Walmart, Coupons, and You


If you are a Fan of Moms Need To Know on Facebook, you may have seen an interesting conversation between myself and another reader about Walmart yesterday.  Luckily Kim caught me in just the right mood, when my Snark-O-Matic was primed and ready to go!

Here are a few of her comments (I hope she doesn’t mind):

I despise the Walmart on (edited by Mindi because the exact store doesn’t matter for the purposes of this post). They dont take printable coupons and nobody in the store knows whats going on, not even the managers. Horrific.

THe manager their was a total jerk to me and embarrassed me in the store told me they have to be color coupons and that I photocopied them. I said, “scan them, they will work”, he said I know they will but we wont take them.

Well – Kim happened to be talking about a store fairly close to me and right next to a store that was on my errand list for the day.  Seeing as I was “in a mood”, my first thought was Oh really?  They won’t take Internet Coupons at that store?  We’ll just see about THAT!”.  So, I grabbed some IPs, made sure to print a few in black & white and headed to Walmart.

I’m sorry to say (or happy to say, depending on how you look at it)that my visit was pretty anti-climatic.  Although I purposely picked a cashier who I thought would not be internet-coupon-friendly and she did look at each one closely, not a comment was made about them not accepting IPs.

And yet, when I Twitteredthat I was on my way to Walmart to use coupons, one response was: “Going to Walmart with coupons? Why don’t you just bang your head against the wall and save the gas money?”

Ummm – so yeah….I guess some of you have problems with coupons at Walmart?  There is one reason for this and one reason only (as far as I am concerned)…Walmart cashiers receive little-to–no training when it comes to coupons.  In many cases, it is going to be up to you to educate your cashier.

So how can you make your trip to Walmart more pleasant?

1.   Stay calm and don’t be nervousabout using your valid coupons in the manner in which they are meant to be used.  You are doing nothing wrong and it makes me nuts when I see people say that they were humiliated by the cashier or manager.  Couponing requires a stiff spine, especially at Walmart!

2.  Don’t even think about walking in to Walmart without a copy of the Walmart Coupon Policy in your coupon binder or your purse.  Their policy clearly states that they accept Internet Printable coupons as well as the fact that coupons will be adjusted down if the value of the coupon exceeds the purchase price (the 2 biggest causes of coupon problems at Walmart).  Unlike may grocery store chains, Walmart does not give their managers the power to override the corporate Coupon Policy.  I have had problems at Walmart in the past and most times just showing the cashier the coupon policy was enough to resolve the problem (and in one case, the cashier even asked if she could keep it because she didn’t know they had an official policy…..lovely!)

3.  Know right now that there wasn’t “a memo that came out yesterday” that said that they were no longer going to accept Internet Coupons.  People have been hearing that line for a long time and yet the coupon policy has remained unchanged.  If you hear that line – ask them to show you the memo.  If it “just came out yesterday”, they should be able to find it in about 10 seconds.  Any longer and they are in the back furiously scribbling one out.  Call Shenanigans!

4.  If your cashier still refuses to honor your valid coupons, ask to speak to a manager.  Oftentimes they are far more educated on coupons than the cashiers.

5.  If the manager still won’t abide by the Walmart Coupon Policy, whip out your cell phone (if it is a weekday) and nicely say “Well – let’s clear this up right now.  It’s 1-800-WAL-MART, right?”.  Two things might happen when you do this…either the manager will finally realize that you can’t be pushed around and let your coupons go through…or you will get the pleasure of watching the managers face as corporate tells them to take the coupons. (Note:  if it is a weekend you may have to wait until Monday)

6.  If all your attempts fail, calmly ask them to take the items off your bill(unless it is an item that you absolutely need to have that day or the next).  Yes – it is going to annoy the cashier by creating work for them….but the extra work that they have is because they aren’t abiding by the Walmart Coupon Policy.  This falls squarely in the area of “Not My Problem”.

7.  Lastly – keep your cool.  Don’t threaten to never shop there again unless you truly intend to never step foot in that store again (which is not an option for many people).  The minute you turn in to “Screaming Crazy Person”, any credibility you had is gone!

What are your tips for shopping at Walmart?


  1. Corinne says

    I am sorry that you guys have been having such problems with Walmart! I never have had a problem with internet coupons at my Walmart – thank god! But if I ever do I will definetly use the the line….lets call them..1-800-wal-mart??LOL

  2. Laura says

    I have never had a problem with coupons at my Walmart, but a friend of mine has. I printed out the coupon policy from their website, highlighted ‘internet coupons’ and told her to keep it in her purse!

