This week’s column is a grab bag of reader feedback, from a question about expired coupons to a plea for patience from a customer service employee.
Q: My grocery store accepts coupons that are expired as long as they scan. But who pays for that expense, the manufacturer of the coupon or the store? Also, is there a turnaround time for the store so it receives credit for the coupon?
A: It varies by manufacturer, but there’s usually a window of time after the expiration date of a coupon when the store can send it in for redemption. The grace period can range from 90 to 180 days. If the store turns in its expired coupons within that window, it will receive reimbursement. A store that accepts expired coupons that do not scan will take the hit for the expense, not the manufacturer.
Q: I work for a retail company that processes coupons. I’ve been under the impression that if a coupon says “manufacturer coupon,” any store can accept it, even if ano-ther store paid to advertise its name on the coupon. However, I ran across a coupon the other day that said “manufacturer coupon” and had the printed statement, “Only redeemable at (name of store).”
A: While a store may put its name or logo on a coupon for promotional purposes, a manufacturer coupon is an offer that is reimbursed by the manufacturer. Many stores include wording in their coupon policies that state that they’ll accept all manufacturer coupons, no matter what is printed on them. Double-check your store’s coupon policy to be sure.
Q: I have been in retail for 40 years and I would like you to explain couponing etiquette to customers. Cashiers always try to take care of the coupon ladies. But why do some of them treat us so badly?
Please let readers know that we sign paperwork that says we can lose our jobs if we accept expired coupons. Also, please ask readers to understand that counterfeit coupons are always circulating. We have a long list that we use to check the validity of a coupon. Be patient and show us some respect, and we will do what we can to help you.
A: I’ll happily remind readers that there’s no reason to treat cashiers with aggression. Most cashiers will be happy to accept valid coupons without issue. But remember: While there are many “coupon ladies” in the world, a lot of men coupon, too!
Jill Cataldo, is a coupon workshop instructor. Learn more at her website, www.jillcataldo.com.