(note: after 18 years of me telling my husband that the Beastie Boys are vile, disgusting, talentless hacks, I sure hope he never sees that I used one of their lines as a title!)
I had another title for this post…it was going to be “Confidence is Key” (I like alliteration), but then I came home from errands to Brad with the iPod cranked up and I can't get that song out of my head. So there you go!
One thing I have seen quite a bit is bloggers, or their commenters, or people on message boards upset because their coupons were denied. In the time I have been couponing, I have had exactly TWO experiences where I walked out of the store “losing the fight”…..but even those I later “won” after complaining to corporate and getting a phone call from the store manager with an apology and an offer of a gift card. Thanks to the frugal blogosphere (and what my mother calls my “genetic Mid-western stubborn streak”) I walk in to every store with a laundry list of counter-attacks to the cashier or manager who freaks out when the register beeps, or doesn't understand that the word “any” means “any, even trial size”.
So here is a list of those counter-attacks, in the hopes that it will help you stand your ground and make them accept your coupon (with the obvious exception of some stores who just do NOT accept IPs, such as RiteAid and SuperFresh)
Scenario #1: you have 4 bottles of identical shampoo and 4 identical coupons for that shampoo. The register hasn't beeped, the cashier has just decided upon seeing identical coupons that you can't use them. The cashier tells you that she can only take one because it is “one per purchase”
You: I only have 1 per purchase
Cashier: no – you have 4!
You: No this (holding up one bottle) is a purchase. And this (arms extended to encompass everything you are buying) is a transaction. (note: this is usually enough to make your point, but sometimes they get stubborn)
Cashier: I don't care. You can only have 1 per purchase…or transaction…whatever!
You: ok – then please take the other 3 off my bill and I will pay for each one of them separately in 3 separate transactions (99% of the time, they will just take the coupon. However, if you need all 4 items in the same transaction to get a store incentive such as a Catalina, ask to see the manager and they will explain the purchase/transaction difference to the cashier)
Scenario #2: Armed with your coupons that don't specifically exclude trial sizes, you are shopping in the trial-size section of your store in order to get a whole bunch of free items (my favorite for this is the $1 Gillette shaving cream and the $1 Rolaids coupons!). The cashier tells you that you can't use them on trial sizes:
You: of course I can use them…it says “$1 off any size”. If the manufacturer wanted to exclude trial sizes, they would say it on the coupon (and this is a good time to pull out a coupon that you have that DOES say “excludes trial sizes” to show them the difference. Once again, this should be enough to make your point)
Cashier: but you can't use it on trial sizes! you just can't.
You: Please read the coupon out loud
Cashier: Save $1 on any size Rolaids
You: Now if you can show me which size Rolaids in this store is labeled “any”, then you might have a point. But since there is no product in this store that is labeled as “any size, then “any size” means “any of the sizes”.
Scenario #3: The cashier who won't let you combine a B1G1 coupon with, for example, a $2/1 coupon. The example I can give is recently when I had a B1G1 for Stayfree and a $2/1 Stayfree. The cashier told me that I couldn't use both because that would be “too many coupons”
You: I am using $2 coupon on this item (place the coupon on top of the item). And since I am buying that item, I get to use this B1G1 coupon to get this item (place the B1G1 coupon on top of the one that is supposed to be free) free. The B1G1 coupon if for the free item and the $2 coupon is for the one I am paying for.
Scenario #4: you've been couponing for a few months and the cashiers are starting to notice you (how could they not when you are paying $7.53 for a cartload of groceries). Perhaps it is jealousy on the part of the cashiers, perhaps it is a failure on their part to fully understand that stores do NOT lose money when you use a manufacturers coupon….but snide remarks are being made. Perhaps a hint that they are “watching you”? Perhaps a comment on how they “can't allow you to get all this stuff for free”? That's where the greatest comeback that I have EVER seen (I wish I remember who said it so I could give them proper credit….it was on a message board) comes in”
You: Are you telling me that ThisStore has a problem with people who are trying to save money? Are you only interested in the customers who aren't smart enough to combine the best sales with the best legitimately obtained coupons?
(oh – how I can't wait to use this line!)
Do you have any other scenarios that you need help with?