Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coupon Frustration

The longer that you coupon (and at the beginning stages of couponing), the more likely you are to experience what I like to call coupon frustration.  I'm sure that my husband does not enjoy the phone calls he receives from me after a bad couponing experience, but bless his heart, he tolerates them anyways.  I experienced some coupon frustration tonight at one of my favorite stores, and had to make a phone call to their corporate office to find out why my coupon scenario worked at one of their stores yesterday, but did not work out today at another, even after consulting with a manager.  The customer service representative at the corporate office informed me that they have had numerous phone calls surrounding this issue and said that their supervisors are addressing the issue due to the recent problems that have arisen with extreme couponers wanting to be like the couponers profiled on the Extreme Couponing show.

Some of you may be familiar with the show Extreme Couponing on TLC.  The show focuses on couponers who put a lot of hours into hunting for and buying mass quantities of coupons to get as many products as they can for a mere fraction of the retail price.  Unfortunately, the original intent of this show was not to show how couponers can hoard products for themselves.  It was originally slated as a show to teach the art of couponing and how to save money on products your family would normally use, especially during a time when money is tight for so many.  Once the producers learned that there were individuals who could take this to the extreme, the show's original intent was lost.

I have been frustrated with this show as it does not showcase a "normal" couponer.  So many of us were using coupons before this show hit the airwaves (if you read the about me in this blog, you will learn that my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother have all used coupons and rebates for decades).  Those of us who use coupons now face added scrutiny from cashiers and are sometimes made to feel like criminals (especially when a coupon is used to get a product for FREE) thanks to the bad rap this show is giving couponers.

Now there are some positives to the Extreme Couponing show.  It has motivated a good number of people to try to use coupons to help with their family's budget.  It has also raised an awareness among merchants that people still do use coupons and have made some stores more welcoming to coupon users.  I still feel that the show could portray more real life scenarios.  A lot of the show is filmed just to get your attention and is played up.  There is also some skepticism as to whether or not fraud is being committed by some on the show.  You can find a post written by Nathan Engles (he has appeared on Extreme Couponing twice) on that topic HERE.

Will I stop using coupons due to this coupon frustration?  Heck no!  It's still worth it to me to save that extra money for my family and allow me to continue on our debt snowball.  Does this coupon frustration happen every time I use coupons?  Definitely not.  Most of my transactions are smooth as can be.

I want to be honest and ethical with my use of coupons.  Individuals are finding more and more ways to "work the system" and this blog is not what that is about.  I will not knowingly misuse a coupon.  When you're new to using coupons, you have lots of questions and will learn by trial and error.  If you ever have any questions, please let me know and I will try to answer them from my own experiences.  Please know that the links you find in this site are not fraudulent and that I am committed to ethical coupon use.  I welcome your questions and comments!

May your coupon frustrations be few and far between.  Blessings to you and your family!


Anonymous,  May 30, 2011 at 11:40 AM  

Hello I started couponing recently to help my family. I am so frustrated right now because of the problems I am encountering. I tried to buy 3 items; one drug store wouldn’t not accept the coupon because it was more than the product (1.00 and item cost .99cents) another one will accept all three of the coupons and anther will only accept two when you buy three items. Let me clarify I shopped at all the same chain and it’s the same item. Yes do watch the extreme couponing show, but I am getting addicted to not paying full price. The people do treat me like a criminal and it’s frustrating!!!! Will it get easier? What can I do about these contradicting polices?

bargainfindingmama May 31, 2011 at 5:43 PM  

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you out. First, check the coupon policy of the store that you are shopping at. Find out if they will give overage if a coupon exceeds the amount of the item. If they do not, a store manager may have to adjust the amount of the coupon. This will sometimes depend on the age of the register machine which may be why one store in a particular chain will accept the item and the next one will not allow it through without beepage.

Once you find a coupon friendly cashier at a store that you shop at, it may be worth the trouble to only shop at that store during the hours that particular cashier works.

The order that you hand over coupons can also cause issues. I have found that using a manufacturer coupon first, and then using the store coupon will usually allow a purchase to go through without beepage.

If you still run into problems, print the store's coupon policy and bring it with you. If the cashier could care less, ask for a manager. If the manager could care less, you may have to call the corporate office and explain the problems that you are running into.

Good luck! It will get easier the longer you coupon b/c you will end up with more coupon deals to shop for and if a certain deal doesn't work out for you, you just move on to the next one that will. Those frustrating days will come, but just let it roll off your back knowing that what you are doing is going to help your family in the long run!

Anonymous,  June 2, 2011 at 8:16 PM  

Thank you so much for getting back to me. I love your blog. I did take your advice and called the corporate headquarters. They seemed like they generally cared. The person I spoke to even solve the problem of with the coupon value exceeding the product price. I thought that was great! I just received a phone call from the store manager asking me to call him regarding the compliant. Wow can’t believe that. Thank you for all your tips. I will definitely pay more attention to the best times to shop with certain cashiers. I can’t until I have more than one choice; so I can move on to the next great deal.

Thank You

bargainfindingmama June 2, 2011 at 10:33 PM  

You are so welcome! This made my day :) Good luck with your future couponing adventures and thanks for following my blog!

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