that I took a long 3 year break about 4 years ago. I know exactly what I need to do to stay motivated instead of getting frustrated.

        Can’t agree with you more. I’ve been able to focus on other things like purging closets, reading, spending time with the kids and getting re-organized this summer. =)

    • denise@home says:

      Have you thought about donating items to the local women’s or homeless center? Some of those items would also be welcomed by the troops overseas. Another idea is to make up “gift baskets” for your neighbor or child’s teacher at holiday time.

  • Alison says:

    I can sympathize….I had a problem at Winn Dixie in May and have not returned to the store since! I was given such a difficult time that I don’t want to reward them with my patronage…I do most of my shopping at Target now. Target’s Customer Service is great and I’ve never had a problem using coupons there!

  • Deb says:

    Hello Cyndi, THANK YOU for sharing this ! I, too have had trouble redeeming PRINTABLE coupons from (tend to be same ones as at EVERY small town grocery store and others in my area of Eastern Nebraska. **They cite that the coupons are fraudulent.** In my communication with Swagbucks, I stated I was considering contacting also to see if anything can be done to resolve the issues with printables. The troubles seem to be only on printables. Even though I have not received a resolution from Swagbucks on the issue, maybe this will get the ball rolling ! Thank you ! Deb

    • Crystal says:

      Deb: Some Walmart stores think that coupons from are fraudulent — which isn’t the truth. There is another place with a similar address that is fraudulent and they sometimes get confused. I recommend contacting and seeing if they can give you a print out of some sort or contact Walmart corporate concerning this.

      • Deb says:

        Hi Crystal, thank you for the response, but…. I’ve never had trouble at Walmart. That part of my statement was apparently edited out 🙂 My troubles with printables have been at small town grocers, such as: lovegroves, no frills, jack and jill, etc. They are the stores who feel the printable coupons are fraudulent. I must say that I am also hearing that more and more here in Eastern Nebraska, even at bigger grocers in Omaha and Lincoln. I will contact however, and thank you very much.

        • Crystal says:

          Whoops — sorry for misreading your comment! I’ve only heard of Walmart refusing coupons, not anywhere else. Do these small stores take printable coupons from other sites, just not Many stores don’t take printable coupons at all due to rampant fraudulent coupons — many that are distributed and used by people who don’t even know they are fraudulent. However, there are still lots of great non-printable coupons available. In addition, you can often request that the coupons be mailed to you, too.

          By the way, in almost every single case, the frustrations are the result of a lack of cashiers/managers understanding their store’s coupon policy or understanding how coupons work. In the last year, there has also been a crackdown on coupons by many stores due to the alarming number of fraudulent coupons out there and due to the show Extreme Couponing.

          • Deb says:

            No worries, Crystal ! Thank you for the suggestion to request mail out coupons to me — never knew or thought about that. I will definitely try that ! The smaller grocers I mentioned USED TO accept printables from anywhere:,, etc. The “hard crackdown of refusal” started in the last six months.
            It’s interesting you mentioned Extreme Couponing. We love that show ! Too bad it’s not based here in the Midwest, but seems to be strictly East Coast where they routinely double and triple coupons for people — maybe that is part of the refusal ??? Also, wish to highly compliment and thank you for your work on this website. It has been of great benefit to me and our 6 grown children (and therefore, our grandchildren) over the last year especially — thank you ! One of our daughters and son-in-law are always telling people about this website, and how they found it from me — thank you again !

            • Kay says:

              Don’t get too envious of East Coast coupon doubling up to $1. Here in Boston, we frequently have higher prices on products than elsewhere. And I’ve noticed that rather than 50 cents off 1 coupon, we’ll often get 1.00 off 2 coupon, which isn’t as valuable because then it won’t double.

          • Amy says:

            I would love to know how you can request coupons to be mailed to you! My computer hasn’t let me print those for the last 2 years no matter what I try!!

            • Emily says:

              I think it’s just the Bricks’ coupons that you can request – I don’t think it’s available for coupons. With Bricks’ coupons, look in the bottom right-hand corner of the print screen for a “Help” link. If mailing it to you is an option, you will see it after clicking the “help” link. Just keep in mind that they take time to come – often mine expire only a week or two after I receive them in the mail.

              • Crystal says:

                Thanks for clarifying that! I always think of Bricks and as one and the same in my mind since the system they both use won’t print on my Mac laptop whereas most all other coupons will print for me.

            • Deb says:

              Hello Amy, I went to and clicked on Contact Us (or similar) at bottom of home page. I did request coupons to be mailed. I also received an email response with a number of ideas on getting stores to cooperate. Unfortunately, they did not confirm or deny whether I would be mailed coupons or not. Wish they had given me a straight answer. Deb

              • Amy says:

                Thanks for all your help! Can’t wait to request one the next time I see one I can use : ) and yes that would have been nice if they had let you know if they would send them or not.

          • denise@home says:

            How exactly dom you tell if a printable coupon is fraudulent? Usually I print coupons listed on what I call the “mommy bloggers” and other well know sites. But I couldn’t really tell a real coupon from a fake.

        • lori says:

          Deb, for me I’ve found it is an issue with cashier training because the other day I had a cashier at Walmart refuse my coupon and tell me that stores are accepting printable coupons less and less because of fraud. I asked her if she was aware that I had printed that particular coupon from She said no, so I gave her the URL so she could look it up at her convenience 🙂

          I asked her where she got her information and she was very vague. I’m guessing this is the same thing that happens at stores across the country. Cashiers/managers have their own interpretation of things and present them as fact or policy. In my small town, this attitude can spread from store to store because people are getting their information from each other and not from the source.

          Also coupon barcodes for printables have changed recently and stores that have not updated their system so it can read the new codes will get a lot of beeps. My local store is aware of this problem and since they still have the old system the cashiers manually enter each coupon. I’ve seen other cashiers who are aware of the new barcodes and cover up a portion of it with their thumb so their old system can still read it. As you said, it seems to only affect printable coupons because the others go through fine. Info:

          • Deb says:

            Thank you Lori, I never thought about the URL trick or difference in barcodes. Appreciate the info link ! Thank you again !

          • Deb says:

            Hi Lori, just checked that coupon link referenced above. Dare we start a new conversation about it taking over 30 pages to explain the new bar code system on coupons ???? !!!!! ????? What is this world coming to ??? Deb

      • Deb says:

        Also, I have to say that given the number of frustrated couponers posting comments here, there may be something to the frustrations we encounter ! Deb

  • darlene says:

    I too have been in line and not had coupons scan. The cashier giving me looks like I’m some idiot and others in line who glare at me like I did this on purpose. Just keep your cool realize it is not your fault and move on..

    • darlene says:

      Just had a problem with walmart . Took three people to figure out a free beechnut box ceral coupon.. It was from the company . I hold my breath everytime i use coupons it is such a hassle…

  • Linda R. says:

    We have had our share of rude cashiers while couponing. We have figured out the hard way which ones to avoid. When using some noodle coupons at our local Brookshires the cashier even had the gall to ask us if we only had so much money to spend on food or what. Another cashier’s face looks like she just ate a lemon when she sees you have coupons (at the same store). We do coupon for the majority of our meals and I love the fact that I can spend $100 for two weeks and eat well. Couponing is how I am able to stay home with the kids and it really irks me when someone treats me poorly just because I use coupons. I mean they get their money and even a little extra from the companies. They way we look at it is that they want a paycheck so they can do their job. If their store didnt overprice the products then we wouldnt have to use so many coupons!

