Do you ever get the “stink eye” from other customers while shopping and using your coupons at the register? I have, and I’ve heard and read comments from people who have negative opinions of couponers. I’d like to change that! So, here are 10 tips I’ve used to calm the irritated, frustrated, impatient and sometimes just downright mean customers who have a negative image of couponing and couponers.

1. Tell them in advance!

You would be surprised how much people appreciate just a little forewarning that you might be at the register awhile. If they are in a hurry, they can then choose to wait or go to another line.

2. Shop during off-peak times.

Pulling out 100 coupons at 6 p.m. when people are picking up their dinner at the grocery store after getting off work might not be the best idea. This is why I love shopping at 24-hour stores. Sometimes I do my best couponing at 3 a.m.

3. Share your coupons.

Look at what the other shoppers have in their cart and offer them coupons for their items (if you have your binder with you). A little courtesy goes a long way.

4. Offer a Reward.

You’re saving a lot of money. Why not offer to purchase a snack, gum, or a soft drink for your checkout-line mates for their patience while waiting behind you? I’ve done this several times. I often use my free 20-ounce coke coupons from My Coke Rewards to get sodas for people who are patient enough to wait in line behind me.

5. Make it fun!

Show the person behind you just how much fun couponing can be by playing a game with it. Make a bet with them to guess how much you’re going to save. I’ve had lots of customers behind me, and even cashiers get excited to see how much money I saved! Who knows—you might just turn another person on to couponing by doing so!

6. Cede your spot.

If you’re doing multiple transactions, consider stepping out of line and going to the back if you notice people behind you with only one or two items (if you have the time to wait). I’ve done this several times at Walgreens and CVS. Plus, this gives me time to get all my coupons in order, double check everything, grab all the items I’m going to be purchasing from the bottom of my cart and put them on top, and make sure everything is going to go according to plan.

7. Be ready.

Have all your coupons ready. Be proactive! Don’t stand there and fumble through your binder or purse looking for coupons after the cashier is already done ringing everything up.

8. Don’t clear the shelves.

I know, I know—the battle rages on. Here’s what I do: I don’t clear shelves the first day of the week of a sale (for example, Sunday). I might grab a few, and then I will wait until the last day of the week for that sale item (for example, Saturday). By this time, it has given others a chance to shop. Then, if the shelf has already been cleared, I will ask for a rain check. This is a good idea because at places like Walgreens and CVS rain checks never expire. You still get your sale price even if your coupon expires before you can catch the sale.

9. Take your stuff with you.

This includes old Catalinas, sales ads, receipts and other paper. Please don’t leave these items in the bottom of shopping carts. Littering is not courteous.

10. Spare the couponing gospel.

Not everyone wants to be “preached” to. Don’t automatically start telling people they need to coupon, or telling them they are throwing away their money by not couponing. Not everyone wants to coupon. I let curious people come to me. If they want to learn more about couponing or how to get started, I will offer to tell them what I know, but I don’t go out of my way to lecture people who have no interest in hearing me.

This is a guest post by Riley from San Marcos, TX.
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10 Things You Can Do to Be a More Courteous Couponer