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The Target Gift Card Glitch

I finally got out and did a little discovery on the Target Gift Card Glitch I’ve been hearing about.  I’ll share with you now all I know; the big question mark for me is this:  Is this truly a glitch that will be fixed?  Or is this permanent?  I hope it’s the former!

HUGE thanks to Totally Target for her excellent report that made it easy to get my head wrapped around this thing before I went and tried it out!

  • The Gift Card Glitch does NOT effect any coupon use if you’re not doing a gift card deal.
  • The Gift Card Glitch does NOT effect the usage of Target store coupons.  It only effects how you use manufacturer coupons. BUT, USE YOUR TARGET COUPONS LAST so they don’t being your total down even further before you try using manufacturer coupons.
  • The Gift Card Glitch does NOT care about the number of items purchased vs number of coupons.  It’s all about the value of products purchased vs value of coupons.

Here’s what it does effect:

  • For every $5 Gift Card deal, the Target register automatically applies a $10 manufacturer discount in the register.  If you do two $5 Gift Card deals, the register applies a $20 manufacturer discount (twice the Gift Card’s value) and so on.
  • When your

Total Spent (before coupons)
- $10 automatic manufacturer discount (or twice the value of your gift card deal)
- $any value in real manufacturer coupons
. . . falls below zero, you’ll encounter the glitch.

  • You must PRETEND that the cashier has already taken a $10 manufacturer coupon from you for every $5 gift card deal you’re purchasing.  If your total falls below zero, your manufacturer coupons will no-longer scan.
  • The ONLY work around is if your store manually enters the manufacturer coupons as store coupons; most stores will NOT.

Here are some examples of the glitch:

(1) Here’s an example of what will NOT work:

Buy 2 selected Schick Razors or Cartridges, Receive $5 Target Gift Card

Buy 2 Shick Hydro 5 $7.49 (total $14.98)
MINUS $10.00 Gift Card Glitch (total $4.98)
Use first $4.00/1 Schick Hydro 5 Razor from SS 10/3 (will scan fine: total $0.98)
Use second $4.00/1 Schick Hydro 5 Razor from SS 10/3 (will only deduct $0.98, since I’m going $3.02 below zero)

In order to do the gift card deal on razors this week, you’ll need to purchase $3.02 in other products for every two razors you buy.

Buy 2 Buy 2 Shick Hydro 5 $7.49
Buy other products, at least $3.02
(total $18.00)
MINUS $10.00 Gift Card Glitch (total $8.00)
Use 2 $4.00/1 Schick Hydro 5 Razor from SS 10/3 (total $0.00)
Pay: $10.00, Receive $5 Gift Card
Final Price: $0.99 each, when you buy 2 (plus $3.02 of other products)

(2) Here’s another example of what will NOT work on the Curel deal:

Buy 2 Selected Curel Skin Care Items, Receive $5 Target Gift Card (through Dec 18th)

Buy 2 Curel Ultra Healing Lotion, 6 oz $3.79 (total $7.58)
MINUS $10.00 Gift Card Glitch (total -$2.42)
And use two $1.00/1 Curel lotion, 3.5 oz or larger – (curel.com) (register will not accept these coupons)
Use two $1.00/1 – Curel Lotion, Excludes Trial Size, Target Coupon – (target.com) (register WILL accept these)

In order to use the two $1.00 off printable manufacturer coupons, you must purchase an additional $4.42 in product.

Buy 2 Curel Ultra Healing Lotion, 6 oz $3.79 (total $7.58)
Buy other products, at least $4.42 (total $12.00)
MINUS $10.00 Gift Card Glitch (total $2.00)
And use two $1.00/1 Curel lotion, 3.5 oz or larger – (curel.com) (total $0.00)
Use two $1.00/1 – Curel Lotion, Excludes Trial Size, Target Coupon – (target.com) (register WILL accept these)
Pay: $8.00, Receive $5 Target Gift Card
Final Price: $3.00 (plus for 2 Curels and $4.42 worth of other merchandise)

(3) One last example for those of you who may be price matching the Glade (using Safeway ad) at Target.

Buy 5 Glade Holiday Items, Receive $5 Target Gift Card

Buy 10 Glade Gar Candles, 4 oz $1.99 each (with price match from 10/20 Safeway Ad) (total $19.90)
MINUS $20.00 Gift Card Glitch (total -$0.10)
You will NOT be able to use ANY manufacturer coupons unless you purchase an additional $0.10+$12.95

In order to make this work, you must purchase an additional $13.05 worth of products to make up for the double glitch ($20) since we’re doing this gift card deal twice in one transaction.