    • J says:

      Great article. We seldom use coupons because we shop sales and store brands and the few times I can do better with coupons I do. However, just two days ago we were in Walgreen’s and they had printer paper on sale (I was desperate) for $3.99 for 400 sheets but on another shelf the same printer paper was labeled $2.99. After walking back with the cashier to show the $2.99 price we got it finally! We were above nice.

    • WilliamB says:

      It varies so much with large chains. The last time I went to CVS the cashier complemented me for paying only about $10 for $22 bill.

  • Sandra says:

    I had a very similar and very ugly situation at a particular store. Realizing that I am the one with the power in this situation – I have the money to spend, they want my money – I have the ability to change the stores I shop in and where I spend my money.

    One key thing though, is that you need to let the manager of the store know what happened, and that you will no longer shop there – otherwise they don’t know the reasons that customers are leaving. There are other stores out there that bend over backwards to assist their customers and even help educate on coupon usage.

  • alicia says:

    I had a HORRIBLE experience at a Giant over an expired tag that meant I got the item for free. It was a Kitty Litter Box for $39.95. The manager didnt want to give it to me and I informed he had to and that I could call the 1800# posted on the sign at Customer Service explaining their policy on Scan Price Gaurantee. He got so loud and made a scene that I was embarrassed and felt harrassed that the next day I called corporate office and they apologized and like Crystal said above offered to have him call and apologize. They also sent me a $25 GC as an apology. P.S – he did give me the item for free b/c I wouldn’t back down.

    • denise@home says:

      Here in California stores can get in big trouble for having expired items on the shelf. He was lucky that it was you that noticed the expired kitty littler, not a regulatory agency, a fine would be a lot more.

  • August says:

    If you stop using coupons, then you let them win. Don’t give up.

    I had a coupon for the Kreo transformers construction set at Target. They had a picture of the expensive set, but the limitations allowed me to use it on the cheapest one. The cashier at Target flipped her light off and on to signal a manager, but a security guard came over instead. He proceeded to tell me that I needed to learn how to use coupons properly -they were not intended to get items free, but to get a percentage off, and that I should leave immediately. I was so upset, I cried all the way home because they put me on the spot in front of everyone. I was nice and told them the security guard was not needed, but he came anyway. I told corporate what happened and, as far as I know, nothing happened. I almost gave up. But I decided to go back one more time with my coupons. Haven’t had any issues since.

    If I had stopped, I wouldn’t have gotten all the deals I have since then. Not to mention, that dumb security guard would have won. He would have thought his coupon knowledge was correct and would have done it to someone else. When I go back, I smile at him in hopes that he remembers me. I just want him to know that HE will not prevent my family from saving money -only we can.

    • Chelsea says:

      Oh, wow. I would have cried too!

    • Angela says:

      Did you get to use the coupon in question or not? Was it really valid or had you mis-understood how it worked?

      • August says:

        I didn’t get to use it because it “didn’t match the picture on the coupon”. But it was completely valid according to their coupon policy. It said that you could use it on any of the Kreo transformer construction sets. That’s what I tried to do, but my Target didn’t want to give them out for free and said that they were intended to be used on the larger $50 (I think) sets.

        • Emily says:

          Yes, that was a valid coupon. I remember using a few of my own! I didn’t have problems, thankfully. So sorry you went through that!

        • Christy Carden says:

          I’ve had hassles with Walmart and Walgreens over shampoo coupons because I wasn’t buying the one in the picture. Aussie makes a ton of shampoo variations, the coupons usually say, “$1 off any Aussie product.” Do they really expect them to put everyone of their products in the picture? And if they did, you would need a magnifying glass to read the print on each picture to see if Moist Shampoo was one of the ones included! Crazy!

  • Toni says:

    I haven’t really had any coupon troubles yet. I did try to use a Target coupon once that I printed off their own site and when the cashier scanned it, it said no item available or no item found. I use most of my coupons at Target and I always look for the same cashier when I am there.

    Getting the items free (if it happens) is awesome.It makes it so much easier when the store itself has the scenario in their Sunday ad.(Walgreens for example)

    • I have had a few bad couponing experiances, but I don’t let them get me down. I have spoken with the store managment if I have a bad experiance with a cashier because as you said many cashiers don’t know the coupon policy and that is why they make mistakes.

  • marney says:

    I’m sorry for your experience – I can’t imagine being called a cheat or fraud in public! I’d say 99 percent of the time my coupons go through w/ no problem. The other day though, the coupon (from an insert) wouldn’t scan and the cashier wouldn’t put it in manually even though the I was buying the identical item pictured on the coupon! I needed the item so I went to the service desk and they gave me the discount. I usually seek out the young male cashiers – they tend to be more polite and want to get the transactions done as quickly as possible. The ‘mature’ women cashiers seem to scrutinize each coupon transaction much more.

    • Sara says:

      I usually go for the teenage/college age looking cashiers, they seem to be the most reasonable about coupons and willing to manually enter the coupon if it doesn’t scan. Some of the older women cashiers can be overly picky and rude about coupons and refuse to take ones that are valid coupons.

      • Monica says:

        I totally agree, especially at TARGET! I haven’t shopped at Target in 5 weeks with coupons. If I really need it and it’s a great deal, then I’ll make the trip, but not if I have similar items in stock, I’ll pass the deal up. Especially if I am using printed coupons that are not specific and say “ANY”. The managers are just as worse and the older female cashiers too. Needless to say, it’s no longer my favorite place to shop with coupons anymore.

  • Another tip is to talk to your store management. I actually asked to have a time to speak with them- go over the coupon policy with them and address any issues.

    Being proactive goes along way. Also being informed- sounds like your Walmart wasn’t up to date with their software and couldn’t read the new coupon barcodes. This happens to ALL of us- don’t give up!

  • Meredith says:

    I have had one bad couponing experience and it was from a cashier that was uninformed. That is the best tip Crystal mentioned imo. Get to know the guys and gals at the place you shop too. If you go to the right lane, if there is a real problem, they will help you.

  • I have noticed Target, usually one of my favorite places to use coupons, has become very militant, and has refused more coupons lately than I would care to count. Just yesterday they rejected the Mossimo apparel coupon because it rung up as “invalid on purchased item”, even though I purchased the correct item. It can be frustrating, especially when you are counting on a coupon to ring up to preserve your budget.

    • Meggan says:

      I am SO happy to hear that others are having trouble at Target!! Had a terrible encounter there today and I am still so mad. I know it doesn’t help that I had all my kids there too… because I get frustrated they have to wait while the cashier figures it out. But — argh! I can’t believe that their systems can not recognize their OWN coupons!! At Target, I usually shop directly from my stack of coupons. They print them so you will shop at their store — and they should honor them without the third degree.

      This post came at JUST the right time — bcs I am right there with you! Thanks!!!! And Thanks Crystal for your constant support through this website. Nice job.

