Couponing Etiquette Series: Scenario #2 Coupon refusal or Store policy non-compliance

Scenario #2:

Coupon refusal or Store policy non-compliance

Janet was doing her normal, weekly couponing at her local drugstore.  This particular week there was a great sale on contact cleaner that would give her a $7 register reward.  She didn’t have a coupon in her binder, so she scrounged the internet and found one for $2.00 off the item on a reputable website. She was so excited to try this deal as it would, not only be a money maker for her this week, but it would help her purchase the her next transaction at no out-of-pocket cost to her!  She approached the register with her items and coupons only to discover that her coupon for the contact cleaner wasn’t scanning.  She needed this deal to make the rest of her transactions work so she asked the cashier to scan it again, still to no avail.  Frustrated Janet asked if she could enter the coupon manually, and still it wouldn’t go through.  Janet asked to see the coupon and checked it to be sure that she was purchasing the correct size and item. The cashier tried again, still getting an angry beep from the register.  She apologized to Janet, who was near tears, thinking she had done something wrong.  Janet told the cashier that she wasn’t planning on coming back to the store and headed to the door, leaving her items behind.

Having your coupons refused or your ethics questioned is very frustrating, especially when you have worked very hard to abide by the rules and make a good deal happen.  I have never liked being in this situation, but here are some tips if you ever find yourself in Janet’s shoes.

  • Stay calm, and don’t lose your cool.  Stomping off or throwing a tantrum like a two year old, doesn’t help anyone.  As I tell my son: Stop and think … don’t throw fits … think of something nice to say. Politely request that the cashier try again and maybe ask if a manager could try or offer a reason as to why the coupon isn’t scanning.  (A lot of times, managers will override the coupon manually and the problem is solved.  It never hurts to ask!)
  • Remember that there are people who participate in coupon fraud out there and they, unfortunately, make the rest of us who do it right look bad.  The store is just trying to make sure that they are getting properly reimbursed by the manufacturer for the money that you are saving.  Try not to take it personal!
  • Double check the size, quantity, expiration date, and correct wording of a coupon.  Sometimes the coupon will state the select items that the coupon entails or maybe it says, excludes trial size.  I always try to read the fine print to make sure that I am properly executing a couponing transaction. 
  • Did you remember to refill your printer ink?  Sometimes if the ink is low, a register can’t read the barcode properly.  Usually this problem can be solved by having the cashier manually enter the coupon’s number, but sometimes not. 
  • Is the coupon a PDF?  Always make sure that if it’s a PDF coupon that it is coming from a reputable site, such as, the manufacturer’s website.
  • Does the coupon have one bar code or two?  Some coupons have two bar codes now to help prevent fraud.  Most stores have updated their systems to accept these new coupons, but some still haven’t.  These are valid coupons and the store should still take them even if they are not scanning. 
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the store’s coupon policy.  In my coupon binder, I have copies of my most frequented store’s coupon policies.  That way if I run into any issues or discrepancies, I can read it over along with the manager or customer service representative to see what the rules are.  (If a particular store is not holding to their store policy, then it is time to notify corporate about it.  Most stores have a contact number for their corporate office on their website.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself!)

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