Welcome to Readers Want to Know! These are your questions answered from the emails that I receive and responses to surveys that I periodically post. For more answers, make sure you check out my Coupon 101 posts which will also include other “Readers Want To Know” posts! Still have questions? Any other questions? Use this form to ask them!
swimchick037 (and a few others) asked:
What to say/do when the cashier rejects your coupon when you know it should be accepted?
That’s a great question and one that I covered in my “When Things Go Wrong” post…but let’s dig a little deeper. I will be focusing on printables, because those are the coupons that seem to give all of us the most trouble:
1. Remain calm and TRY to keep a smile on your face. The old adage that you get more flies with honey than vinegar remains true. Don’t take it personally. This is a business transaction!
2. Do a quick little “mental double check” of which store you are in and their specific coupon policy. If you shop at several different stores, it is easy to get the individual stores and their coupon policy mixed up. Are you at Rite Aid and trying to use the (quite legitimate) $6/2 Benefiber printable coupon? Well – Rite Aid doesn’t accept printables for over $5 (per their coupon policy). Is it a Buy One Get Free Coupon? My experience is that, due to rampant coupon fraud, about half of the stores nationwide have stopped accepting printable coupons that have the word “Free” on them, even when it requires an additional purchase.
3. If the cashier is telling you “we don’t accept Internet Printables”, show them a copy of their coupon policy that you have printed from their site (note: I am working on another post about various coupon policies…will update this post with a link as soon as the post goes live). Not all stores post their coupon policy online. If you are having consistent problems with a store, you might want to go to their website, use the “Contact” form and request clarification of their policy!
4. Ask the cashier for specifics as to why she is not accepting your coupon. Is it because you printed it in black & white? She might be concerned that it is photocopied (as we discussed, this is ALL kinds of WRONG). Many printables now state specifically that the coupon may be printed in B&W or color. Is it because the coupon won’t scan? Many store policies now state that the coupon MUST scan in order for them to be accepted. In a case like this, there is nothing you can do (except run a print alignment function for your printer to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, although the manufacturer also simply could have coded it wrong). If she just doesn’t seem to want to accept it or refuses to even scan it? Ask to speak to a manager.
5. You’ve got the manager in front of you…now what? In 8 times out of 10, I have found that store managers (not “leads”…you want a guy in a shirt & a tie or a woman in dressier clothes than the cashier. Most managers are NOT required to wear a vest of some sort over their “regular clothes”…except where my husband works, but that isn’t a grocery store) are WAY more informed about how to spot a legitimate coupon and they simply insert their key and push the coupon through (or tell the cashier that it is ok). When this happens, please try not to gloat too much in front of the cashier. Unless she is a bona fide “couponer hater” (there are a few at EVERY store in the country), she was probably just trying to protect her job. She accepts fraudulent coupons? She gets in trouble!
5a. There will be times when the manager comes over and STILL refuses to accept your legitimate coupon. It’s ok. Don’t lose your cool. You can live to coupon another day. Simply smile and say “that’s fine. Please remove these items from my order, I won’t be buying them today”. When you are in the store and dealing with the manager-on-duty…that is really the most you can do at that moment.
Keep your smile (and your cool) until you finish your transaction and get to your car. THEN you can feel free to shout every expletive in the book.
Once you have calmed down, consider calling to corporate office to let them know what happened.
In all cases, always think about if this is the “hill you want to die on”.
If we are talking about a single $0.50 coupon and you are shopping on a Saturday afternoon and there is a line 6 deep behind you, it might be worth it to just skip to step 5a, ask them to take the item off your order and move on.
Because believe me….if you hold up their line on the busiest day of the week over a matter of $0.50…they WILL remember you next time, and not in a good way. I know that may not seem fair (especially if you were in the right), but it is reality.