  • Wendy says:

    I think one of the biggest things about no-stress couponing is to learn which stores are coupon-friendly and which aren’t. The Target near my house won’t accept coupons for more than the value of the item – meaning you can’t get a $.99 item for free with a $1 coupon. Their store policy says they should, and I even carried a printout of their policy for a while after I got a hassle from a manager, but ultimately I decided it wasn’t worth the stress to shop there with coupons. Now I do all my grocery shopping at the Publix ten minutes away – I have to pass five other grocery stores to get there, but Publix is AWESOME about coupons (they accept competitor coupons and double manufacturer’s coupons too) and I don’t have to plan an extra half an hour on my shopping trips just in case I need to argue with management! I only go to Target to pick up staples like milk and bread now, when I wouldn’t be using a coupon anyway.

    • Christy Carden says:

      I <3 Publix! They have wonderful costumer service in all areas, not just involving coupons. Their stores are always clean. Shopping Publix is less of a hassle to me even though I too have to pass other stores to get there and sometimes may pay a few cents more for an item.

  • Chelsea says:

    I don’t have very tough skin, and I tend to take rudeness from a cashier or manager very personally. Even though I’m kind throughout the experience, if they deny me, I always feel like crying and throwing in the towel. So I can totally relate to how you are feeling.

    I had more issues when I was new to couponing and tried to get every deal possible. I remember having an issue once when trying to get free dog food at Target, and I didn’t even own a dog! I did end up calling corporate because I disagree with the way I was treated, and they apologized profusely and assured me the manager would be updated on the policies.

    To eliminate the bad experiences I once faced, I now only pursue deals that I KNOW would be worth the hassle… should there be an issue. If I see a deal or coupon that seems like a crazy, good one, I just like to keep my eyes peeled for other people’s experiences. If other couponers are experiencing problems, odds are, I would too.

    I would recommend that you keep trying- but that you keep note of specifics. What is your cashier’s name? What time/day? What exactly did they say? If you are able to get these specifics to corporate- and you are in the right- I’m sure they will do everything they can to resolve the issues you are facing. Good luck!

  • Katie Jones says:

    For me, using printable coupons is always a bit scary. Now that I finally learned you can actually get most of them mailed to you, I have been doing that instead. Whenever the page comes up to state it is printing, locate the Help button/link and it should direct you to have the option of being mailed coupons. I surely hope this helps as I know what you are feeling!

    • Joy says:

      I don’t ever use printable coupons for free items not even BOGOs. Most of these are considered fraudulent by stores (even though they are legitimate) and most our grocery stores in my area won’t accept them anyway. A free item isn’t worth the hassle or embarrassment in line because chances are I can get that item for free eventually by combining an actual cents off coupon and a sale. If I get a coupon for free item in mail, I bring the attached letter or mailer it came in in case there are questions.

      Here are some of my other tips:

      Avoid being a shelf clearer. Clearing shelves or buying more than four same items sends up red flags to cashiers and managers. Most of our grocery stores around here limit you to four like coupons anyway so I just use this as a standard for ALL stores.

      Make sure all your coupons are in order and not expired before you get to register.

      Profile your cashiers. I rather wait in a long line than have to deal with any hassle in a short line. If you get denied at register just take a deep breath and don’t get into an argument. If the item is that important to you, politely ask to speak to a manager or front line manager. Most of the cashiers are just trying to do their job with little training so don’t take it personally.

      In my 20 years of couponing (since I graduated college in 1991), I have only had maybe a handful of hassles at checkout time. And, usually it was after a coupon policy changed and I was not aware of it.

    • sand says:

      most of my coupons wont scan from my printer , dont know why, but they use to ? i had a bad experience from a local grocery store. i had 2 orders, i handed the lady my SHOPPERS card. she picked over my items in the bag to make sure i got the items. then proceeded to the next order and she asked me for my shoppers card ! i told her she still had it and she got nasty and insisted she did not. i said i wanted a new card and i wanted my GAS points from the missing card on them, she assured me they would be on there ! well they were not , so i went to cutomer service and she took my first receipt and added them to my new card . i put in the box about the rude cashier and even put her name on it. well when i got home , there was a message that they FOUND my card in the drawer with the cashiers coupons !! i never even got an Appology !!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I agree that, for me, printable coupons are generally not worth it. By the time I’ve used the paper and the ink, it just doesn’t work out considering the high likelihood that they will get rejected. I will make an exception for very high valued coupons (Benjamin Moore has $5/ gallon of paint a couple times a year) or items that rarely have coupons (organic milk), but generally it isn’t worth my time, supplies, or hassle. I would try the “mail it to me” trick, but I shop Grocery-Game-style, and the weekly deal would likely be gone by the time I got the coupon.

      My attitude is, “perfect is the enemy of good.” If something in couponing is making you feel like giving up, give up that thing instead. Better to do some couponing than none.

  • Sakura says:

    I just read this and had to laugh. I just got off the phone with my local Walmart. I had to deal with a cashier that decided to make up her own coupon policies while I was checking out. I was polite, asked to have a manager come over and talked to someone else instead. When I got home I sent an email through their website letting them know what happened. About 20 minutes ago the assistant store manager just called me and I let her know what happened at the store. I suggested they do a retraining with their cashiers on their coupon policy, and if the store has a specific policy then to post it where we the consumer can find it. She was really great to talk to and it felt good being able to have some input at my local grocery store. I think trying to focus on something positive to correct a negative is key!

    Hang in there with your coupons, the savings are well worth the time in my book!

    • Wendy says:

      I’ve e-mailed Wal-mart before about a problem I had with a cashier not wanting to price match. The store manager called me the next day and apologized. I’ve found Wal-mart to be very good about following up with problems.

  • Brittainny says:

    I keep a copy of the current store coupon policies in my purse at all times. I check their websites often because they do change their policies here and there. I highlight the coupon policy part so that it’s easy to find. I have had to drag it out only 1 time at Harris Teeter. Because I was more aware of the coupon policy than their manager, I was able to use my coupons w/o making a big fuss. I have also had trouble at our Target w/ a coupon that exceeds the value of the item. Couponing is so worth it! It truly saves us so much money!

  • Liz says:

    I have given up coupons altogether now. 99% of the coupons I used were printable ones. Where I live, I only have a Hannaford and a Walmart. Walmart no longer accepts printable coupons due to others who abused the system. Hannaford will only accept printable coupons if an actual bar code printed AND that bar codes needs to scan without them punching it in. I don’t know about all of you, but most of the coupons I print do not have a bar code, and I’m not gonna waste my ink and still print out all my normal coupons when probably only 1 or 2 of them will print with an actual bar code (which then also has to scan and sometimes their scanners aren’t working properly, which has nothing to do with the coupon, but I lose out). So, I’ve given up coupons altogether, but I have tried to stop shopping at Marshalls. That has saved me WAY more than all my coupons saved me, plus I am not spending any time on coupon, PLUS I am not spending time shopping at Marshalls. So it’s saving me time and more money to NOT coupon. I still miss it, though.

