Evelyn Romans | 

6 Awkward Couponing Situations and How to Handle Them

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Trust me, I’ve been in all the awkward couponing situations….

And these are my tried-and-true methods for navigating the checkout process when things feel #awk.


1. Compliment your cashier before you even start your transaction.

This is especially helpful if you can tell outright that your cashier is overly stressed. (Hey, cashiers are people too and get tired at the end of their shift!) Signs of a stressed cashier are they’re obviously not happy to see you, they analyze every one of your coupons in detail, dig through your bags before they even try scanning your coupons, and loudly say that they don’t know if your coupons will work.

Say this: “Thanks in advance for being patient with me!”

Besides being a plain old nice thing to do, a compliment might make their day. And help them see you in a positive light from the start.

Just a note: The easiest way to avoid this situation in the first place is to look for a cashier that seems genuinely bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.


2. Let impatient customers go first if you’re worried about them being rude or complaining.

Via Flickr

Warn other customers! If you notice that the woman behind you in line has two toddlers and a cart full of groceries, nicely let her know that you have a lot of coupons to use.

Know what works even better? Letting the person in line behind you go first.

Say this: “Hey, I see you’ve got two kids and a cart full of groceries — I’ve got coupons and might take a while. Do you want to go first?”

It warns the cashier that you have coupons to use.

The second bonus to this act of kindness is that it takes away the pressure of the mom with kids waiting impatiently for your cashier, making them relax.

This also makes it clear that you’re a thoughtful couponer.

Your cashier will see you in a positive way before you even get to the register.


3. Give your cashier a heads-up if your coupon amount is more than the price of the item.

You’ve got to know which stores give “overage” and how to use it.

Some stores allow for “overage,” or the difference between the coupon discount and the price of the item you’re buying. This is what makes some deals a freebie or a moneymaker! We love moneymakers, but we don’t love it when your coupon beeps. Which it almost always will when you’re getting overage.

Warning your cashier ahead of time takes the surprise out of the dreaded coupon beep and lets them know you’re informed about the policy already.

Say this: “I’ve got some coupons that are for more than the price of the item. I know your store’s coupon policy allows that, but I just wanted to give you a heads-up!”

Each store has its own overage policy, and the solution can be simple at each store. Here are some of the big ones:

  • Target: Adjusts the coupon value down to the price of the item. You won’t get overage, but you will get freebies!
  • Walgreens: Although Walgreens doesn’t allow overages, you can receive a Register Reward that’s worth more than the amount you paid in a transaction. This is still known as a “moneymaker.”
  • Walmart: Totally allows overage! Walmart will actually hand money back to you, though your cashier will almost certainly have to check this out with a supervisor. Feel free to ask for overage when you have a scenario.
  • Rite Aid: Does not give traditional “overage,” but you can frequently get freebies and moneymakers with Plenti Points.
  • CVS: Will adjust the amount of the coupon down to the amount of the item being purchased, so no overage.



4. Be appreciative when your cashier points out your mistake.

With coupon policies changing so quickly (we’re looking at you, P&G!) the cashier might not be the only one not up-to-date.

I’ve definitely been wrong at the register before, and it’s embarrassing, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

Say this: “Oh snap! I didn’t know that. Thanks for updating me! Let me figure out how that changes my purchase.”

By phrasing this scenario as something helpful the cashier is doing for you, you automatically put them in a more helpful frame of mind.
This also shows your cashier that you appreciate them staying up-to-date on coupon policies.


5. Ask your cashier to help if your coupon beeps.

So you totally printed out your coupon and it’s pristine, crisp, and easy to read. You proudly hand your coupon to the cashier and it still beeps.

Deep breath. There are lots of reasons your coupon can beep, but if you’ve already prepared in advance and you know the coupon is correct, your issue could just be that your printer didn’t print your barcode dark enough. No, I’m not kidding.

Say this: “I know I got the right product. Would you mind helping me figure out why it isn’t working?”

Asking your cashier to help you out puts you both mentally on the same team, and lets them know that you respect and appreciate their advice.

They’re more likely to help you out or push the coupon through if you need to flat-out ask for their help.


RELATED: How to Coupon with Just a Smartphone (For Real!)


6. Politely ask to speak to a supervisor if your cashier doesn’t understand your store’s coupon policy.

via flickr

I know, it’s awkward. But if you’re polite yet firm, and apologize to your cashier for the hassle, you’ll minimize the damage.

Unfortunately, cashiers aren’t always educated on their store’s coupon policy. It’s not even always the cashier’s fault, especially with changes to the current coupon policy happening all the time.

But it does make things difficult for you when you’re stuck at the register and you know you’re 100% correct and your cashier is wrong. Asking for a supervisor is always a sticky situation.

Say this: “I know it’s a hassle, but could I have a supervisor check? I appreciate you doing that for me!”

Thanking your cashier in advance makes it clear that you’re appreciative and not looking to get them in trouble.
If your cashier is worried they’ll get in trouble for taking your coupons, getting a supervisor’s permission will keep their job safe.

TIP: Access each store’s coupon policy right inside the Krazy Coupon Lady app!


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