Sunday, April 5, 2009

Couponing Etiquette

First and foremost, if you have several orders, and the person that gets in line behind you only has a couple things, let them go first.  It's not nice to hold up a line if you can help it.  Especially when you know you're going to be standing there for a while.

Make friends with your cashier.  Most cashiers despise handfuls of coupons.  I was a cashier once.  I can sympathize.  It's a pain.  However, if you usually shop at the same time of day, you can usually get the same cashier.  My Walgreens cashier knows me so well, I sometimes lose track of my coupons because I'm busy talking.  But at least she's more than happy to take the time to deal with me and doesn't make a big deal out of it.  I've given her tips too, and sometimes she'll even set aside things she knows I will be in for.

Some cashiers are just going to flat out be rude to you.  Or if not rude, then they try to analyze the coupons to a stupid level in order to make life hard for you.  My response to them is to always make their life harder.  Key point, don't falter.  Be prepared with what to say.  If the cashier points out that a certain coupon is only allowed once per order (sometimes happens, but no one really cares, only the cashiers trying to be pains) then I don't hesitate in the least and respond with, "ok, then let's void the items and put them through as separate orders."  I always say it perfectly friendly and like it doesn't bother me in the least.  It's a pain if they make me do it that way, but I would rather save the money than not, and I'm not going to argue about it.  Another one that I've run into is "the coupon says only one per customer."  Meaning that they intend to not let me separate out my orders.  Again, my response flows friendly and automatic, "ok, then let's take off and put back all but one of the items."  Yes, they can make you do it.  Traditionally they don't.  It's more work for them.  And that's the reason they don't want to mess with the coupons.  If you're turning it into more work by pointing out that you're going to get your deal regardless, then they usually want to take the easiest route.

Another thing I've run up against at a CVS (they are definitely not my favorite) is that a coupon wouldn't scan on an item I had bought.  The cashier told me that the coupon was meant for a different size.  However the coupon did not specify.  I told her it didn't specify and asked if she couldn't just override it.  Nope, she said.  Without hesitation, I asked to talk to a manager.  She walked away to go get one.  In this particular instance, the manager told her to override it and put it through without even coming out.  However, if he was going to come out and try to argue with me, I had no intentions of arguing.  My response would have just been, "ok, I'll wait here while you check with corporate."

So point is, don't be an ass with other customers.  Most likely, they don't know the couponing game and deserve to get through the line more quickly.  I wouldn't let someone with a huge order in front of me like that.  But if they're an in and out order, I just don't feel good making them wait.  If it's the cashiers that are trying to give you a hard time, then fight back.  Most often we know the rules better than they do, so make them be the ones to fight to refuse your coupons rather than the other way around.  Let them get grouchy.  If your treatment makes you angry enough, take note of the persons name and call corporate to file a complaint.  

One other very annoying problem that I have is other shoppers making fun of me.  It can't be avoided.  If you have a cart filled with aluminum foil, soap and pads, and one gallon of milk, it looks odd.  Some people can't help themselves but to say something.  I usually just smile and tell them, when it's free I get what I can.  Which usually confuses them enough to leave you alone.  Or makes them curious enough to ask questions.  Since I do my blog, I usually do take the time to explain and give them my card.  If you don't care to take the time for it, just tell them coupons, and leave it at that.  Yes, they'll think you're crazy.  Who cares?  The important point is that you are getting the best deals for your family.

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