Buy 10 Glade Gar Candles, 4 oz $1.99 each (Real total: $19.90 Glitch total $19.90)
Buy other products, at least $13.05
(total $32.95)
MINUS $20.00 Gift Card Glitch (total $12.95)
Use 5 Buy One, Get One Free Glade Jar Candle from SS 9/26  (total $3.00)
AND use 2 $1.50/2 – Glade Jar Candles, 4oz – (coupons.com) (total $0.00)
Pay: $20.00, Receive two $5 Target Gift Cards
Final Price: $10.00 for 10 candles and $13.05 of other products

Leave a Reply

70 thoughts on “The Target Gift Card Glitch”

  1. Kristen says:

    has this ever been fixed?

  2. Kristen says:

    has this ever been fixed?

  3. Ashley S. says:

    One of 2 reasons I no longer shop Target. Reason #1:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-1028-target-coupons-20101028,0,6019005.story

    You can bet that if they were losing money with these ‘glitches’ they would have been fixed in a heartbeat!

    • Gabriela says:

      Thanks for posting the article!! I was in Target on Saturday, the checker had to call the supervisor over 5 times because of coupon problems. Neither of them had seen the continual problems of value shortage. The supervisor apologized numerous times and had the checker put the problem coupons into the system as Target coupons. They both couldn’t believe a $2 coupon ringing in for 8 cents and neither could I. In the end, I received full value for everything. Luckily, I had divided my order into 4 transactions so I could watch carefully as each coupon scanned and gift card came up. It makes one weary when trying to be a smart shopper at Target.

  4. Tiffany says:

    Okay, so they factor in the gift card as money you already received. That’s not right. You get the gift card as an EXTRA to spend in the store, not a discount immediately. I’m emailing/calling corporate. They can’t factor in a “discount” when they give you the gift card to spend in the store after the purchase. Because technically, it looks like a discount to the computer, but really you’re just going to spend more money AT Target due to the gift card. So the money stays within target, not an additional discount to you that keeps money in your pocket (which is what this looks like on the computer). GRRRRRRR!!! Its like they’re punishing those of use smart enough to use coupons with a sale/gift card deal.

  5. katrina says:

    update: i just got back from target about an hour ago and the glade deal worked for me. i didn’t try to price match the candles though so they rang up $2.99 a piece. so i bought 20 candles, 10 blocks of kraft cheese, a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, and strawberry preserves all for $19.80 after coupons and 4 $5 gift cards. broke down to 31c per candle and 50c per block of cheese. what do you guys think? did i do ok?

  6. Sarah says:

    So, I tried the Glade deal today. But I only purchased the glade candles. Because I bought ONLY the candles did I forfeit the glitch?
    It went like this:

    5- glade candles @ 2.99 = $14.95
    - $3 wyb 3 (actually took off 2.99) :(
    - $1.50 wyb2
    = $10.46 + tax oop
    Got $5 GC

    Did I do this right?

  7. Dawn W says:

    I am almost certain this has been going on for awhile. On Aug 30, I went to target and purchased 2 stayfree pads, they were priced at around $3.84. When you bought 2 you got the $5 gift card. I had the b1g1 free and a $1 off 1 coupons. They would not acept the b1g1, and the $1 off was taking off only .23 cents, but she said I could use the $1 off coupon , but not the b1g1 (both manft coups)????? I looked at her and said, that it was no different than me handing her $5 cash. she walked to the back pretended to ask 2 managers and then refused my coupon. needless to say…I left empty handed

  8. erin says:

    I think they are catching on. I also tried the glitch today with glade, curel, and ponds. I also purchased many other products. Only thing I noticed was for curel they actually gave me a $4.49 manfuacter coupon discount which was a coupon that I did not even have. So I know that was a glitch. I also used 2 manfactures coupon and on target coupon all were manually entered for those item.

    They did do one thing diffrent then normal though as the items were scanned and I qualified for gift card they scanned card and handed it to me before any coupons or cash was exchanged.

    Not sure glitch is fully working still but curel was a nice glitch it was like buy one get one free and $5 gift card.

