Why You Need to Know Your Store Coupon Policies

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photo credit: clipncrazy

You’ve already read tons of abbreviations and vocabulary terms, and examined the fine print on your coupons.  So you have a basic understanding of the rules set forth by manufacturers.  But stores have their own set of rules, which are outlined in their own individual coupon policies.

In order to access these policies, just visit their Web sites, and search the term “coupon policy.”  Or see the end of this post where I have done the work for you, linking you directly to many of the major national and regional stores’ policies.  If you don’t see the policy you need in this post, and if you cannot find it on your store’s Web site, request a copy from customer service or contact their corporate office for a copy that they will send (via email or snail mail) to you on their official letterhead.

You need to understand what your store’s coupon policy says because – quite frankly – many of their employees don’t.

Common scenario #1:  You hand the cashier your item and its corresponding manufacturer and store coupons.  She tells you you may only use one coupon per item, either store or manufacturer.

Common scenario #2:  You purchase four identical items and use four identical manufacturer and/or store coupons.  The cashier tells you that you may only use one coupon per transaction or shopping trip, regardless of the number of items you are purchasing.

In either case, it may leave you questioning what you’ve read about coupon language and your ability to interpret the fine print on your coupons.  But chances are, your cashier is the one who is misinformed.  So what should you do?

BE PROACTIVE.

Many store employees don’t understand the concept of stacking or the difference between purchases and transactions.  Unless otherwise stated in the store’s coupon policy or on the coupons themselves, you are allowed to use both a manufacturer coupon and store coupon one item.  And you are allowed more than one identical coupon per transaction, shopping trip, or day.

So you need to be prepared to provide her with the proper information, stated in her own store’s coupon policy, in order to collect your savings and finish the rest of your transaction(s) smoothly.  Pull the store coupon policy out of your binder, and show her what she needs to know.  That’s right, folks – you should keep your store coupon policies in your coupon binder at all times so that you have ammunition in moments like these.

CALL THE MANAGER.

If the cashier becomes confused or simply refuses to follow the guidelines set by the coupon policy, ask her to call the manager.  I know this sounds like an extreme measure, but after your hours of clipping and planning, you deserve to receive the appropriate amount of savings!  I know this can be difficult if you are not confrontational by nature.  I never have been, but when my money is on the line…….

When the manager arrives, politely explain to her the situation.  You may show her your coupon policy as well, but more than likely, she will not need to see it because she’s familiar with what it says.  She’ll merely explain to the cashier what you have probably already said, and your transaction will continue as planned.

CALL CORPORATE.

If you find yourself in the less likely situation where the manager refuses to honor the store’s coupon policy (it happens occasionally), your next move is to call the corporate office.  You may choose to do it while you’re standing right there at the register, but I recommend stepping out of line or heading to the customer service counter to make your call.  There is no need for other customers to get stuck waiting behind you if you’re going to be awhile.

Again, this measure may seem a bit extreme, but it is a necessary action.  Store managers and employees need to understand their own policies, and it is difficult for corporations to enforce that if they don’t know that a problem exists.  Less confrontational folks may want to wait to call corporate until after you’ve left the store.  That’s fine too, just be sure to address your concerns at some point.

WALK AWAY.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, your transaction is not going to go as you had hoped.  If you’ve exhausted all of your options, politely leave your items with the cashier; take back any coupons you may have handed to her; and exit the store.  Sometimes, you just have to walk away.  Try again on another day or at another store.

Coupon Policies You May Need for Your Coupon Binder:

(Of course, there are many other stores you may shop.  Consult their Web sites, customer service desks, or corporate office for their policies if you don’t see them here!)

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