Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Issues couponing of late.
Ah, the sagas of couponing hurdles...
A week or so ago, I ventured out in a snowstorm to my local Walmart. We were low on a lot of items and the snow was supposed to last a few days. I always bring my coupon binder even though I usually have my trips planned ahead of time. This wasn't a big couponing trip and I probably purchased about 30 items total and had around 10-15 coupons. I set my coupons on the shelf next to the credit card scanner as I always do before I began to unload my items onto the belt. The cashier scanned all of my items and bagged them. When I handed her my coupons, she proceeded to unpack all of my bags and dig through my items to verify one by one that I had the items for which I had coupons. She did all this before even attempting to scan the coupons.
After finding all of the items, she proceeded to argue with me about the tampons I had purchased and the pop saying that the pictures on the coupons did not match the items in reality. I pointed out that the wording on the coupons matched the items that I had purchased and she simply stood there and stared at me. I finally suggested, as evenly as I could muster, that she scan the coupons and if there was indeed a problem with the items because the coupon did not scan, we could call a manager over. She continued to argue about my Pepsi coupon to the point where I told her to just hand the coupons back to me, I decided that saving $4 took less precedence than the blinding snowstorm outside. All of the other coupons rang just fine and as a parting comment she told me, "Next time you should match your coupons with your items to make it easier on me." Easier on you? I am the customer, it is your job to ring my items and coupons.
The second story from the same store simply enrages me. One of the other bloggers of this site stopped in to take advantage of the clearance cat food deal that was posted yesterday. She was making it a quick trip because she was pressed for time and she was accompanied by her sister who is nine months pregnant and her three year old niece. The coupons scanned perfectly but the cashier noted the fine print where it said only four like coupons per transaction. She called the customer service manager over who said that in order to purchase more than four, they needed to purchase four, walk out the front doors of the store and back in, purchase four more and repeat. After the manager left, the cashier voided the order, so the group was forced to stand there in embarrassed silence, holding up a line while they waited for the CSM to return to void the order.
The logical approach would have been to do what every other store in the world seems to have implemented, simply doing separate transactions, but apparently logic in this instance was to make a hugely pregnant woman, her young daughter, and her sister walk back and forth. They did this twice before their humiliation and embarrassment caught up to them and they left the rest of their purchases in the store.
One of the major problems with some stores, and Walmart is one of the biggest perpetrators of this, is that the coupon policy seems to vary by cashier, manager, store, time of day, weather, what have you, I have had occasions where I got a deal one day using a coupon, came into the same store the next day to get the same thing to be told I could not use the coupon for it or I simply got a hassle for trying. We shouldn't be forced to try to guess which cashier we can utilize to ensure we are treated decently.
Couponers are no different than any other customer who walks into the store, they are spending just as much money as anyone else, stores are reimbursed for the value of the coupon plus a handling fee. Regardless of how we pay for our purchases, every customer should be entitled to the same level of customer service.
I have been hearing a lot of complaints about what couponers are forced to contend with while trying to give stores their patronage. There are a lot of misconceptions leveled at couponers, as if we are doing something wrong by trying to save money. I will grant that there are greedy couponers out there that stretch rules or try to scam, but they are by far not the majority. If these stores do not wish the patronage of couponers, they simply need to say so and we will search for our bargains elsewhere.