Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shopping Groove - Coupon Frustrations

I live in a very small town with just a couple of stores.  We have a Rite Aid, a grocery store that is not full service (bag your own, etc.) and it doesn't carry everything you might need, and a full service chain store.
I love, love, love my Rite Aid.  The ladies are awesome and totally support coupon usage.  They are happy when you do well and even give some pointers.  They are wise enough to know that even if my total is almost zero the store is still making money from my purchases through manufacturer reimbursement of coupons.  Two thumbs up for my local Rite Aid!
The basic, grocery store is also great as far as customer service.  You bag your own which is not a problem at all.  It is just hard because they have many off brands (I am not a brand snob at all) but if there is a difference (meaning worse taste for food or inferior result for cleaners) I won't buy the off brand.  I would say 90% of the time the off brand gives an identical taste or result to the name brand, but when it doesn't, I am out.  It is hard to use coupons because they don't carry many of the brands that put coupons out.  They also don't double coupons, but that is ok because their prices are cheaper in the first place.  All in all it is a really great store!  Oh and the produce is good quality with nice prices!
This brings me to the full service chain store.  They carry a wide variety of products and brands, but the prices are not so good.  They double coupons, but some cashiers are annoyed and unpleasant about it.  It's like they think you are ripping off the store and/or affecting their personal paycheck.  Now let's remember that each store (or chain of stores) has a corporate coupon policy in place.  It is to make sure coupons are used correctly to protect the store, the manufacturers and the customers.  Shows like extreme couponing must be staged as it does not work that way in the real world.  Stores like Rite Aid have a limit of 4 of a like coupon, set limits on up rewards and so on.  It is set forth in their coupon policy and as long as you abide by their rules you should be ok.  This protects the store from having their shelves wiped out by one customer so that they have stock for all customers.  It protects the manufacturer because the low cost items are sold to many different customers that get to try their product and hopefully some of them will become repeat customers.  It protects customers in that there should be stock on the shelf when you arrive to make your purchases.  My Rite Aid is great because they follow the corporate policy that has been put in place and are quite pleasant about it.  I know from reading blogs that some people have experienced difficulties with other RAs but mine is great.
My full service store however, is a completely different issue.  They run $1 coupon doublers in their flyer a handful of times per year.  They have a corporate policy in place to address how these doublers and all coupons can be used and my store chooses not to follow the policy.  There are 4 doublers and they can be used as long as your total is $20 after all discounts which is where the discrepancy comes into play.  My store says it has to be $20 after all manufacturer coupons have been deducted, but the other stores in the chain say it has to be $20 after store discounts but can be before manufacturer coupons.  The reason being is that manufacturer coupons are a form of cash payment because they are reimbursed at the full face value plus a few cents for handling by the manufacturer to the store.  I am not such a cheapo that I mind playing by the rules, but I don't like that the rules seem to vary from store to store within the same chain when they all have the same corporate coupon policy and the stores are not individually owned and operated. 
It really bothers me when I go to websites to find matchups for this store and they come out only spending maybe 8 or 10 dollars a transaction and I can't get out of the store spending less than $16.  Let's keep in mind that the store is not losing those extra dollars, they are being reimbursed by the manufacturer who is trying to get people to try their products on the hope that they will become repeat customers, so it behooves the store to have me come in to spend money and coupons vs. my not coming in at all.
The icing on the cake is that I found a link on a website that clarified the policy and if you had any trouble at one of their stores to email them and it would be taken care of right away.  I emailed on Sunday, filled out a form on their website yesterday about this particular store and just now emailed again.  It seems as though it is not important enough to respond to which is quite frustrating.  I will let you know if I hear anything and if I don't I will let you know what chain it is that is frustrating me!
Thanks for listening!

1 comment:

  1. I was going to say contact corporate about this particular store but you are doing that. I'll be interested to see what they say, IF they respond and then which store chain this is... ;-)