Guest Post from Mavourneen WUC moderator who blogs at Eve Was Partially Right.
Anyone who has presented a fistful of coupons knows the satisfaction of receiving significant savings…but let’s face it. Not every transaction goes as smoothly as we’d imagine.
1. Know the store policy – This is the most important step to successful couponing. Most national stores such as Walmart, Rite Aid, Target, and CVS have coupon policies. Nearly all grocery stores have coupon policies as well. You can find these policies in 2 places: on that company’s website, or in the specific forum’s “sticky” area at the beginning of each forum. Many grocery store chains have individual store policies to compete with local competition. Go to the actual store you shop at and ask for their coupon policy. If they do not have it written, take the time to write it down while you are at the customer service desk. After you write it, note who you spoke to, their title and date. Get the policy directly from a manager, if they don’t have it written.
2. Print and carry the store policies in your binder, box, or envelope - If you need it you can show to the cashier, it will be handy, and will show the cashier why you believe what you are presenting is correcting.
3. Know how your coupon is meant to be used –Learn coupon terminology. Make sure you understand the coupon. If you don’t understand what exactly a coupon is for, ask here on the forums.
4. Use your coupon the way it was meant to be used – Using coupons in a manner that is not in the spirit of what the promoting company meant is coupon fraud. You are taking money from the company. The end result could mean an end to companies issuing coupons. We all lose in this scenario.
If you are honest, you will have a clear conscience about your coupon practices. If you are honest, you should never feel bad, no matter what the situation is.
5. Stick to reasonable limits - If you try to use 40 of the same coupon, you may have trouble. Even though you are using the coupon as it is meant to be, most stores have policies on how many you can use in a transaction. This is something that may cause a cashier to immediately red flag you.
6. Take the time to be friendly with your cashiers. Some people believe that “flying under the radar” is the only way to coupon successfully. Be friendly and wear a smile. If a coupon is giving the cashier a problem, I try to help them figure it out. Also, share the wealth with the cashiers. Most of them are curious as to how you are able to do transactions like these. Mention WUC.
7. Know when to say NO thanks. – Sometimes the deal just isn’t worth it.
If you have an angry cashier or manager, keep your cool. There will always be another deal, another store and another cashier. If the situation has escalated to hostile, say no thanks and leave the store. A store cashier should never make you upset or cry.
If you are to that point, you can simply say you’ve decided not to make the purchase. Don’t threaten the cashier with phone calls to corporate or reporting them to a manager. Remain calm and follow up with managers and corporate once you leave the store. If you believe you are in the right, note the date, time, cashier’s name ( or physical description if they have no name tag ), register # if you know it, and the name of the general manager or any managers you spoke with. All of this information is vital to presenting a case to Corporate.
Saying “The cashier at CVS was mean to me” is a lot less impactful than saying “On September 10th at 11 am, cashier Mary J on register 3 said X, and then manager John D said Y.”
Know the store’s policy, know the coupon, smile, and know when to walk away from the deal.