Jill Cataldo: Get credit for all of your coupons
Q I would like some advice on redeeming coupons. No matter what store I go to, if I redeem more than a few coupons, the cashier doesn’t give me credit for all of them. It has happened so often that now I count them when I hand them to the cashier and count the beeps as they scan each coupon. This isn’t foolproof, though.
Other times I have caught the cashier missing my coupons, and I have had to go to customer service (often waiting in a long line) in order to get the credit. Cashiers have admitted to me that they knew they didn’t scan all the coupons.
I am very careful with expiration dates and the number of items that need to be purchased for each one. I think the least a store can do is give me the credit I deserve.
A: Couponing does require a time investment, but the payoff should be sweet: a lowered bill at the cash register. While I haven’t experienced the same frequency of coupon scanning errors, I do have some suggestions as to how to maximize the probability that every coupon will be scanned.
1. Count your coupons.
Before I go to the checkout lane, I quickly thumb through the stack of coupons that I plan to hand to the cashier. Your store receipt will note how many coupons were scanned. Some stores even list the number of total coupons used at the bottom of the receipt. If I know I used 20 coupons but my receipt shows only 19 coupons scanned, I will try to resolve the issue at the cash register or at the customer service counter.
2. Calculate the value of your coupons.
This is similar to the previous tip, but with a twist. Instead of counting the number of coupons, count the value. Then take note of the precoupon total on the register once the cashier has scanned all items. If my precoupon total is $42.98 and I have $24.50 in coupons, I know that if all coupons are scanned, my total should be $18.48 before the tax.
3. The when-all-else-fails method.
If you’re consistently having trouble with cashiers failing to scan each, try handing your coupons to the cashier one at a time. Yes, this is time-consuming and, yes, your cashier may find it frustrating. But it’s a foolproof way to make sure every coupon is scanned.
Smart living tip
To a shopper, coupons are cash. If you’re experiencing negativity from store staff in the checkout lane, remind them that the store makes the same amount of money whether you pay with cash or a coupon. A $1 manufacturer coupon is worth the same to your store as a $1 bill!
Email questions to jill@ctw features.com.