Coupons: When Things Don’t Go as Planned During Checkout

coupon calm

When you first start using coupons one thing you need to be prepared for is dealing with glitches or problems that may occur during check-out.  This can be a major area of stress and anxiety for some people so it is good to think through some common problems before they happen. 

Coupons not scanning – This is probably the most common problem a couponer will face during check out.  Many coupons just simply do not scan properly.  It can be an issue with the coupon itself, product purchased or the store’s scanning equipment/system.  Most store clerks will normally simply re-scan the coupon and then, if that doesn’t work, they will enter it manually for you (after confirming that you purchased the item). 

Tip – if your store doubles coupons under $1.00 make sure that the clerk doubles your coupon (if entering it manually).  Many times I have had to remind the clerk to double the coupons when entering them.

Coupons not registering properly – This one may be harder to catch but I have had coupons not ring in for the proper amount (and in one case not at all).  The clerk was scanning the coupons and they were ‘beeping’ like normal but nothing was coming off my balance.  At the time I was distracted by my daughter (darn candy isle) and didn’t notice it until I looked over my receipt (upon leaving) and saw that hardly any of the coupons were listed.  I went to customer service and they took care of it for me.

Tip – Make sure when coupons are scanned money is actually being deducted from your bill.

Tip – Have a ball park idea of how many coupons you are using and how much savings you are expecting.  This way if your receipt shows something drastically different you know to investigate it further.

Tip – Look over your receipt after checking out to make sure things look ok – don’t just assume they did.

Not knowing the store’s coupon policy – This goes for you (the shopper) and the clerk checking you out.  You can find a store’s coupon policy at their website or at customer service.  It is a good idea to know your primary store’s coupon policy in order to ensure you (and they) are in compliance.  If you encounter a clerk that doesn’t know the policy be polite – often times things change and not everyone is in the ‘loop’. 



Clerk refusing to accept a coupon – This one is probably the most frustrating and has happened to me several times.  For whatever reason the clerk has decided that the coupon you are presenting is not valid or acceptable for the item you are purchasing.  This happen to me recently when the clerk noticed the coupons said “redeemable at Walmart” but was in fact a manufacturers coupon.  She said she could not accept “Walmart coupons”.  I tried to explain that it was a manufacturers coupon and should be accepted anywhere – she disagreed.  I then explained that the store also accepted competitor coupons so a Walmart coupon should be accepted anyway – she disagreed. 

Tip – Stay calm.  You have a few choices.  1. Don’t purchase the item and come back another time.  2. Buy the item anyway without the benefit of the coupon.  3. Ask to speak to the manager.  Which ever you choose it helps to be calm and professional about it.  You know the say “you get more bees with honey than with vinegar” – being nice in this situation can get you a long way.

Tip – Get to know your primary store’s clerks/manager.  If they see you every week (and you are nice to them) they will be more likely to override coupons that are not scanning properly.  Also, avoid checking out with clerks whom you’ve had previous problems with before.  I have no problem waiting in a longer line if I know the clerk running the register knows what they are doing.

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