    • Wendy says:

      My printable coupons have stopped scanning at Wal-mart. And now if it doesn’t scan, the cashier can’t punch it in manually. I think they’ve done this on purpose to discourage people from using printable coupons. I’ve tried to use a printable coupon at Wal-mart and it won’t scan, only to go to a Lowes Foods and have it scan with no problem.

  • lori says:

    I think some cashiers are on the offensive because of what they’ve seen in extreme couponing shows. Also some who are not informed will assume if you’re getting something free then you MUST be cheating. I’m just not willing to deal with it if it means ruining my afternoon. Free shampoo or deodorant or toothpaste just isn’t worth it. So if ever there is a problem I just ask them to remove the item from my transaction and return my coupon.

    As far as the person who had Walmart refuse coupons, it may be because of the recent barcode changes. If stores have not updated their system (many haven’t) then you’ll get a lot of beeps. I have had some cashiers who are aware of the change and cover up part of the barcode so their old system can still read it. My local grocery store has to manually enter each coupon because every single printable coupon will beep on their system!

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve had a handful of issues where coupons didn’t work or were not accepted. If such is the case I politely decline purchasing the item. Most times that’s the end of it.. occasionally the checker will go ahead and accept it anyway.
    But I never argue or put up a fight over it. It’s just not worth it for me.

    I think couponing is becoming more accepted. I get less and less of “the evil eye” at checkout… and more astonishment and requests for advice on couponing.

    And like the other comments.. 99% of the time there is no issue. People just remember when something goes wrong.. you never think twice about it when it works out ok. 🙂

  • Christine says:

    I’ve only had four run-ins with cashiers in over a decade of couponing. Most recently at Kroger, I was told that I could not use a Mfr coupon on a clearance item “because you are already getting a discount and the store will lose money”. I stated that I didn’t understand how the store would lose money, as they send the coupon back to the manufacturer and get reimbursed. She stated that it was store policy. I said that confused me because I had been allowed to use coupons on clearance items in the past at that very store and NICELY asked to speak with the manager so that he/she could explain it to me. Oddly enough, she then scanned my coupon, but she was less than polite about it. I called 1-800-KROGER, and got a phone call from the manager apologizing and telling me that they reviewed the coupon policy with all cashiers, and that if it ever happened again, I should ask for her by name. I think sometimes the cashiers make it up as they go along. There are several cashiers there that are super nice and enjoy seeing how much I save. None of them were there that afternoon.

  • Ashley says:

    I have to say, I don’t follow rule #2. I actually look for the opposite, and it works for me. I look for the teenager who is miserable and hates her job. They are usually the one who will just override the system and force my coupon because they just don’t care. If they DO ask for help, they normally find a supervisor who I can then argue with about my coupons. I’ve found that the nice and helpful cashiers in my area are also the ones who are Coupon Nazis and nit-pick over everything.

    • Emily says:

      I look for teenagers too. I usually look for male teenagers since they don’t seem to care, but at Kroger my favorite cashier is a female teenager, who very obviously can’t stand being at work and just puts any coupons through that beep. I look for her every time I shop there.

  • Oh we have all had our share of stories thats for sure! It can be defeating when you get into these situations. My advice is to stick to the stores your totally comfortable with for a while. See your savings again, it will boost your confidence. Walmart sadly just isnt usually the best place, but maybe your local store is.

    I also agree with Crystal that there are plenty of ways to save without coupons. If you have a Sams membership look into the unit prices on products. They may be cheaper than if your buying small packs of rice for $0.50 each using coupons, less hassle buying a bulk pack.

    • Deb says:

      True fact, Kate ! Especially about buying certain items at Sams club. For those of you that don’t know, the Sams clubs here in Eastern Nebraska don’t accept coupons at all, period. Bummer ! Wish they did ! Deb

  • Denise says:

    I have a problem at Wal-Mart every time I try to use printed coupons. The ones with 2 bar codes (one above the other) do not seem to scan. They tell me they cannot use coupons that do not scan. They always have to check with the person in charge for the day and some allow
    them and some don’t. I had a problem with the pull-up wipes and the pedigree dog food! UGHHH. Some know to use the guns because they seem to scan better but they won’t scan the double bar code ones.

  • VickieF says:

    Awesome advice and story! Very informative and encouraging.

  • MonicaBerry says:

    I saw something on the news the other day about actual, fraudulent coupons. is legit, but do be careful & make sure you’re getting them from reputable sources! I think Crystal covered this in the comments below, but I thought it might be worth pointing out.

    Also, in general, in all things moderation! I know your issues were with the stores refusing coupons & such, but the whole process can get overwhelming, too. I’ve had to take a step back with my couponing. When I first started, I was spending more than before! I chalked some of that up to stockpiling, but I’m making a more conscious effort to budget now as well. 🙂

  • Lecia says:

    My 15 year old football playing son eats 4 doz eggs and drinks 2 gallons of milk per week, and that’s just for starters…so yeah, I’ve really gotta save on those groceries!

    I like buying whole grains, nuts, etc from the big barrels at my local health food store. I bag it up and it is much cheaper than buying the pre-bagged items at the grocery store.

    Good luck!

  • Heather says:

    Safeway’s coupon policy is that they can refuse any coupon–and they do, all the time. Target will refuse any coupon that doesn’t scan–even their own! I haven’t been able to use any printables for a long time. I avoid certain cashiers, request mailed coupons, and triple check that what I’m buying matches the coupon. I’ll sometimes separate out the items I have coupons for, and make them scan the coupon when they ring up the item. I hate feeling like a criminal for patronizing their store. I also hate being reprimanded by the customer service manager for trying to use coupons without size limitations on travel size items, or lectured that a manufacturer’s coupon is the same as a store coupon. I complain to the manager, but it doesn’t do me any good when I’m in line the next time. Albertson’s seems to do better on coupons here, but they are so darn expensive that I don’t save any money.

  • Jessica says:

    If I have had problems at a certain store, I just don’t shop there! My Walgreens is pretty horrible. I feel like the cashiers are out to not let you use coupons! I stack my coupons carefully in the right order. I have had a few tell me a coupon will not work and I just tell them to scan it and it works. Part time employees are often not trained the best on minor things like ringing coupons. Even though I could get great deals, I just avoid the place.

    At Walmart I seem to have trouble when I do anything other than buy items with a credit card. If I have a coupon that needs a price entered, or a gift card, or anything out of the ordinary I feel like 3 or more people need to come over to figure it out.

    It can be frustrating for a while, but you will be able to figure out what stores to shop at and what cashiers to go to. My grocery store is amazing. One time I was looking over my receipt the next day and found an error. (usually I can do this at the store, but let’s face it….that is not always easy!!!) I went back the next day and let the customer service gentleman know that a coupon was completely missed. (I saw it scanned so I thought it had worked) I took the item back and said I could just return the item if there was nothing he could do. He said no problem and gave me my dollar. So nice! I have written many letters of thanks to my Pick N Save!