  3. says

    I have never really had any big problems at Walmart with coupons. Far less problems then say at Target, but I think anywhere is easier then Target. The most recent problem that I have had is I will have 2 items that are identical and 1 coupon each for them. Two times when the 2nd coupon has been scanned it has spit out a piece of paper from the register saying I didn’t buy the product. As soon as I told the cashier I did have it and they checked the receipt tape to make sure they took it manually. Another problem that I have had with cashiers is that sometimes they won’t let you use a coupon for the item you are paying for when you use a b1g1 coupon. The registers don’t like those. One NICE thing about Walmart is if you are buying enough stuff where you won’t get overage the registers will let you get the full coupon amount. It pops up on the screen when they scan it asking if it is the correct amount. Say the item was .97 and your q is for $1. It will show on the screen coupon amt correct? $1.00 and the cashier can hit enter and it will take off $1 or they can type in the amount that the item is. I haven’t had a cashier yet that has wanted to go back and check what the price of my items have been so they just hit enter.

    One new thing about their policy now that they accept competitors coupons. They used to take any coupons as long as the said mfr q somewhere on them and they would take them manually. The last time I used a couple of Publix qs they told me that from now on competitors qs need to be handed to them at the beginning because instead of scanning them as a q they are adjusting the price as if it was a price match for a shopping ad. I actually think this way may make it possible for us to stack mfr and store qs now.

    I will pick Walmart over Target any day of the wk for being easy w/qs. I haven’t stepped into a Target in almost 2mons because of my last experience there.

  4. Michelle Street says

    As most of you I also HATE, DESPISE, DETEST Wal Mart. They never have what I find others say they got for free or cheap and if they do then my store is always higher.

    Well today I bit the bullet & went there with my list & coupons some of the items they did not have (surprise) and some were higher but anyway all in all I did ok. My subtotal before coupons was $50.00 after coupons my subtotal was $9.00. Not too bad for a Wal Mart trip. I wanted the Bic Solie razors that were $1.97 but of course my store didn’t have them.

  5. Gail K. says

    From my Facebook page dated September 15, 2009:

    Me: Let’s all go to Wal-Mart where the SUPERVISOR has to ask the CASHIER who called them over – because they need a supervisor override code – how to enter in the coupon that won’t scan properly. grrrrrrrrr!

    Friend T: Buy American don’t go to Wal Mart

    Friend A: Would you except anymore from Wal-Mart? 😉

    Me: I know, I know – but they were the only one that had this product that I had the coupon for. Was it worth the aggravation? Probably not. (I am adding here: I had several coupons that day and the scanner would not take them.)

  6. Caroline says

    Hilarious! And great suggestions too. :) I am also on the despise Walmart bandwagon after my last 2 experiences there (both of which included contacting the corporate office) and while your suggestions are right-on, what I don’t have is the TIME it takes to go through all that EVERY time I go to Walmart! There is no such thing as a quick trip into my local Walmart…sigh…

  7. Debbie says

    I have only had one problem, ever, in the 12 years since our local WalMart was built. Guess I should count my blessings! :o)Truthfully, Target has been more of a challenge for me.

    I read through the comments, and yes, I too have noticed that some of the great deals I see posted on some blogs are not at my WalMart. But, I have never made a special trip to get them, so really not a problem. Perhaps some of the items blogged about as being clearanced are ones that the store manager has some discresion on. I have noted, for instance, that the two CVS stores that are about 2 miles apart in my area do not always have the same goods clearanced. So maybe it’s the same way with WalMart.

  8. says

    I agree with all your suggestions, but I don’t think any of them would’ve helped me with the cashier (and the manager who backed her up) who insisted the $1/1 coupon on “any Tide” would absolutely not be accepted for the 97-cent travel size because that’s not what was in the photo on the coupon. I pointed out repeatedly that the words said “ANY” with no exclusions at all, and they both said, “nope, the picture shows a bottle.” So then what? I said fine and left and haven’t tried again even with a different cashier. If you have a suggestion on how to counter the “it’s not what’s in the photo” argument (which also isn’t really addressed in the policy because the policy is for people who read), i’d love to hear it :)

    • Mindi Cherry says

      Well- the $1/$.97 issue is covered in the “will adjust the coupon down” part.

      As for the picture…right now I’m looking at a $1/5 coupon for any Del Monte Tomato, Vegetable, Fruit or Fruit Cup Snack. Pictured is 5 cans: peaches, diced tomatoes, corn, green beans and pear halves.

      Does that mean I can’t use the coupon for lima beans, sliced pears or even the fruit cup snacks (which aren’t pictured)?

      Or right now I am looking at a coupon for Huggies Overnights and you can clearly see that the pictured package is a Size 3. Does that mean I can’t use it on Size 4?

      Or – the Tide coupon probably has the “normal” size pictured. Does that mean that I can’t use it on the larger sizes?

      Between the 3 of those arguments, you should be able to convince them 😉

  9. IHateWalmart says

    Oh boy, don’t get me started on Walmart! There are 4 Walmarts within 20 minutes of my house and at every one I find that since they don’t double coupons, it’s usually cheaper for me to buy my toiletries, paper goods, etc at the grocery store or Target. The last time I was at Walmart, I had the cashier first refuse to take my coupon because I wasn’t buying the exact item pictured on the coupon, and then she refused a coupon I had multiples of because it said in the fine print (as do all coupons) ONE COUPON PER ITEM…I had 4 coupons and 4 items, but she would only let me use one and the manager backed her up on this! So, there was a very long line behind me and I said, that’s fine, just back three of them off my order and you can ring them each up separately. Needless to say, the cashier and manager (and the 5 people waiting behind me) were not happy, but they couldn’t say no. That was about 6 months ago, and I may never shop in a Walmart again.

