Coupon Redemption Policies
Each store coupon policy varies by chain, location and management. Most chain grocery stores leave the discretion of the actual coupon redemption policy up to the managers. Previously, I have shopped at 2 Fry’s Food Stores in the same afternoon, both were located less than 15 miles from each other; however with the same coupons on the same day, the respective managers of each location explained completely different coupon redemption practices. Each store will definitely vary by geographic location, so it’s best to carry a copy of your stores coupon policy, with you at all times. I have added special plastic sleeves to hold these policies in my binder, as well as making sure to contact the store I will be shopping at, before I shop; just in case there have been changes to the policy.
On a previous shopping trip to +Acme in Lawrenceville, New Jersey; I stepped up to the customer service counter to ask for a copy of the current coupon policy. However the clerk was rude and dismissive, stating that its proprietary information that she cannot share. This elicited a reply from me asking “wouldn’t ACME Markets benefit from teaching their coupon policy to the public?” she just rolled her eyes and looked away. This is a general attitude towards couponers, so if your looking to be an extreme couponer very soon; beware of the negativity that you will encounter from such people. This kind of stuff makes me think, but then after sharing my experience with someone, it leaves my mind just as quickly as it entered. Unlucky for ACME, that day my story was derived from a negative place and it fell on the ears of other shoppers at the next outlet I visited.
Beware of Store Scammers
Its unfortunate that many grocery stores and discount stores choose to scam their customers and the manufacturers outright. If you read the fine print on your coupons, each one presents a statement to the Retailer. The statement is almost always the same on each and every coupon. It states the following; RETAILER: (fill in company name) will redeem this coupon for the face value plus 8 cents if submitted in compliance with its coupon policy. They then give the retailer the mailing address for collection of the funds. Now as I read it in its entirety, I understand that the manufacturer is going to give the store, which just sold me the product, the value of the coupon plus 8 cents. However despite the fact that the retailer will receive all the monies from the coupon, some chains such as +ShopRite and +Target choose to only give the shopper (you and I) the value for the actual product, if the price is less than the coupon.
Let me explain that in a little less words. You redeem a coupon for $1.50 off (1) one Chapstick that is on sale for $0.99 at ShopRite. Now even though the manufactures of Chapstick will be sending the $1.50 plus $0.08 to the retailer (in this case ShopRite) you would assume that you would get the difference put towards your remaining products, just at its done at +Walmart and +Acme and +Fry’s; but its not. Instead that $0.59 goes to ShopRite’s profit and bottom line.
Now I know your thinking its going to be FREE anyway, why aren’t you happy with the ShopRite’s coupon redemption policy? Well I’m not happy because that was just one coupon that will be making +ShopRite $0.59 in profits, which they are not sharing with their customers, plus they are cheating the manufacturer out of those funds; because the manufacturer gave them the total amount of the face value plus $0.08.
Now imagine that each of the more than 230 ShopRite stores, located across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland, redeem that same coupon each day for 10 people, over a 1 month period. That would give the retailer $5.90 for every 10 customers who redeemed that coupon; however since ShopRite is the “largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States and the largest employer in New Jersey.” (borrowed from their website located at http://www.shoprite.com/about-us/ ) they don’t only collect 300 of those coupons for the month, but each of the locations also collect the same amount. With 230 ShopRite stores, they have now redeemed 69,000 coupons for the $1.50 discount on Chapstick. However since the policy at ShopRite is to lower your coupon to the actual price of the product; they have amassed…are you ready? Its mind blowing what they can and do amass this way. They have collected an extra $40,710 for the month from that (1) one coupon alone. Yes it was one coupon, imagine how much they amass with the rest of the coupons?
This practice is being conducted by ShopRite, Target and a few others (i’ve only been told about the others and have not experienced it, so I won’t mention them here until I encounter this scam else where). Its not very nice to the supporters of those chains and its even worse on the workers. Its worse on the workers because each and every time a coupon is redeemed for even $0.01 over the coupon value, the clerk has to stop ringing groceries to wait for an override. Today my (4) four coupons for $1.00 of (1) one Poland Springs Sparkling water detained me and 4 other shoppers for a minimum of (10) ten minutes, as we waited for a manager to perform the override. This happens everyday, at least 50 times a day per shift as told to me by a clerk at ShopRite.
Now tell me does it make sense to scam your shoppers, the manufacturers and put so much stress on the grocery clerks? Does it makes sense for a chain to hold up shoppers because they want to pocket that extra $0.04 plus $0.08 per coupon, from my purchase? That is wherein lies the problem. They are creating havoc in a place that should be more concerned with customer service, not scamming the customer, manufacturer and the workers. I have listened to many clerks complain and pick apart the policy, so if they are talking with me, i’m sure they are talking with their supervisors as well, but maybe their cries are falling on deaf ears.
It makes me wonder if they are claiming those extra funds on their profit statements. I know I have the right to shop elsewhere, but I strongly felt that this scam needed to be brought to light. Especially because I do coupon extremely for charity each and every cent counts; so if my coupon is going to give me FREE products or reduced price products, I have to utilized them to help others. What I don’t have to do is stand by quietly and watch corporations which claim to be “dedicated to supporting the communities in its trading areas.” (borrowed from http://www.shoprite.com/about-us/ ), taking advantage of those said communities.
While social policies had a tendency to dictate where my monies were spent in the past; after having couponed for the last 6 months, I don’t need money to purchase anything from the grocery stores, pharmacies, cosmetic counters or health and beauty products; so I can now shop anywhere, because I won’t be voting for them with my dollars. I can even shop from businesses which I normally would not even give a nickel, without remorse. One of them such places is +Walmart. After hearing the complaints and reports of complaints which fell on deaf ears, from female employees of +Walmart, I quickly opted out of shopping or spending any money at that chain. After hearing about the fraud they were involved with in Mexico, whereby they scammed farmers out of property just to build in a non-commercial area, I am pleased every time they pay me to take product out of their stores.
Given the fact that +Walmart doesn’t scam their customers out of manufacturer coupon values, plus the fact thay they give you cash back for anything that rings up higher than the value of your total products purchased; this place is the best place for any extreme couponer. I shopped there the other day, purchased $97.00 worth of donations for the City of Angels Organization and Walmart paid me $8.45 to take the product out of the store.
Lowest Priced Products
After 6 months of price comparisons at many retailers and big box chains, I can firmly state that there isn’t one chain or store that has overall lower prices than another. Each store is expensive in some products, while being the least expensive for other products-at the same time, not even close proximity of the stores creates likeness in price. I think pricing has to do with volume, whereby retailers get a discount at different times, so the wise extreme couponers shop everywhere.
When your couponing extremely it is always best for you to be prepared with store coupon policies, social policies and the manufacturers coupon policies. Having everything in order before you get to the store will make your shopping trip go much more smoothly. Choose your grocery stores and big box retailers wisely and stay in your positive frame of mind, or else your shopping trip will be a very hectic one.