  • Jessica says:

    I know the feeling. This is the very reason why I refuse to shop at Walmart anymore. I used to go every week with my coupons and list knowing exactly what I was going to buy. It wasn’t just once or twice, but EVERY time the cashiers (made no difference which line I went to) gave me a terrible attitude and often rejected coupons for no reason. It got to the point where I would only go on my husband’s day off so I would have “back up” at the register. After a couple joint trips we decided they just didn’t deserve our business. I love to save money, but not at the expense of being treated like a criminal or major annoyance. Now I take my coupons to Kroger or Target. I usually go during the middle of the day when it is older ladies working. Most of them coupon, too, and get excited to see how much I save off the total at the end.

    • Becky says:

      I feel the same way at Walmart. I’ve been accused twice of using copies of coupon by very nasty and rude cashiers. They were legitimate coupons that wouldn’t scan but I was so angry that I haven’t been back since. I don’t usually have a problem at Target but anymore I’m hesitant to use printed coupons. Definitely going to check into having them mailed to me.

    • Armani says:

      Me tooo I hate the WALMART for this very reason I keep thinking it’s just here in VEGAS but now that I see all these comments… WALMART has issues! PERIOD. I stopped shopping there a year ago and found WINCO which is new here and they have never given me ONE PROBLEM 🙂

  • Kathy says:

    Thank you! Needed this:)

  • Jean says:

    You are not alone here. I have been weaning myself off of coupons for this and other reasons. I

  • jk says:

    I just stay away from Walmart. Not worth it at all!! I got better treatment at Kmart even though the cashiers there don’t seem to be much educated on stuff.

    With other stores, I always ask or explain politely and the cashiers are helpful most of the time. And, if they are, I always thank them and let them know I appreciate them!

  • Jen says:

    I haven’t had those problems with couponing, honestly I make the mistakes b/c I can’t always figure out the brands within brands. Like specific kinds of razors, etc. I haven’t stopped couponing, but I stopped buying the paper and just print them now. I realized that most of the food is stuff we don’t eat like snacks, canned food, processed food, boxed meals, etc. I buy mostly staples like flour, old-fashioned oats, dry beans, brown rice, etc and fresh stuff like meat and produce. The coupons for these have been few and far between. Mostly I use coupons just for toiletries and household items. I only stock maybe 2 or 3 of each thing, unless I know a holiday is coming up to make gift baskets or something like that. Which is why I just do online coupons now b/c many times I will have an entire stockpile of coupons expiring on me and I will be blowing my grocery budget just to use them up. Anyway, hope that helps!

    • Joy says:

      I also forgot to mention in my previous post that I splurged on a mid-range HP color laser jet printer late last year and since then I have not had problems with coupons scanning. The cashier the other day at my local Price Chopper even commented that she had never seen such nicely printed coupons before. I highly recommend a color laser printer if your budget allows. Not only will you save on ink, but the coupons don’t look like copies and the watermarks show up nice and clear! Best investment ever!

      • Joy says:

        I also do not purchase coupons online! Too much risk of them being fraudulent. Plus, it is illegal even if the service says you are paying for its time to cut and sort them. I get extra inserts from my Mom and I have two computers at home and that’s plenty for me. If I really want more than that I will buy an extra paper or two.

        • Joy says:

          Sorry one more thing:

          Try to avoid buying travel/trial sizes with coupons. Even if the coupon technically doesn’t exclude it, 9 out of 1o times it will beep or send a red flag to cashier. A tiny tube of lotion isn’t worth the frustration. I know a lot of people do use coupons on trial/travel sizes, but honestly I don’t think manufacturer’s intended them to be used in this way. That’s why you see more and more coupons excluding it now.

  • Human Energizer Bunny says:

    I am Unemployed and not receiving benefits so I am using EVERYTHING in my pantry and relying on the kidnesss of my friends which means when they take me shopping I bring coupons. I fortunately have never had a problem per se. I have experienced several occassions where the coupon won’t go through and the cashier makes sure I’ve bought the item and they will manually enter the code or amount off.
    It can be tedious to go through coupon site after coupon site but I feel like it’s a necessity.
    I am fortunate. I do not have children or a husband. So shopping is virtually painless.

  • shannon says:

    Don’t take it personally. I was banned from using any coupons at a store I grew up shopping in due to cashiers complaining to manager that I was using too many coupons! I decided after talking to corporate office that I didn’t need to be hasseled by cashiers who caused problem as they acted as if I was stealing from them but asked for coupons! I went to another location about the same distance from my house and use all the coupons within the same coupon policy.

    Some cashiers are horrible and I think it is because they don’t know how to utilize coupons to their benefit with their employee discount.

  • Due to rampant coupon abuse/fraud in my area (I blame it on the flea market in town. People grab the amazing coupon deals and resell the stuff) my stores are not very coupon friendly. I try to get the best deal possible, be nice and avoid the cashiers I know will give me a hard time if possible (not always possible at my grocery store.)

    I find that being polite, being willing to skip out on a great deal or getting it another day, and knowing that they are only reacting to the issues in our area makes it a lot easier.

  • Lisa says:

    One tip that a very patient cashier at Rite Aid gave me: Print your coupons in grey scale. Somehow they are more likely to scan that way. But it sounds like a lot of you have lazy cashiers who don’t try typing in the coupon barcode manually if it doesn’t scan. Have you tried politely asking if they will try it? Just because the scanner doesn’t rescue it doesn’t mean it is not in the system. I have had some frustrating situations, but have not been accused of fraudulent coupons! That would be very humiliating! Any time that a retail establishment mistreats you, couponing or otherwise, you have every right to take it up the chain of command. If the store manager is not responding, the Corporate office usually will make it right.

  • Jenn says:

    My SIL is a store manager for Walmart. I can tell you first hand that at least at our store this is a major problem. It’s like there is no communication between trainer and trainee. She said that they are telling cashiers to NEVER argue with a customer over a coupon or add match unless it is alot. She said Walmert corporate (meaning mgmt over her) is sick and tired of getting customer complaints from people saying that the cashier argued with them over 50 cents or a dollar. They do not want to lose customers over such a piddly amount. It is nice being able to go to her with complaints, it’s hard to say how many cashiers I have gotten in trouble. So stand your ground if you believe you are using the coupon correctly, and ask to speak to a manager, they want to make it right with you. At least the Walmart in Indiana where I live.

  • Cassi says:

    I have read about a lot of problems that people have similar to those listed here. I think the part that Crystal wrote about knowing a store’s coupon policy is key! I, thankfully, have never had this sort of issue. I shop mainly at three stores with my Coupons- Walgreens, Walmart, and Hy Vee. I know all their coupon policies and adjust my shopping accordingly. I primarily shop at Walmart as that is my best option. On average I save $20 per trip with my coupons. Some things that I think really help are: know your prices-if you are using a B1G1 deal it works best to know the price so they don’t have to look it up (although some do anyway). I think part of the reason that I have so few problems is that just about everyone there knows me-I am a teacher and many of my students work there-they know that I am honest and not trying to cheat the company.
    I can understand the problem with some coupons not scanning-it seems like Walmart was the last chain store to get their registers updated to scan the new bar codes. Now that they are updated I have not had a problem with any coupons not scanning. I also think what Crystal said about contacting the company if you know you have been wronged is a big deal. I am not afraid to contact a store or a company about problems because I don’t want anyone to deal with the same problems that I have had. In just the past month I have contacted Goodnights and is nice to get resolutions after something has caused you frustration.

