Monday, November 23, 2009

My frustration with couponing.

Inconsistent coupon policies.

Today while shopping, I had .55 coupons for Mento's gum. The gum was priced .99 so my Q's would have made my gum free. SCORE! BUT, I noticed the coupons didn't double. I know they had barcodes that started with a 5, which means they would automatically double when scanned, however they also had the words, DO NOT DOUBLE across the top. In the past, I have used coupons that said 'do not double,' but they still doubled them with no problem since the barcode did not prevent the computer from doubling. I also know that others have bought this very same gum this week and got it for free.

My guess is that the store decided not to double THIS Q. Which would be fine if they had it in their policy that they do not double coupons that cause overage...or that they will only double up to free...but that's not the case.

I stopped at customer service and asked why this didn't double today and she said they NEVER double coupons that say DO NOT DOUBLE. I guess what burned me up was that she gave an answer that I KNOW is not true! IF that is TRULY their policy, then the cashiers need to be a LOT more diligent to stop Q's from doubling when they shouldn't. I have been shopping many times in their store and my Q's always double.

So, here's my question(s): Who's pocket does the double come out of? Does the manufacturer reimburse the store 2x? Or do the stores 'eat' the 2nd amount as a loss leader, or way to drive business to their stores? If the STORES double as an incentive to bring in customers, then why does the manufacturer CARE if they double a Q or not? In essence, why print a coupon with a barcode that will double and then print DO NOT DOUBLE on the same coupon?! It's a mixed message!! Both to the savvy couponer and the stores who waffle from day to day on how to process those Q's.

I hope I didn't ruin it for the rest of you locals when I told her that their cashiers DO double Q's that are marked DO NOT DOUBLE and if that is their policy, they need to be more consistent. If not, they need to let couponers reap the benefits of being savvy shoppers. /end rant/

Other shoppers who hoard.

Listen. I know you love savings. I do too. Since you are shopping alone, I don't know if you are shopping for a family of 6 (like I am) or an empty nest. I do know sometimes the temptation is to overbuy and 'donate' to a local charity. The 'high' off the saving can be pretty compelling!!

I just ask that you be judicious in your choices. When you push your buggy past mine with 30 shave gels in it because they are free when you stack Q's the right way, you are not being philanthropic, you are being greedy. Pure and simple.

While matching the sales to the coupons, finding that our local area doesn't have the Q's for the products.

I'll be honest, I wouldn't know a 'good price' on a lot of items at the grocery store if they hit me between the eyes. My shopping strategy for many years has been to make a run in, throw whatever suited my fancy into the cart, and get out. When we ran out of money before we ran out of month, I knew something needed to change. I started subscribing to menu planning services so that my menu and my list would be planned at once, but that doesn't always work. the list is helpful , but I was still overspending since I was purchasing groceries at a premium price.

I learned about couponing, but was slow to warm to it. Eventually though, the saving won me over. However, I still don't have a price book. I rely on sites that do the matching for me. My frustration is that often, there will be a great sale that matches with a fantastic coupon and I will go to my stash to find that out local paper doesn't have that Q! I know many people would say that I could just order from coupon clippers or ebay, but here's the rub...that would require me to be organized and disciplined enough to check the blogs at the beginning of the sales cycle to have enough time to order and receive the coupons in the mail. I just don't have that much structure or discipline. Honestly, it drains me to do this at all. It is only when I get the receipt and the end of the day that I feel like it's really worth the effort.

So, I just end up missing those sales items, or paying more for them that the lucky gals who live in the right area.

Couponers, weigh in...I'd love to hear if you have any answers to those question or if you've had similar experiences.


Wifeof1Momof4 said...

I have learned a lot about couponing in the last 4 yrs, but always position myself to learn more. I AM NOT an expert, but can share this with you.
NONE of the stores in my area or my inlaws area in another state, double anything over 50 cents. After all the coupon classes I have taken I have heard that it is not the intention of the stores or the manufacturer to double anything higher than that.

One thing I have learned is to print a copy of the store policy and take it with you when you shop, wherever you shop. Most cashiers don't know all the policies, but when you have a problem and take it to the customer service department, they can't argue with their own policy.
I have two store manager deny coupons until I had them call their own corporate office. The stores in my area limit how many times you can double/triple a coupon in one day and it varies from store to store (even with the same store .. 1 Safeway near my house says this 1 double per day and the other Safeway near church says 4 doubles per day).

As far as purchasing a lot of things I try to limit to what my family WILL use and donate from my closet. Although you never really know how many people some ladies are shopping for ... I have SEVERAL friends who are really shopping for very large families or the seniors @ our church who are unable to get out. I would just hope people would be cordial.

I forget who pays for the doubling & tripling but there is a blog out there that explains the whole thing and when I am back at my computer, I will send you the link where you can read all about how couponing works.

It has been a great way for me to save money and I plan to continue as long as I can.

Phyllis@Aimless Conversation said...

Thanks for the insight! I guess I should clarify that this particular grocery store does double coupons up to .60. The face value of my coupon was not the problem today.

tinabea said...

Ive been trying to coupon the last couple months or so and I'm really, really bad at it. I've got stacks of coupons I haven't gotten around to cutting out and I have forgotten to buy the paper the past 2 Sundays in a row. I also do not have the time or inclination to drive all over creation for deals. If it isn't at one of the stores right here by me then forget it. I really just need someone to do it all for me ;-)

Elizabeth said...


This is Sheilla kiwi.
I just wanted to say thank you very much for that e-mail you sent me. I really appreciate that. :)

Thanks for taking the time to say that!

Do you think she'll write a reply to me?

God Bless,
Sheilla Kiwi

Mrs. T. said...

I really do like the Grocery Game although you pay for it. Pretty inexpensive over the long run though. I purchase what we have run out of as well as stock up when things I USE are at their lowest price. Later I can shop my own pantry, donate to charity (or to my college student). I used to have 2 lists at GG but now just use one ($10 every 8 weeks). The clerk and shoppers behind me are always amazed at how much I save.

Mrs. T. said...

P.S. My neighbor doesn't use coupons and she gives me their paper so I have 2 each week. It never hurts to ask!

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