  10. Debbie says

    One thing I almost always do at Wal mart is use the self check lane-maybe that works better instead of dealing with a poorly trained cashier?

    I mentioned my “one” incident above. Remember last year’s great Kraft coupons? One of them was something like….”buy any 3 Kraft products and get….” Well, I had three boxes of Jello. The cashier said I couldn’t use the coupon because I had Jello, not Kraft. I patiently explained that Jello was a Kraft product. I should her the Kraft name on the box. She looked at the coupon, then the boxes of Jello, and said…”but these are Jello, and you need to buy Kraft products” It was sad, just sad…..

    • Mindi Cherry says

      the Kraft/Jello thing was fun last summmer…I was using them with the $.12 Kool-Aid packets (which also state that they are a Kraft product) at my supermarket. I got a lot of “I don’t think that’s what they meant by ANY Kraft product” with those, but no cashier refused to put them through.

      I miss all those free hot dogs, cheese, crystal light, etc 😉

    • Mindi Cherry says

      glad you love Walmart.

      I deleted your 1st comment as it was nothing more than name-calling. Disagreement is fine…telling people to insert coupons in their anal orifice is not.

      However, I will agree with one thing that you wrote in that comment: I am also sure that many people would love to have the job of walmart cashier (or ANY job) in this economy. It is just a pity that Walmart doesn’t see fit to train them properly when it comes to coupons

  11. cantwealljustgetalong says

    ok i get your deleting my comment. it was uncalled for and immature. please accept my apology. everyone is entitled to their likes and dislikes, who am i to act like a 2 year old? ok so i will say that i agree with you that walmart does not train their cashiers properly when it comes to coupons. the first i heard of a coupon policy was from your site. don’t get me wrong I love coupons, but i also feel for the cashiers too. well atleast some of them. hopefully one day all the coupon issues will be resolved. and hopefully one day they will have double, triple coupon days at stores in hawaii.

  12. says

    Oh, I completely agree about the photo argument, and in fact with the Tide example I listed above, I even tried “so I can’t use this coupon with a box of Tide powder either?” and they said that wasn’t the same thing. Whatever. It’s almost laughable now, in retrospect. However at that time it was a battle I just didn’t feel like waging any further :) The real problem is that the computer, which had accepted my other coupons just fine, beeped at that one. I think the beeping gives some cashiers (not all, just some) a reason to *look* for a problem. Others just don’t care and push it through. I picked the wrong cashier (in fact, I didn’t pick her at all – I was in a different line with someone who looked more amiable, but this other cashier opened her lane and specifically called me over…). Meanwhile, I agree that if every experience there were horrible, I wouldn’t go at all, but Walmart has some things I can’t get anywhere else. Target’s been a much more humiliating experience in terms of coupons, cashiers, and managers, and I don’t need most of what they have there (except prescriptions from the pharmacy), so I’ve just stopped going.

  13. Diane says

    Last night I went to the KOP Walmart and realized after I paid that two of my $4.00 Glade coupons were not taken off. I went straight to Customer Service and the person had to go to the cashier and get her bag of coupons.
    We went through them and I picked out all the coupons for my entire order. She said the reason the two Glade ones didn’t go trough were because in the VERY tiny print it says one per purchase. She said they have been doing more training with their cashiers and that his person was going to have additional training on reading each coupons.
    Fortunately she did make the adjustment for me.

    Like others, I agree that it’s almost a hassle to use coupons some days. But it saves my family a lot of money and I never apologize to those in line behind me for using coupons. It is is my right as a consumer. If they don’t like it, they can go wait in another line. I’ve been behind someone with a stack of coupons before and I think “Good for them!”.

  14. Gail says

    September 24, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Permalink | Reply One thing I almost always do at Wal mart is use the self check lane-maybe that works better instead of dealing with a poorly trained cashier?

    The example I posted above about the supervisor asking the cashier who called her over for assisance was at the self check lane. It would not recognize that I had purchased 4 Glade candles: 2 2 oz and 2 4 oz. I had 2 coupons for Free 2 oz candles and $3.00 off the purchase of 2 candles. So I was going to end up paying $3 for 4 candles. The machine was stroking out. Then it decided it didn’t want to accept any of my coupons. Just a big old mess.

  15. Steph says

    I don’t have a lot of coupon issues at Walmart. Usually if there is a problem like with the Tide coupon they put it thru. Once they wouldn’t take the ip because my dd schoolwork was on the back (just like there is always print on the back of insert coupons, hello).

  16. melissa says

    Thanks so much for posting the coupon policy. I got that “we don’t accept internet coupons” line during black friday last year and since I didn’t know any better I accepted the lie. Not anymore, TYVM. I printed out 2 copies of the policy so I have them ready to go if needed.