  • Wendy says:

    I had something similiar happen at McDonalds once. I had two coupons for free cones and wanted to use them to get my children free ice-cream. The young man at the register informed me that it was one coupon per visit. I told him I could use one, go out the door and come back in and that would be another visit, but it would also be pointless. He smiled, agreed and took my two coupons. Sometimes you have to make them think about what they’ve said.

    • Heather says:

      I used to work at McDonald’s. Customers were sometimes very angry if I told them they couldn’t use all the coupons they wanted. The kid working at the register is just saying what he is supposed to. He doesn’t make the coupon policy. I would just do the “go out and come back in” thing if you really want to use both coupons. Then you are not putting the worker in an awkward situation.

  • Katie says:

    I haven’t been coupons for a very long time (so far so good) but I find that even with the greatest deals, unless it is a freebie, our local Grocery Outlet has similar items for even less, and doesn’t use coupons. It saves me printer ink, time, and trouble to just shop there. I’ve also been a big fan of Safeway’s Just for U program, because they load the coupons straight onto the card, often making the item free or very very inexpensive. Because they are on my shopper card, there is no question whether they will be accepted or not.

  • Sarah says:

    I feel silly even asking this. But I really don’t know because I would never do it- can you photocopy coupons and have them still look the same and the bar code work? I guess if the answer is yes then I could at least see how stores would be cautious about printed coupons because if they aren’t going to be reimbursed then they are losing money. If not then i dont umderstand how you could be acused of fraud. Anyone know how that works?

  • Lorrene says:

    I know how you feel. I get nervouse every time I walk up to the register. You never know what to expect. It doesn’t matter if the store has a coupon policy. They will just say it is their discretion if they want to follow it. The Walmarts in my area treat couponers like criminals. I have called their main office concerning an incident where the store did not want to follow their own policy and I too got an apology. Things did change for a while, but now they are worse than ever. I know I am going to have to take a break soon. It’s just becoming to hard to deal with all the drama.

  • Mary R says:

    My local grocery store won’t accept any “free” coupon printed from the internet, not even a BOGO coupon! A Walmart near me stopped taking internet coupons all together and of course I didn’t find out until I got up to the check out with a cart full of groceries. Keeping up with policies has definitely added more time to couponing.

  • C.j. says:

    I agree w/ a lot of other posters about knowing a coupon policy of a store For example, in my area many stores here have changed their coupon policy thankfully, where only the 1st two coupons get doubled and others are redeemed at face value where many stores here will let you redeem no more than 50 coupons and many stores here don’t do coupon stacking anymore.

    I think the tips in the article are great but I think in my experience of using coupons 2 other tips definitely need to be mentioned 1: Be a polite couponer especially if you have a large coupon order- At many of the small stores in my area, it is very trying being behind a customer that has a large coupon order and want to do 15 to 20 mini transactions one after another because of the limit 2 or limit 4 coupon rule nowadays. Enough complaints to management or corporate by customers tired of the lines being held up by large coupon orders or too many frivolous mini transactions can also encourage more stores like one in my area to limit the number of transactions a customer w/ coupons can do is in one day. The same store also refuses to open a separate check out for a super sized couponer order and as a couponer I can’t say I blame the store.

    2 Not every cashier is poorly trained Sometimes it can help to try to understand their perspective at the register. Yes, I agree that there is good and bad in everyone, but making the assumption that just because a cashier isn’t “coupon friendly” doesn’t mean they are mis-informed all the time or hate their job. At some stores in my area coupon policies can change where the cashier might be more aware than then the general public. Corporate doesn’t always notify stores of coupon policy changes w/ signs or written statements at the physical store in a timely fashion. With technology the way it is these days some times an email from corporate might be all store manager receives before physical signs are sent to stores. I’ve seen this at a few stores in my area both large and small

    Cashiers are also the only ones who are responsible for their registers At the stores in my area the majority of cashiers have to make sure the coupons used aren’t expired and have a bar code that scans because using expired coupons can affect a stores reimbursement because of fraud. Fraudulent coupons cost not only stores money but us as consumer as well

    Making assumptions about coupons is wrong too. I hate when misinformed couponers think that just because a product is a$1 and the coupon says a $1.50 off that they are entitled to the 50 cent credit or the cashier can just “take the $1 off the product and the 50 off a totally different product” I’ve seen couponers try to do this at many stores where its against store policy and yes that is coupon fraud for many stores at least in my area. Not to mention a cashier could be looked at for fraud for making too many overage markdowns on products the coupons aren’t for.

    With that said to make my coupon transactions go smoother I: 1st decide regardless of having a coupon or not if I want the product or not I don’t like wasting time and a products perishablitly from being indecisive or having problems at the register if the coupon doesn’t scan
    2 I ALWAYS keep “freebie coupons” and its products at the end of all my transactions to make it easier on the cashier. If I have a large shopping order, I don’t want the cashier wasting time and becoming frustrated from having to scroll up and down the screen looking for the freebie item if the coupon doesn’t scan. Plus w/ freebie coupons at stores here the cashier’s always have to write in the original price of the product on the coupon before scanning it so the store gets its correct reimbursement

    3 I refuse to do no more than 2 transactions one after another and regardless of how many coupons I have I always limit mine to only 2 identical coupons. I think its so rude and self asborbant of couponers to think the rest of us want to be held up for a good 20 to 30 minutes especially w/ a cart full of persishables for them to do 10-15 mini transactions. I’m sorry but I could never do that to a cashier and the self-checkout at the stores I shop exist for a reason! I could never be a shelf-clearer either I think that’s so rude too.

    4 Most importantly I NEVER expect stores or cashiers to be perfect, because lord knows I’m not perfect either! To me people are people and everyone has feelings and EVERYONE makes mistakes. When I go to store and see expired sales signs I refuse to make a fuss about “false advertising” like some people just can’t wait to make a fuss about. I ALWAYS make it a point to read a sales sign of product I want to buy regardless if its an advertised sale or not. In my eyes, signs that an employee missed taking down that has an expiration date-as most have an expiration date doesn’t mean that “the customer is always right” and they have to honor a sale. To me an expired sale means I’ll GLADLY pay full price and that the employee made a simple human error the same way I have before at stores like accidentally mis reading a price because sometimes its late and I’m tired when I have to get certain essentials and if I’ve had a long day, I know the cashier most likely had a long day too, especially after spending nearly 8 hrs dealing with the public.

    Lastly I do agree w/ trying to appeal to a cashier or manger’s personable side, like asking them how their day is going but I’d definitely stay away from personal questions especially if a cashier is pregnant or looks it. Not everyone wants their personal business out on the street nor be bugged a hundred and one times a day of when their baby is due. Not everyone always has an easy pregnancy so that subject is always off limits to me, unless the cashier brings up their personal issues themselves and even then I’m not the nosy type either What people do in their personal life is their own business.

  • I am 100% with you on number 2. I find this helps especially at my local Walmart. I have began to make mental note of which cashiers are coupon friendly and which are not. If I run into a problem with one cashier I try not to go through her line again. If someone ran my coupons through with ease I will try to remember her face so that if I see her next time I know to step in her line. Also if I have had numerous problems in a row I allow myself to simply take a coupon breather, I have been on one for 2 months now and am now feeling ready to get back to it.

