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Extreme Couponing Tip: How to Deal with Inconsistent Coupon Policy

Some stores have trouble consistently accepting and enforcing their own coupon policies.

It is an all-too-common and frustrating problem. Help the store get back on track, and be consistent and knowledgeable by meeting with the head manager.

Go over the policy and—politely—inquire about the training of employees. Store employees  may be unaware of parts of their policy. Most managers are willing to learn and abide by the written policies after such a discussion.

Print out a copy of the store’s coupon policy and bring it along every time you shop at the store. Let the printed policy do the talking in case of snags.

Issues not directly addressed in the policy will be decided by regional offices or the manager at each store location. If things aren’t working out after talking to corporate offices, store managers and cashiers, try shopping a different location.

Here’s how to request your own copy of the store’s policy.

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19 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing Tip: How to Deal with Inconsistent Coupon Policy”

  1. blender21 says:

    I went to Walmart and I was buying the Bic pens when they were on sale at Walgreens with the in ad coupon that they were .49 each up to 3 pens. Well I had the ad with me and had my coupon and I went to purchase 2 pens I told her that I had the Walgreens ad and showed her the coupon in the ad asked her if she needed the coupon, she stood there for 2 minutes or so checking out the whole ad and then looking at the coupon every line in it, she then rung it up and then I handed her the coupon, she took one look at it in my hand and then said to me rather ruddly ‘ we don’t accept coupons with price match! you can’t use that!’  I told her that I had come through the day before and I had no problems using the price match and a coupon.  She Then said she would have to call her manager I could not believe it for over 2 .49 cent bic pens. I told her never mind that is was not worth calling a manager for 1.00 and I just paid the 1.14 for the 2 pens packs. I cannot believe that she could not make a decision on a 1.00. I have since taken my business to my local Target and Kmart, I have spoke to the managers and they were every clear with their coupon policy and they have told me if I have any problems to have the cashier call them. I have not had any problems the cashiers are very well trained and informed. Couponing is becoming very difficult. My local Winco will only take 2LC and if the cashier thinks that the coupons were mass cut ( use of a paper cutter to cut coupons) they can decline them even if you only use 2 of them. This make couponing so difficult.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s frustrating! Sorry that happened, blender21. I’m glad you’ve found stores that work out better for your couponing! 

    • Hilljoshua23 says:

      It seems that Kmart. Walgreens Kroger with affiliates know there coupon policy’s better than Walmart because I always here Walmart doesn’t know there policy’s I hadethe same problem when Walgreens had the Tylenol precise pain patches on sale with coupon making them free well wag was out so went to Walmart big mistake even had the ad to which it does say in the policy u are not required to have and that it’s the store managers responsibility to collect all local ads well needless to say very rude service at Walmart acculy got told they would call the store to verify the price and if it dident match and I quote we know who to go after so I walked off went back to wag decided to wait next week to get it which I decided to get rain check to needless to say I never shop at Walmart no more

  2. Anonymous says:

    Really bad experience at Finish Line today trying to use a $20 off $100 coupon they mailed me along with a $20 Reward card.  Nowhere on either did it say the reward would be applied per the computer first, thereby decreasing the cost of the shoes below $100 which would not allow the coupon to be used.  The coupon did specifically say the amount must be met before taxes and shipping were applied.  Their Corporate rep I spoke to was completely unhelpful.  Thank goodness for my awesome Publix and CVS and their wonderful employees and coupon policies.  They keep me happy.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I keep my fingers crossed each time I grocery shop. Most are great but if I shop on an odd day and time things do tend to be difficult to say the least. One 8 AM Sunday Wal-Mart run (trying to beat the thuderstorms) I hit one of “those” cashiers. I am on oxygen and only brought enough for about 1 1/2 hour or so. Try to ad match and she tells me she could be fired if I didn’t have the ad since it wasn’t food I was price matching. Told her I had all other ads but didn’t stop long enough for that one since it came that morning and I was in a hurry. A lady started unloading her cart behind me and I told her it looked like there was a problem. She smiled and said no big deal. Little did she know! Her smile became a fake want to kill you smile towards the end. Long story short, between the coupons (inspecting that I pruchased everything I had a coupon for) and taking over 15 minutes to find the ad I was checking out for 1/2 hour with not that many items. Next time I went in I explained about the policy change to one of the good cashiers and she told me that she misunderstood. Was only on liquor and any high end priced items ad matched to dirt cheap. I bought feminine pads! I always stop and bring the ad in with me now. Since everything worked out I did not need a CSM but gee whiz! Give an old lady a break!

  4. Stephenson98 says:

    So happy to hear others have the same experiences. I go out of my way to be organized and prepared at check-out when I’m using coupons. Last week I was at three seperate Tartget stores and each cashier had a different response, but all three seemed to be upset by the fact that I was getting such a large discount. (the only free items were scotch tape, and because coupon was .50, and sale price of item was .49, it was a major hassle.) One Target didn’t want to take a TC with a MF on Revlon products, and when I politely explained why it was allowed to have both, it just seemed to irritate her more. I printed my store policies lastnight and will be taking them with me in the future. And I also plan to start filling in more customer satisfaction cards to let corporate know how unprofessional some employees are.

