Are you worried about what other shoppers think of your coupon usage in the checkout lane? My blog readers at JillCataldo.com recently shared words of wisdom for a new couponer. She posted that she'd had a bad experience in the checkout lane on her first coupon-shopping trip and wondered if this was the norm:
"I'm a newbie to couponing and my first day was last week. I'm not sure if I'm going to continue with couponing after what happened to me in line. A customer behind me at checkout started screaming at me because I was "taking too long." Management came and removed her from the lane and put her in another. After she was checked out, my cashier, the cashier from her lane and the front-end manager came over to me and apologized profusely to me. I appreciate the gesture, but I was very upset and embarrassed, and this has put me off from ever couponing again. Has this ever happened to anyone else? If so, how do you deal/continue?"
Readers immediately jumped in with their own tips. I'm sharing my favorites here with you!
"I was at the grocery store and an elderly man, who was at least 5 carts back, yells 'Clip your coupons at home, young lady!' I replied, 'I am sorry to make you wait 30 seconds. Don't worry, the sun will still come tomorrow!' Point is, couponing saves you money, and doing it this way saves you a lot! If you save $40 at the store and it took you 30 minutes to get in and out, you essentially got paid $80 an hour. Don't ever feel bad, embarrassed or shamed for that! Don't give up!"
"Don't forget, coupons are your currency. There's no difference to the store whether you buy something with a $1 coupon or a $1 bill. Envision yourself with a big wad of CASH in your hand? Would people be complaining then? "
"My mother and I recently started couponing together and she was really put off when the first few times it took so long and people behind us complained. The easiest thing to do is start at one store and get to know your friendly cashier there. You'll get used to the stares and the groans. I smile because I'm getting so much stuff for free they do not bother me anymore. Some cashiers don't like it and don't think it's right that we get stuff for free, but it's legit."
"The worst cashier I've ever experienced was at a well-known department store chain. She kept yelling and screaming at me. I had the managers there in seconds and corporate on the phone in minutes. She was making up rules and just releasing all her couponing frustration out on me. It was crazy."
"It is not your fault at all. That person was just really having a bad day whether you had coupons or not. Don't stop saving your hard-earned money just because of one really bad experience. Most people don't say anything, or they move to another lane. I try to give them a heads up that I have coupons, but if they decide to stay, then that is their choice. Just stick to your shopping plan and don't get flustered. You will be fine, because this too shall pass. The savings really are worth it."
"Never, EVER, allow others to keep you from saving your hard-earned money. Develop a thick skin to let the insults bounce off you. Keep your smile at the ready and your sense of humor intact. In the absence of those 'choice words,' learn how to give a good side-eye, loud sigh or come up with something snappy.
"Unfortunately, your first experience was probably your worst. Don't give up because of one rude person."
Smart Living Tip: Don't give up! I've always approached my shopping trips with patience. Shopping early in the morning or later in the evening helps, too, as stores are less busy during this time. And if I've got a lot of coupons, I'll offer to let the person behind me go first.
Email your own couponing victories and questions to email@example.com.