    • Brittainny says:

      I haven’t had trouble w/ coupons at our walmart, but my mom has trouble all the time! I think it might be her printer. I rarely shop at walmart anyhow. I prefer Lowes Foods and Harris Teeter. They have a limit of 3 like coupons and only double 20 coupons; any others will be face value. Lowes Foods has a similar policy. They also will only take a certain number of internet coupons in a visit. I get most of my coupons from a clipping service in TN. I do use and I also keep up with my store card cpns and I have not had trouble w/ internet cpns yet. I also love our CVS’s and Rite Aid! They are great and allow me to split up orders. I only do easy deals at our Walgreens. They always make me feel terrible about using cpns. I honestly don’t spend a ton of time cpning though. I look at ads 2 times a week,Wed and Sun afternoon. I only look at things that we are in need of. If I have several in our mini stockpile, then I don’t go for it unless it is free or for a gift. The only time it takes more than a few minutes is when a store does super doubles or triples. I only coupon during naptime, before kids wake up, or after they are in bed. I am a busy mom of 4 kids ages 6 and under. I don’t like to take time away from my family for coupons. I don’t go couponing every week. I do a main grocery trip once a month w/ another produce/staple run 2 wks later. If a deal happens between those times, I go out on a Wed. We go to church on Wed. So, it is on the way. If nothing cold is involved, I go before. If I get cold food, I go after church. Keep in mind, that when I go shopping, I always have all 4 kids w/ me. My hubby has a brain injury from being blown up in Iraq. I save 50%-70% on my grocery trips and even more on a “stockpile” trip. Don’t get discouraged! Maybe find a coupon partner who can go w/ you for moral support.

    • Kimberly S. says:

      I’m actually surprised at the number of problems people have using coupons. I’ve never had any issues at my local chain grocery store, Target, or WalMart (knock on wood, next time I go, I’ll have issues now that I said this). I love my local Target because they are so accommodating. I bought a toy that was on clearance the one time, but the clearance sticker was missing, so I wasn’t sure if it was 50% or 70% off as half the aisle was one amount off and the other half was the other amount off and this item was located in the center of the shelves. I said so to the cashier and let her know it was the only one of this item on the shelf. I even let her know that I looked in other aisles to see if someone had picked it up from elsewhere and then changed their mind and just left it on the clearance shelf, but I didn’t see it anywhere else. She told me not to worry and that she’d just give it to me at 70% off. Then another time an item around $4 rang up as no longer in the system. The cashier called the manager over and she asked me the price. I told her I wasn’t positive, but I know it was around $4. The manager told the cashier to just ring it up for $0.99. And any time I’ve used coupons, if they don’t scan, the cashiers have always hand entered them, no questions asked. A couple times an item has been on sale or it’s one of there “buy this amount and get a Target $5 gift card” and for some reason the sale price doesn’t come up or it doesn’t generate the gift card. I’ve brought it up to the cashier and they’ve always taken my word and made the change. The cashiers are always super friendly and even get excited when I save a good amount of money with my coupons. I always enjoy going to Target as they always seem to be the most accommodating and easy-going about coupons and their prices. But maybe it’s just the Target’s near my house and work as it seems so many other people on here have lots of problems.

  • Marsha says:

    I get overwhelmed with coupons. Over the past few months I have only been clipping coupons for products that I use or want to try; reduce the amount of duplicate coupons by limiting them to only two or three of the same kind; and use price matchups from websites such site as this one. By doing these things I have reduced the my frustration, the amount of time spend organizing my coupons, and the amount of time I spend in the store.

  • Brandy says:

    I have pretty much stopped shopping at Walgreens for this reason. I am not a person who handle confrontation well (I start to cry- no joke) and every time I went in I would end up being told I couldn’t use a coupon even if I showed them in the coupon policy that they were wrong and they would make me feel like I was a criminal. I even called to complain (which was really scary for me) and they told me they would look into it but my experience never changed. I might be missing out on some deals here and there, but I decided it was worth my sanity and self respect to not be giving them my money.

  • Justinsmommu says:

    I like addressing the cashier by their name. I recently had a refusal of a $3 off Kiss My Face product coupon at a Kroger store. The cashier refused it because “it’s a high-value” coupon and the soap I was purchasing was on sale for $3.79 and she didn’t want to get in trouble. She suggested that it looked like it had been copied, when in fact it had not. It was printed from their Facebook page using black ink instead of color. I kindly asked for my coupon back and to have the item removed. This was a store I shop at all the time and a cashier I go to all the time. I went to another Kroger later that day and used 2 of the coupons for the same soap with no issues. I agree, don’t make a big stink of it. A big smile and kindness goes a long way.

  • Amie says:

    I advise you to stick with it. I started couponing heavily when I became pregnant with my second child almost 3 years ago. I have saved sooo much money over these years. I was able to cut my grocery budget in half, diaper a second child, and I have so much more. I have had some bad experiences – usually at Walmart. I usually just put the item back or go to customer service. There are a few cashiers I completely avoid. There is one at my CVS who is very unfriendly with coupons, rolls her eyes and neck, and seems to take pleasure in declining coupons so I don’t shop there when she is working. Most cashiers are not nasty, just misinformed. I’ve emailed corporate after problems at Publix and Walmart and was given apologies and gift cards. I try to be polite, but assertive. I do take strategic shopping seriously. I value my coupons the same way I value my cash.

  • Mike says:

    Facebook is also a great way to reach out to the company if something bad happens. Post a cordial and fact filled post on their facebook page about what happened, how you were treated, why that was incorrect, and how it should have been handled.

    Most big companies have whole departments just for monitoring social networks and handling those complaints. But I also email the company directly via their website if I feel that something was done improperly and someone needs some further education. It doesn’t hurt if they offer me something for free to compensate me either. 😉

  • Sean Bockstie says:

    I had a terrible experience at a local grocery store and was also very frustrated because their coupon policy is different even though they are part of a chain. I was upset and wrote a letter to the chain. The Manager of the store where I had an issue called me and apologized. Turns out, I was using my coupons in accordance with their policy. They sent me a $25 gift card for my trouble. I still have had issues, particularly at Walmart, so I always try to remember, I don’t have to purchase the item, usually it is something I’m getting free or close to free, and remember all the money I have saved our family over the year! It’s worth it.

  • Brooke says:

    I am a cashier. Many times couponers DO try to take advantage of cashiers who don’t know the policy or try to find loopholes. My Kroger store does not allow stacking of a manufacturer and store coupon, which couponers try endlessly. I have a copy of the policy. Is my job worth your 30 cent coupon? No! It has gotten so bad that my store threatened to quit doubling and taking printed coupons at all. We are also told not to accept printed coupons for free items no matter what. Many are fraudulently emailed out without the company’s permission. My store closes at 1 am…I have couponers that show up with a full cart and 100 coupons 10 minutes before closing and then yell when they can’t use 30 expired coupons. Blame it on the store and employees all you want, but many couponers are rude to their cashiers and not completely honest. That’s why the rest of the legitimate couponers have issues.

