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Extreme Couponing Tip: Take Measures to Ensure That Coupons Will Scan

There are several reasons why a coupon might not scan at the register. Learn the solutions to make checkout a breeze.

Problem: Low ink. If you’re low on printer ink, chances are the barcode will not print clearly and therefore is harder to be picked up at the register. This may cause an angry beep.

Solution: Make sure your ink levels are always adequate before printing.

Problem: PDF coupons (Portable Document Format). Many store scanners don’t like reading PDF barcodes because they do not have unique numbers. After the refusal beep, the cashier will either push it through or will not accept it, citing that they cannot accept coupons that don’t scan. Worse case, they may even accuse you of coupon fraud.

Solution: Always make sure the PDF coupon comes from a reliable source, such as the manufacturer’s website. Only print one or two and try them at the store. Be up front and honest with the cashier. Tell them where you found it and that sometimes these types of coupons are tricky. If it doesn’t work, realize the cashier is just following policy.

Problem: GS1 Databar Barcode. Most coupons no longer feature 2 barcodes. They have forgone the standard UPC barcode in favor of the more detailed GS1 Databar, which reduces coupon fraud. The checkout process should be faster and more thorough. Most national stores should now have updated their systems to scan these. As long as your product matches the coupon’s fine print, things should go smoothly.

Solution: If for some reason your coupon won’t scan, politely ask to speak with the manager. Be unafraid to introduce yourself, explain your coupon experience, and ask for clarification. Be kind and patient. Most of the time the manager will help you out!

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11 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing Tip: Take Measures to Ensure That Coupons Will Scan”

  1. kde90 says:

    the worst scenario is that stores would stop accepting printable coupons. idk y some people, not accusing anyone here, would make copies of printable coupons which sticks for everyone else thats being authentic with the usage of coupons and making it harder when we couponers check out . i like how klc is showing everyone the right way to use coupons n correcting mistakes we may all once make.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well now I know what PDF stands for. I knew it didn’t stand for ‘pretty darned fast’.

  3. Dayna says:

    I printed out several coupons from Alba on Facebook awhile back. It was a pdf so that was why I printed out about 4 of them. I was going to use 3 at Target and the cashier immediately turned her light off and called her manager over to look at the coupons. She kept saying all the numbers were the same and the manager asked if she even tried to scan them and of course she hadn’t. They scanned perfectly, but the cashier just kept looking at me rudely and I swear she gives me dirty looks every time I make eye contact with her when I enter the store. I’ve noticed that any time someone has coupons now at the Target near me, the cashiers now turn off their light or have them blink so the managers can look at them. This is extremely time consuming and makes me feel like I have done something wrong when I know I haven’t!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I always choose a younger cashier and am super friendly. If it does not scan I tell them if they use the hand scanner and lay it flat is usually works. I don’t do coupons at Walmart they are all nasty and old and they hate couponers!!!! I will stick with issues!!

  5. Susie says:

    My favorite is when you pull the coupon directly off the product, save x amount now, and the coupon won’t scan. With Walmarts idiotic new policy the cashier can pull it off the product herself, attempt to scan it, and hand it to you when it beeps telling you she can’t take it because it won’t scan!

    • Anonymous says:

      Which is why I only shop there when I need items that I do not have coupons for, and that Target doesn’t have. I emailed their corporate office about the policy and asked them this question; “Why should I shop at your store wondering if my coupons will scan, when I can go anywhere else and they will take the coupons without a problem?” No response.

      I noticed that some registers hate anything that has free in it, like BOGO free.

  6. Sally Cummins says:

    The Halls coupons I printed out were scanning right, they had the GS1 barcodes so the Cashier had to scan half of one part of the barcodes on the coupon and then another side so they would go through. Made it take longer but they went through after she did it that way.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love when the store’s own NON-printed coupon won’t print, lol. Kroger sends out packages of coupons in the mail and I took one to the store for a $1 off Home Scence paper towels. It wasn’t expired and it was for the exact product featured but it wouldn’t scan (all the other Kroger coupons went through). The cashier wouldn’t or couldn’t push it through so I didn’t buy them.
    It was almost a little funny…..the lady behind me was laughing. They shouldn’t send you a coupon that won’t scan.

    • Anonymous says:

      *when the store’s own NON-printed coupon won’t SCAN*

    • liscorbett says:

      I had the same thing happen with a manufacturer coupon from the newspaper. Had the exact same item as in the picture on the coupon, and the cashier said there was nothing she could do since it beeped. Since I know that’s not true, I had her take the item off.