Double trouble for coupons
Q: Why do some stores double coupons and others don't? It drives me crazy that my sister can get double the value of her coupons at the stores near her, but the ones near me never offer a similar deal. How can I get my store to double my coupons?
A: Coupon doubling is when a store offers to double the value of a coupon at checkout. Markets that offer double coupon promotions are hot spots for coupon shoppers. But not all supermarkets take part.
Doubling tends to be regional. Some areas have it, others don't. Stores lose money when they offer these deals, so they're not always eager to do so. No store has an obligation to double coupons. It's a powerful promotional tool retailers use to lure shoppers and keep them coming back. In less competitive markets, stores aren't likely to offer them.
Where I live in suburban Chicago, stores rarely double coupons. Some occasionally run promotions doubling five coupons on a certain day, usually with a $25 minimum purchase.
A few years ago, a new grocery chain opened stores in our area. This chain operates stores in Indiana and Michigan, and doubles coupons in those states. But the chain doesn't double coupons in Chicago. Why not? Because the competitive situation in our market doesn't require it. The store looked at the other two market chains in Chicago; neither of them double coupons, so this new chain chose not to, either.
If stores in your area don't double coupons, there are plenty of ways to save big with coupons, even without promotions.
Q: Why do some coupons state "Do not double?" If the store is paying to double it, why should the company who makes the item care if it is doubled?
A: Manufacturers limit discounts for a couple of reasons. They might think of their product as high-end and not want it to look like a bargain buy.
The coupons you find on shelf tear pads and dispensers almost always state, "Do not double." This is to protect the store from taking a big hit on a particular offer given the hundreds of coupons right there for the taking.
And while the store agreed to double coupons, they're banking on shoppers bringing in their own coupons, not redeeming half a dispenser at once.
Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor. Visit www.jillcataldo.com.