Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Coupon Ethics & Attitudes

I had quite a trip to Kroger and Publix tonight.  I can't stand shopping in the early evening but it's when I could go this time around so I went.  I'm an early morning, get in there before or around 7am kind of grocery shopper.  I know, not for everyone, but that is my favorite time to be in the grocery store.  The shelf stockers are there and they, nearly every single one of them, greet you with a big smile and a warm hello!  Anyway, I digress already.

When I was checking out at Publix on Hwy. 96 in Warner Robins the only coupon I had with me was one of the $3/$15 from Rite Aid.  That Publix no longer considers Rite Aid to be a competitor so they will not be accepting those coupons anymore.  I handed the cashier my lonely coupon and she handed it back to me with that explanation.  I thanked her for letting me know and continued my transaction with a smile on my face.  She apologized for the change in the coupon policy so I gave her a big smile and said, "Don't worry about it.  Publix still has one of the best coupon policies out of all the grocery stores."  The look of surprise on her face caught me off guard but her comment gave me the warm fuzzies AND saddness.  She said, "You are the most laid back, easy going lady with coupons that I've met."  Now, that is a credit to Jesus who lives in me but it was sad commentary on the other couponing folks out there that she has met.

I know that those of out there who use coupons seriously, take every last penny that we spend VERY seriously, HOWEVER there isn't a coupon out there that is worth being ugly to anyone about.  No matter what coupon situation you find yourself in there is a polite and considerate way to handle it.  I look at it this way:
1)  the store has the right to refuse to accept coupons at any time and from anyone
2)  in order for the stores I shop at to continue to accept coupons I will be a polite and cheerful ambassador with my coupons
3)  $3 or $1 or $.50 of savings isn't worth losing my cool over or hurting someone else's feelings with insults or hollering

So, to those of you who read this blog I am asking you to pass the word on to your coupon buddies; be polite and courteous when you shop with your coupons!  If you run into a BIG issue with coupons and the management won't help resolve it then cancel your transaction and leave the store with the intention of not shopping there again.  Being polite and courteous will get you further in those sticky coupon situations than being ugly to someone.

I have been in the situation where a cashier just didn't understand how the coupon worked or if it applied in a particular situation.  I was patient and showed the cashier the product it went with and the wording on the coupon that showed I was allowed to use it.  I have found that if your first response is kind and patient that cashiers are more willing to put coupons through the system, even if they are questionable to the cashier!

A few other things to take note of as you coupon:
1)  Expired coupons WILL scan, the ladies at said it well when she said, "I don't allow the cash register to be my conscience."  Just because an expired coupon will scan doesn't mean we should use it.
2)  It's YOUR responsibility to read the fine print on the coupon and use it only on the product(s) it is intended to be used on
Let's stop here for a second and talk about why these are important things to remember as we use our coupons.  With the first item, expired coupons, even though the cash register will accept them, the store will not be reimbursed for them so using them is almost the same as ripping off the store.  You see, the grocery stores are reimbursed the face value plus $.08 for each coupon by the manufacturer of the product.  However, the coupon has to be unexpired in order for them to be reimbursed.  Also, if a coupon is for a particular size of a particular product and the store sells 50 of that correct product but has 60 coupons, they will only be reimbursed for the 50.  This is why it is our responsibility to really look at the coupons in our hands to make sure that everything is on the up-and-up.  A cashier doesn't have the time to carefully look over every single coupon!

So, my fellow coupon friends, lets keep the coupons coming and help to keep the stores accepting them.  Let's do our part to make sure we are using current and correct coupons.  Let's also be courteous and polite to the folks we deal with as we use our coupons so they look forward to us coming in instead of dreading it!

You guys are great!

Standing on His promises,
Mrs. Bubba

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