  9. Michelle C. says:

    I read the “glitch” post last night so I went to my local Target in Texas to try it out. Although I have read what to do above, the only thing that clicked in my brain was to have overage in the amount of coupons savings I had. So I ventured to purchase 10 Glade Oil refills $2.99 each, 2 Hefty disposable cups $2.99 each, 2 hefty plates $2.99 each, and 1 pack bounty disposable napkins $2.99. I had 2 – $3 off glade winter collection coupons wyb 3, 2 – save $1.50 on any refill or holder coupons from glade refills last year, and 2 – b2g1 free refill coupons. The check out register at my target does not price match at the register, so I had to take my receipt to customer service to get my Randall’s price match on the refills for $1.99. My total at the register was $31.53 and I got 2 – $5 target gift cards. I figured that the glitch didn’t work since I spent $21.53 net oop. I went to customer service and got them to give me a price adjustment refund. To my surprise the refund totalled ($22.69) after the added and subtracted all of the items in this transaction to reflect the adjusted price. So to sum it up, I spent $31.53 – (22.69 price adj return) = $8.84 oop and got $10 in target gift cards. Net purchase today was a money making $1.16. I got 10 4ct Glade Oil refills, 2 packages of Hefty Halloween cups, 2 packages of Hefty Halloween plates, and one package of Bounty 250 ct Halloween napkins for FREE and made $1.16.
    Thank You!! Thank YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  10. patsy says:

    So in other words, no more money makers with the gift card deals unless the cashiers manually put in the coupon :(

  11. Krystle says:

    Working for Target( Like I said before) I can tell you alot of the cashiers dont pay attention to the coupons like the people using them, they scan them if they work they work if they dont they dont…for all the people using coupons we know the real value of them. I know it can be a hassle but most of the time it is the register that is causing the problem and the more updates they do on them they harder it is to push through or ‘trick’ the register into taking coupons. All of the coupons can be pushed through, without having to buy more things to take it. All the cashier has to do is accept them as ‘store’ coupons and type them in instead of scanning them in order to ‘trick’ the register. Its just a matter of getting a cashier or manager..GSTL is what we call them @ target that knows what they are doing and can out smart the register..If you attempt Target take your patient in tow.

  12. Angela says:

    One last comment on this. Everyone please read this excellent article on how the stores get reimbursed for the coupons!

    http://www.southernsavers.com/2009/01/extreme-couponer-101-coupon-redemption/

  13. sue says:

    I really dont know much other choices of where to shop. Walmart is horrible because they usually are not coupon friendly. K Mart treats the customers like they are stupid and play games with their awful “double coupon days”. I dont know what they are like at just regular coupons because I dont shop there except a couple times a year for the end of season clearance. Does anyone have any suggestions???

    • Rachel says:

      I feel totally different about WalMart, Sue. I live in Nampa, ID and IMO, they are the BEST for coupons in this town, aside from Albertson’s (which, however, is always cleared of the coupon deal items within minutes — don’t get me started). Our WalMart here happily accepts almost any valid coupon you give them, and I’ve had nothing but good experiences with both cashiers and managers. It’s too bad about this whole Target mess, though, because that is hands down my favorite store in general to shop at. I think maybe I’ll just have to nix the gift card deals for awhile…

  14. sue says:

    I did the Nivea deal last week it worked for me because I had just read about this glitch thing…there were so many times before when my giftcard deals didnt go through. I just found clearance items I wanted for the extra amount I needed for the deal to go through. Its hard enough though to organize our coupons and deals together and on top of that remember this glitch, i’m glad to know about it now.

  15. Angela says:

    I’m with all of you that are pretty much DONE with Target!!! The truth of the matter is this: the coupons go to a clearing house and Target gets most (if not all) of the proceeds of every coupon that is redeemed! SO this is the issue…Target is using coupons to increase their bottom line and take from you and I!! I too have walked out of Target reviewing my receipt and noticed that either they “forget” to take off coupons I have given the cashier OR the coupon value has been altered (that’s how I prefer to view this). Let’s go elsewhere ladies!

  16. RM says:

    ok I’m sorry but I have to say that this totally blows . To me it seems that the couponing rules are always changing and it just is a full time job to stay on top of them!

  17. tami roebuck says:

    I did the $5 gift card deal on 10/20 with the Huggies diapers and this did not happen for me. I still paid $70 out of pocket. So it isnt because my total is too low???????? I live in Chico, CA.

  18. Tara says:

    On the issue of Target recieving back more than what was credited, to my knowledge the way Target is reimbursed is through the computer system that will send the info to the manufacturer and Target will recieve credit for the amount applied,not necessesarily the whole amount on the coupon, as shown on the receipt. I can’t imagine that each and every coupon is separated and sent into the respective manufacturers, that would take a massive effort, especially with the technology available to bypass that.

    • Krystle says:

      I work for Target and we send the coupons in and we get back every bit the value of the coupon…I hate this just as much as all of you and I try my best to make it right when I see couponers coming through the line, I understand your all your frustration because I am a couponer myself, Target maybe aware of the situation but at store level they have not addressed it

      • Tara says:

        I work for Target as well, and I don’t know if you’ve evere seen what happens to the coupons, we just bag them all together at night and once in awhile they get shipped out and are weighed to make sure what the computer reports is at least fairly accurate, no individual counting, so we get reimbursed what the guest gets, Target’s not making money off coupons by any means.

