Picture this. You are standing at the checkout with a conveyor belt full of items and a handful of coupons. Behind you are two more shoppers who just want to pay and leave. Then IT happens.
Your coupon is scanned and it doesn’t go through or the system beeps to let you know there is an error. You feel your face turn red as you really thought you were doing the right thing. Chance are, you were. The computer system just might have made a mistake. However, there are times when you might have missed something on the coupon.
Here are some of the most common issues shoppers face when trying to redeem coupons. Hopefully this helps you understand before you get frustrated (and to possibly save yourself from embarrassment).
Did it beep due to incorrect items being purchased? I’ve made these honest mistakes before (and you probably have too). For instance, the coupon states $1/2 and I only tossed one into my cart. It might be that the coupon must be used on a specific size and you picked up the wrong one.
When this happens, I either add in the extra item or change my product so that the coupon will be accepted. At no time should you expect the cashier to push the coupon through as you didn’t make the purchase as stated on the coupon.
Did the coupon beep due to the product not being found? I am not sure why this happens, but it does. If you know you purchased the item, just find it in your cart and show the cashier. Or, he/she might just scroll through the list of purchased items to find it instead. Any store can (and should) do this.
Of course, there are also those times when I’ve had a coupon in my hand while doing price comparison. I’ll opt for a different brand and then, inadvertently set the coupon in with the stack I will redeem rather than put it away. When that happens, I apologize and take the coupon back (after I’ve turned 40 shades of red).
Did it beep because the item cost less than the coupon value? This is quite common when the item is on sale for $0.99, but the coupon is for $1 off. I always just kindly point out that the coupon is for $0.01 more than the product and that they probably just need to adjust my coupon value down.
Getting upset that they didn’t give you the extra penny is not right. Stores aren’t required to give you overages (unless stated specifically so in their policy, such as Walmart does). Just make sure the clerk indicates the value they gave you on the coupon as well so that they are reimbursed the proper amount (it is usually coded in the computer system now, but I feel better watching them jot down the reduced value on the coupon – to make sure).
Did you purchase the correct item, in the correct size, but it still beeped? Occasionally, this can happen. It is usually when stores have changed the packaging of the item and as a result, they changed the barcode.
Just find the item in your bag and then review the coupon with the cashier. You can usually confirm that you did purchase the correct item, in the size indicated and they can then override the register and allow the coupon to go through.
Is the coupon to be redeemed elsewhere? Sometimes, manufacturer’s coupons may have fine print that state “redeemable only at ABC store” and you overlooked it. No worries, it happens to us all. Just ask them to give you the coupon back and then if you don’t want the product now, just ask them to remove it from your purchase and they can.
Keep in mind that some stores WILL accept competitors coupons, but it is important to understand the store’s policy. For example, Walmart accepts them – but under specific guidelines. They only accept them for a purchase value and not a value off. That means, if it is a Target store coupon for $1 off, they will not accept it. However, if it is a Walgreens in-ad coupon for $0.79 Dawn Detergent, they will.
I know many people are becoming frustrated with stores cracking down, people clearing shelves and the overall craze of using coupons. When people are trying to use coupons in the wrong way it hurts us all. Stores have to change policies. Manufacturers have to recode coupons. We save less at the store. How does that help us? Just do the right thing when it comes to using your coupons so that we can ALL benefit.