    • Grannysgiftshopp says:

      My target here is awesome. Never a problem with coupons or even price matching. Wal mart however dont shop there much anymore. They seem like they dont want to take any coupons.

    • Anonymous says:

      Definitely– printed store policies and constructive feedback are both great ways to help! 

  5. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t to any great extent run into coupon policy implementation issues but when it does happen it is aggravating.  But really for me the issue is the attitude of the individuals involved.  If anything is outside the box the answer tends to be no.  The place where I am most likely to encounter problems is Whole Foods.  Several weeks ago I printed off multiple copies of two high value coupons (Alba Botanical and Kiss My Face) and gradually have been redeeming them.  Sometimes I come away with both items free, sometimes paying as little as $.01, and sometimes paying all of the tax due.  The variability in processing the coupon is interesting but I get a strong vibe that the cashiers are perturbed at having to adjust the system to take into account coupons that are higher than the price of the product.  And several times the cashiers have had to stop my transactions to find an answer. 

    But the event that takes the cake is when about two weeks ago I visited my usual Whole Foods and presented my coupons which I had printed on single sheets of paper.  In a not so nice tone of voice the cashier said that my couposn were the wrong size (ie wouldn’t fit in her drawer) and that my coupons printed on the single sheets would not be accepted in the future.  I tried explaining that I printed them that way to prove that I had printed them from a legitimate site because they were high value.  Well my justification went in one ear and out the other.  All that I got was an attitude that she was peeved at having to fold the coupon so it would fit in the drawer.

    What did I learn- to be flexible and pleasant even under trying circumstances.  Where the cashier is giving me an attitude and other customers are being delayed, I thank the cashier and then apologize to the other customers for waiting.  And then I try to pick a different line the next time I visit the store.

  6. Barbiegal72 says:

    Inconsistent policies is why I no longer shop at one of my favorite stores.  I just got tired of having to pull out the coupon policy and explain it everytime I shopped at Walmart.  Even after discussions with the manager, I was still given an attitude about using coupons.

    • michelleviscosalvo says:

      I agree I STOPPED shopping at all walmarts b/c the 2 close to me were just harassing me on every coupon, our local supermarket Frys will even honor coupons that expired up to a few days ago and the double coupons so I rather give them my money and they have a gas rewards so I make out there! Walmart STINKS!! And they are so beyond inconsistent with their coupon policy and I have tried prinitng out and showing a MANAGER and still they wont take most of my printable coupons it ends up making it so hard to get what I need that I just dont bother!

    • Anonymous says:

      That can definitely be frustrating! Krazy Couponers, when they play by the rules and are considerate, deserve the same consideration in return. If you don’t get it from a store you shop, definitely switch to another one that treats you well. 

  7. Sfangel112 says:

    It seems no matter what the corporate policy is, there is always fine print in their policy AND weekly ads that (grocery stores at least) that say the store manager always reserves the right to accept or reject coupons. So to me I feel like it’s dependent on their mood that day! Target has told me multiple times they only accept 4LC even if the coupon doesn’t state that. When I went to get school, supplies I complained, because I have many kids I buy for, but they only wanted me to use 4 of the roseart coupons. I was handed a comment card! Lol and at Tom Thumb I’m sometimes told they will only accept 3LC even though their policy doesn’t say that…it’s up to the manager’s discretion. Our local news station did a report on coupon policy being unclear and not consistent. But again I feel it all goes back to it’s up to the manager. :(

    • Myrah says:

      I agree.  I know my coupon policies for the stores I shop at and unfortunately, most of the time it is up to the manager’s discretion (the manager who is working at the time).  What I do is, I shop at certain times during the day at the stores because after years of shopping with coupons, I pretty much know the managers’ work schedule.  I shop during the times when the “nice” managers work and I never have a problem.  For example at my grocery store, we are allowed to use 2 coupons for a BOGO free item or we can use a BOGO free coupon with a BOGO sale.  If I shop after 3 pm, the cashiers on duty tell me that they cannot accept these coupons because their manager says you cannot get 2 items for free or that I cannot use a coupon for a free item but if I shop before 3 pm, the cashiers gladly accept the coupons (the coupons don’t even beep) because the morning manager is very coupon friendly.  I had called corporate and they told me that their coupon policy does allow it IF the manager allows it.  I’m not happy that I have to schedule my shopping trips around their schedule but I am happy that I get to save a lot of money using coupons without any hassles.  You win son, you lose some.

    • Becky says:

       Yeah, I hate that manager’s discretion bit. Target’s new coupon policy does state that you can only use 4 like coupons, manufacturer and store. While I don’t really like that limit, it aligns with most manufacturer coupons fairly well, and I like that it’s written into the policy so stores can no longer make up their own limit (have been told 2, 3, etc all at the same target). I just ended up doing several transactions at Target to get all my Rose Art.

    • Ashley Black says:

       Target recently changed their policy to state they will limit 4 LC per household per day.  Even if the coupon doesn’t say it. They’re doing this so that they can have enough product on the shelf for more customers and so people can’t shelf clear. I’m not saying you’re a shelf clearer at all….But yes lots of stores do have unclear and not consistent policies. I try not to let it bug me and just head over to the other location where I know they will follow the policy.