  19. chrissy says:

    I did 2 giftcard deals at a target in nepa and this did not work.

  20. Amy says:

    Does anybody else think this is bologna that their system is ringing up that $5 “free” gift card as $10 of overage??? Stupid!

  21. Angela says:

    I agree on the thought that target is the theif. I have used many coupons there recently and afterwards I realize they have changed the value of my coupon on many items however I still spend tooooooo much cash. Very frustrating. Today i attempted the Gift Card Glitch and it didn’t work. Then it turned into a NIGHTMARE!! I tried to return a few of the items because they didn’t give me the $5 giftcards but the customer service gal made it harder and harder. The bottom line was I wanted the other 2 gift cards and I’d be done. 45 mins later I left FRUSTRATED and with 3 crazy children and a stinking $10.55 giftcard but she kept all the items I was argiung about. So I lost $15 worth of merchandise adn got a $10.55 refund. LAME!! and they will still cash in on all my coupons and get more then their due money back. I think I’m finnally done with Target!!!

  22. katrina says:

    gosh… this sounds so difficult but i just received my coupons so i am going to attempt this later. i really hope it works. i dont want to have to argue with idiots again.

    • katrina says:

      update: got 20 candles, 10 blocks of kraft cheese, a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, and jar of strawberry preserves for $19.80 AFTER coupons and 4 $5 gift cards. broke down to 31c per candle and 50c per block of cheese. :) and i didn’t even price match the candles. they were $2.99 a piece.

  23. Samantha says:

    I’ve had problems with coupons even when I am not doing a gift card deal. I’ve had problems with coupons for multiple items ( $1/3). And shopping with 2 small kids, I don’t have time to call the corporate office while I’m in the store. I try to do very little coupon shopping there right now. It’s such a PITA.

  24. Jana says:

    This is just another reason why I have stopped shopping at Target. I am tired of some managers and cashiers making me feel like a criminal because I use coupons. I was really annoyed that their registers started reducing the price of my coupons. If I have a $4 coupon then Target should take off $4. They still get the $4 from the company. Honestly, I think it is target who has become the thief.

    • Candi says:

      Yesterday when using the Kraft $5/5 coupons, it only gave me $3.79 off. I questioned it and she manually entered it for $5. I don’t understand why it doesn’t just take the $5 off. I purchased the 5 items, so it should take the $5 off.

      • Jana says:

        You also need to watch for coupons that are for more than 1 item but the single items costs less than the coupon. For example I purchased the travel shout wipes for .97 and had a coupon for $2 off 2. Instead of adjusting to $1.94 off of 2, it only subtracted .97 cents. When I explained to the cashier that I wasn’t getting the appropriate amount off, she actually called over a manger to argue with me. I had to reexplain myself and the manager ignored me and asked the cashier if I really had the right amount. She then called ANOTHER manager, expecting him to back her up but he said, “You’re absolutely right. I’ll fix it immediately.” RIDICULOUS!!! I know for a fact that my Target has had cashier “coupon meetings” talking about women that they think are cheating the system. (My best friend’s daughter works there) If you train the cashiers to see couponers as criminals or cheaters then no one wins. I haven’t set foot in Target in weeks. I get plenty of great deals from Walgreens and CVS!

  25. Mandi says:

    I went there this morning and had no problems. I bought 3 razors, used 4 $4 coupons and 4 soft scrub kitchen cleaners with 4 $1 coupons. I paid $22 out of pocket and I still have my $10 in gift cards. The cashier was impressed that I saved $20 and still had $10 in gift cards to use later. I like our Target!

  26. Rebekah says:

    What I don’t understand is that these are mf coupon that they will get paid back for, so what is the big deal? Besides keeping us from getting one?

  27. Rachel says:

    My head is spinning. That is waaaaay too much math and mental work for me! :) Good luck to you ladies who understand it, but I definitely won’t be trying any gift card promos for awhile.

  28. Alicia says:

    Just a little grammar lesson: you should be using “affect” in this posting, not “effect.”

  29. Allison says:

    THANK YOU!! : ) I couldn’t use my manu. coupons cause of the “glitch.” Now I understand.

  30. Audrie says:

    See ya Target! Let me know when you get your act together. Target’s inconsistency is worse than my ex-husband.

