I'm convinced that carrying a coupon organizer in a grocery store is no different than holding a neon sign that reads, "I'm one of those people, and I'm here to ruin your shopping experience."
At least that's how some people see it. While you can't control what your fellow shoppers think about couponing, stockpiling, or having a coupon organizer, you can use these five tips to show that krazy couponers are considerate men and women who love a good deal and work hard to save money.
1. Stocking up = GOOD
Shelf clearing and hoarding = BAD
What did your mama teach you about sharing? Don't be "that guy." Build your stockpile slowly with a few items each week. If you need a large quantity, place a special order to guarantee you get the number of products you want, while still leaving some stock on the shelves. Remember, others want to cash in on the coupons and deals too, so leave some booklets, blinkies, peelies, and tear pad coupons for other people.
2. Know store policies
Information is power! Every store is different, so you should always bookmark the store’s coupon policy on your mobile Web browser, screenshot the policy in case you lose signal on your smartphone at checkout, or print a copy out. Make sure to familiarize yourself with it and be prepared to reference the printout or digital copy at any time when shopping. You can find your store’s coupon policy here.
3. Be organized
No one likes a sloppy couponer. Sort out which coupons you’ll be using before you get to the checkout lane. Then:
- Be Kind to the cashier—Ask the cashier if they prefer the coupons as you go, or at the end of the transaction. If they want them at the end, don’t just hand over your stack all at once. Instead, divide them up into small groupings and tell the cashier what they’re for. (ex: “Two for the brown rice, one for the soup mix, and three for the canned peaches.”) This ensures your coupons get scanned, and it saves the cashier some counting and sorting. Trust me, anything you can do to make a cashier's job easier is worth your while.
- Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey!—When you have a full cart and a lot of coupons, let others behind you know you’ll be slow. Nicely apologize and suggest they may want to try another lane.
- Take turns—If you have several transactions, only put one on the conveyor belt at a time. If someone gets behind you, let them go next and then start another transaction when they're finished.
4. Play fair
Don't use photocopied or expired coupons, and only use coupons on their intended products. (I'm talking to you, Mr. "I Swear I Thought That's What it Was For.") Krazy couponers are trustworthy (not to mention loyal, helpful, friendly, and all that) and they get great deals by following the rules.
If you come across a store employee who is skeptical about you getting things for cheap or free, reassure them that the manufacturer reimburses the store for every cent of the coupon's value (plus a handling fee) when they are used correctly.
5. Be kind and smile
Have you ever heard of anyone with a million dollar scowl? Of course not! Flash your pearly whites, strike up a conversation when appropriate, and don't forget to say thank you. Always treat cashiers, store employees, and your fellow shoppers with courtesy.
Keeping your cool under pressure is key. If you run into a problem with your cashier or a manager, kindly refer them the store's policy—which you printed out and brought with you, of course. Never lose your temper or make demands. If things don’t work out, simply walk away and contact corporate to discuss a concern, or report a store that isn't following a policy. However, wait until you’re calm and collected to make the call.
If another shopper says something demeaning, let them know you are just a normal mom, college student, dad, etc. trying to save money for your family/education. Ignorance is the great divide, so explain things like special ordering, being informed, donating, and building your stockpile slowly.