e-Course: Handling Store Confrontations

by Beth Montgomery on April 19, 2010 · 2 comments

in Coupons & Rebates, Tips & Basics

This is Part 19 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents. View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu.   Want to make sure you don’t miss a new course?   Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS or e-mail!

It’s inevitable.   Sometime in your couponing career, more often than we like, we run into that cashier.   Sometimes they simply refuse to take one or more of your coupons and other times they treat you like   criminal.

First, it’s important to put things into perspective.   With couponing becoming so popular, the rules are changing often.   Many cashiers and managers are often simply confused or don’t understand and they’re trying hard to do their job.

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.   ~Jesse Jackson

- – How to Avoid It – -

Build a relationship. Early in my couponing career, I tried to fly under the radar.   I’d head to the teenage cashier who looked like he could care less what coupons I used and what I bought.   It took me too long to realize, that the other way is much better.   Now, instead of hiding, I make myself known.   I often visit the same stores, especially CVS and Target, so I look for familiar cashiers.   Building a relationship with cashiers and managers helps them learn that you’re one of the “good ones”, because there are so many “bad ones” out there.

Plan Ahead & Gain Knowledge. Make sure you have your stuff in order.   Plan out your shopping trip, read the fine print on coupons, and know your store’s coupon policies.   Also, if you have repeated issues, it never hurts to carry your store’s coupon policy with you.   You can usually get it from their website or via e-mail if you contact headquarters.

Stay Prepared. In store, make sure you stay organized.   If an item is sold out, remove the coupon from the stack you plan to hand the cashier, so you don’t end up using a coupon for a product you don’t have.   Simply watching and paying attention in store, can help you out too.

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.   ~Author Unknown

- – How to Handle It – -

1. Make sure you’re right. I can’t count the number of times, especially in the early days, that I’d hand my coupons over and one or more would be rejected.   Maybe I argued, maybe I kept quite, but once I opened my eyes, I saw they were right.   Maybe there was tiny print saying “one per customer” or whatever.   And it’s okay to be wrong now and then.   We’re human.   Simply apologize, decide if you want the product or not without the coupon, and move on!

2. Put it into perspective. If your $0.25 Do Not Double coupon is rejected, is it worth the hassle?   In my mind, no.   It would probably take longer to argue the issue and time is money!   But, if it’s your $3/1 coupon, well that’s another story.   That one I may be willing to go to the mat over, politely of course.

3. Kindly explain. Maybe the cashier is just confused, so put on your polite smile and explain.   If she’s telling you that your coupon says “one per purchase” and you’re trying to use 2 coupons on the 2 products you have in your cart, smile.   Then explain that you’re purchasing two of them.

4. Ask for a manager. A manager may know the coupon policies a bit better and can straighten things out, but at times they are confused as well, so repeat step 3 if necessarily and kindly explain.   If the manager tells you know, decide if you want the products or not and move on.   This isn’t over yet.

5. Tattle. This is one of those time that I condone tattling.   Call up headquarters, who is often very knowledgeable on coupons and policies. Explain the situation and hopefully they can straighten it out, so you won’t run into the issue again in the future.

6. Go to the extreme. If headquarters has your back, but you’re still having issues in store, program the headquarter’s phone number into your cellular phone.   Then, next time you run into the issue, call up headquarters and put them directly on the line with the manager, so they can work it out and get on the same page.

7. Move on & wait. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you won’t get your way.   So, maybe it’s time to look for another store or modify your shopping plans in the future.   And don’t be afraid to check back in the future to see if there have been any changes.   New stores are getting “coupon 101″ crash courses, so many more are up to speed.

I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.   ~Rudyard Kipling

- – What to Avoid – -

Do not cause a loud scene. It only makes you look ridiculous and often makes the manager or cashier so angry they are even less willing to listen to you.

Don’t make empty threats. Don’t tell them you’ll never come back, if you will.   Don’t tell them how much you spend and how much money they’ll lose without you, because you are only 1 out of the thousands of other shoppers who do frequent the store.   The loss of one customer usually doesn’t really hurt them.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.   ~Plato

- – Additional Resources from Previous Posts – -

Confused or want more help? Don’t forget that I teach classes and speak in the Central Indiana area! Use the code ClippingMyBudget to get $10 off a public class.

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