  31. Jenn says:

    Sheesh, why is target being so lame bout coupons generally??
    I’ve stopped using coupons there quite some time ago.
    I’m amazed that you were even able to explain the glitch without your head spinning lol

  32. Christina says:

    If I were to do the Glad trans.with the “filler” and then repeat it paying the second trans. with the gift cards that I got in the first trans. would that work? I know I would have to either let someone go ahead of me or get back in line to use the GC’s from the first tran, just want to clarify if anyone knows if the register will treat the GC’s as “cash” and not a “coupon”.

    • Christina says:

      I meant Glade candels not Glad. opps.

    • Sandy says:

      You can’t use the Target GC’s the same day you get them.

      • Lora says:

        Yes you can I do it all the time…I just split up my transactions and use my gift cards on the next transaction.

      • Gabriela says:

        I’ve used them on the next transaction frequently. Just divide your purchases into separate transactions. Receive first gift card, hold onto it for a couple of minutes, hand it over for payment. It works, no beeping, questions, or problems.

  33. Tammy says:

    OK! I am royally confused! Why bother using both coupons? Aren’t I ahead anyway?? Here is a repeat of above…

    Buy 2 Shick Hydro 5 $7.49 (total $14.98)
    MINUS $10.00 Gift Card Glitch (total $4.98)
    Use first $4.00/1 Schick Hydro 5 Razor from SS 10/3 (will scan fine: total $0.98)

    Why not stop there? I just got two razors for $.98??????

    • Becky Ruths says:

      ah… but you are still paying that $10, you just can’t use coupons on it…
      So, your OPP would look like this:
      Buy 2 Shick Hydro 5 $7.49 (total $14.98)
      Use first $4.00/1 Schick Hydro 5 Razor from SS 10/3 (will scan fine: total $10.98)
      Receive $5 gc, (or “like” paying $5.98)

  34. Mickie says:

    There is another glitch in here. You can only use 1 target coupon per item per transaction. So if you have say 2 boxes of diapers and 2 target coupons you can not use them both unless you do 2 transactions. Thus if there is a gift card deal you will not get the gift card. This is stated right on the target coupons now too. Well at least the web coupons

  35. millicent says:

    my question that I can’t seem to find—do you still get the gift cards also???

  36. Lindsay says:

    I just did 2 different $5 Gift Card deals on the same trip here in Mississippi and didn’t have this problem…Right after paying I did however crash the register (must have had too many coupons…lol). The manager had to print me my receipt from the office computer which appears to apply the coupons differently compared to the register receipt. It’s a good thing I understand accounting.

  37. Kaesi C says:

    what if you choose not to receive the gift card, and do not use a filler will the total be $0?

  38. Laura says:

    Just one more reason for me to avoid Target I’m afraid. Good luck to those of y’all still willing to deal with them.

  39. Cindy says:

    My understanding from reading on another blog about how to avoid this problem is to have the cashier ring up a “filler” item that will cover the difference from the invisible $10 glitch, then after all your coupons are scanned, have them void off (or return) the filler item. I have not tried this, so I can not verify that this works; however, it may be worth trying out if your transaction is souly for the gift card deals, instead of dealing with having to purchase extra items or explain the problem to every cashier. If I get a chance to try this out, I will be sure to pass it on!

  40. Jess says:

    I recently applied for a seasonal job at Target as a cashier. I was DENIED, probably because I have a college education. I don’t think they want anyone too smart working there:)

    • Sally says:

      That’s not a very nice thing to say about Target employees…

    • jen says:

      Just a heads up you have to have a college education to hold any kind of a management position. Also it seems to be a corporate issue and it shouldnt be used against hourly employees

  41. Felicia says:

    …I’m totally confused now…
    Must go back and reread this information. Thanks for the examples.

  42. Lisa says:

    I guess I’m a little confused as to why this is called a “glitch”? If I’ve had overages before, I would just add a few candy bars let’s say and my final bill would be $0 or just a few cents if I went over. Am I incorrect? Did this just change this week or something?

    • Heather says:

      It’s an invisible discount. $5 doesn’t actually come off your total- but the computer thinks it does because of the Target Gift Card.

      Make sense?

  43. Kaesi C says:

    Is this happening at every Target from now on?

  44. Marty says:

    Or another way around the glitch is to not shop at target ;) thats my preferred method as of late. Target makes everything difficult to figure out and my target doesn’t advertise any of the deals I see here making it an even more risky proposition. Don’t mean to be negative, I am following closely and do appreciate all your time put in to figuring this out! I just wish we could make the target cashier’s understand!

    • lexyandlogan says:

      I am on Marty’s team. I don’t understand Target and all of their “coupon glitches” if Target really wanted coupon business, they’d fix the “glitches” and quickly.

  45. Becky Ruths says:

    This sucks. :( I hope they get it fixed quickly and it’s not a corp. policy change thing :(