  • CJ says:

    Happens to all of us occasionally. I either chalk it up to a bad day or plead my case to the manager. Most of the time it either works out or I feel its not a big deal and go on. But after Petsmart accused me twice of making up coupons that were readily available on their Facebook page and website and other coupon problems, I no longer shop there. I did complain to their Facebook page and to customer service and they sent me a $10 gift card. But that wasnt enough to make me want to go back and try again. Since then I’ve found better deals on pet food at other stores that treat me better so I’m glad to spend my money elsewhere.

    • Lana says:

      Two CVSs managers in two different locations told me that all Smartsource coupons are fraugeluent. They refuse to scan it.

      • CJ says:

        CVS employees have told me they cant accept a CVS coupon and any other coupon together for the same item. I verified it as incorrect with the district manager and was given a $10 gift card for my trouble. I think sometimes cashiers and managers just need to be better trained and informed by corporate and their higher ups, and I’m not sure why they arent. If we as customers can, and are expected to, remember all kinds of coupon rules, cashiers should be able to as well!

  • Gina says:

    I had this same kind of situation happen to me at Sweet Bay in Inverness FL. I went in to by BOGO on the Johnsoville Sausages with a store coupon $1.00 and a $1.00 manufactures coupon. Well, I went in to buy 16 of them and I also checked to make sure I wasn’t taking them all. They had plenty left. I went to the register to check out with my 4 year old son. I get the the register put everything on up to check out and the cashier saw what I had and call a manager over to her register. The cashier wanted to see my coupons and I said no you can’t and what was the problem? The manager said I couldn’t use the store coupon and the manufactures coupon together because there was a .35 overage and I asked if I could add a filler and she said no. I then stated she was wrong about what she was saying and that I understood her policy very well. She stood her ground and said it was store policy. I then stated to her this is why I shop at Publix all day long because they will take Sweet Bay’s and all competitors coupons and not give you a hard time about it. She then turned to the cashier and told her don’t sell to her.

    I was so angry at what the manager did so I called corporate about this store and the manager. I was told my customer service that what the manager told me was not there policy and that they should of taken both coupons and I could of used the overage for what was left in my shopping cart or just added a filler to take care of the .35 overage. I new it and stood my ground.

    The manager from the Inverness Sweet Bay store did give me a call and apologized for the way I was treated and happy for this call because it meant that no one else had to go thru this embarrassing situation again. He also assured me that he would reeducate his cashiers and this manager on the couponing policy of Sweet Bay again.

    Cyndi hold you ground when you know you are right and if you have to carry there couponing policy’s with you because if you doing it right there should be no problems. Do this with a smile on your face because your a good persons not trying to cheat anyone out of anything. Good Luck and hope this helps.

  • Armani says:

    Please I NEVER goto WALMART because honey it does not matter what coupon I have their register NEVER NEVER accepts it and I tell them all the time they need to change their signs..very irritation and I shop and save more at Target because it’s like double couponing, here anyway in Vegas bcz no one doubles and they are always so nice and if a coupon does scan they accept it anyway.

    Don’t give up I still get it at certain places I go,store clerks DO NOT like us coupon ppl bcz we know how to get it and not pay, it’s just a fact. Keep do what your doing 🙂

  • Mish says:

    There used to be a King Kullen store close to my house (they have since been sold to Stop and Shop). Their published coupon policy was explicit: they doubled 5 $1 coupons per order (whether they were clipped from inserts or printable internet) and no more than 2 identical coupons per order. They doubled all coupons .99 and under.

    Unfortunately, a couple of their cashiers interpreted this as no more than 2 internet printables per order. Almost every time I went in I had a problem, to the point where I sometimes would only use 2 printables just to avoid the hassle. But one time I got so aggravated I politely explained the coupon policy (which was actually posted at Customer Service!) to the cashier, but she still refused to take more than 2 printables. So I left the items and walked out.

    Finally I decided to e-mail Corporate, emphasizing that the cashier was very nice and not at all rude, but very convinced she was right. The district manager called me that same evening and confirmed that I was right, sent me a gift card, and contacted the store to re-educate them about the policy.

    But here’s the funniest part of the story. I was very glad just recently (more than 18 months later) that I did not complain about the cashier in a personal way. My daughter recently became engaged, and her fiance’s brother is related by marriage to this same cashier! Saw her at a family party, couldn’t remember where I knew her from, until she told me where she worked!

    So the moral is: be nice, even if it isn’t easy.

  • Natalie says:

    Thank you! I needed to hear this!

  • Suzanne says:

    This is just about a weekly occurence for me. Not a lot of people use coupons where I live and b/c of that the stores around here aren’t very accomodating to couponers. Not to mention the looks I get – the “you must be so poor” looks but that’s another story (BTW, I laugh all the way to the bank – DH and I have 0 debt, a healthy savings, money in the bank for the kids’ college educations and no mortgage!). The worst offender is Target. They must not train their cashiers on their own policies b/c they really don’t know them. I just maintain a smile (99% of the time anyhow) and ask them to remove my items if they won’t budge. If I have time, I will take the issue up at Customer Service and frequently they relent. I do miss out on some deals but the amount I do save is still worth it in the long haul! As I said, no debt and coupons are a big reason we got where we are today!!!! Anyhow, if you can, find a couponer to vent to. After a bad experience, I go home and call my sister-in-law a state away and we swap “war” stories! Keep your chin up and don’t quit – it really does pay off – I am proof!!!

    • Susan Thompson says:

      Geeeze – I thought it was just me:/ My worst experiences in this rural area have been at Walmart in Centralia IL – rude remarks by cashiers and CSMs alike – even when eventually accepting the coupons, and there’s ALWAYS an issue with at least one. I wouldn’t go back there, but sometimes they are the only place in town I can get the coupon-item I want. So thankful for this post – and now learning I can print coupons in ‘grey-scale’ to save on the ink is fantastic! In the alternative, I love our CVS store. Walgreens is good, but quite frequently don’t have their advertised sale items I have coupons for. Never had a problem at Schnucks, cashiers are always friendly, but they limit you to 15 coupons.

  • Brittany says:

    I work at customer service at a grocery store in florida that is open till midnight, and there is nothing that irritates me more then when someone starts to check out at 12:05 with their 2 overflowing carts of groceries, and a stack full of coupons. I don’t have a problem with coupons, geez I use them myself all the time, just be aware of when the store closes, and how long your transaction is going to take!!!

  • Grammy Darlene says:

    Unfortunately I have given up on couponing. I was so excited when I first got started, read every word on this site (still do) and followed every tip and every strategy. And yes I did get many great deals, but rarely the greatest deals everyone was talking about here, and always with a lot of trouble from all the places I tried to use my coupons. First of all I live in northern California not exactly a coupon friendly area…no double coupon days, and always a very small limit on how many coupons you can use and how many you can get with each coupon. And all those special deals that are going on from time to time…nope not here. With that and all the rude unknowledgeable cashiers and managers that make me feel like an idiot is just not worth it to me no matter how much money I could possibly save. I will still use a coupon from time to time when I know it’s a no brainer, but my binder is now collecting cobwebs. More power to all of you that continue to use coupons and save…way to go.

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