Sunday, January 3, 2010

Every store is different...

When I post a deal that I've gotten, I hope that others can find the same or better at a location near their home, however the caveat is ... every store is different... Despite being part of the same chain, every store seems to set their own coupon policy and handle coupons their own way...

For instance, I posted a great World Market coupon that at least two local Charleston Publix consider to be competitor coupons... then a fan of the blog tried it at a third Publix and found out that they don't take World Market as a competitor there... and the strangest thing is that Publix (Sam Rittenberg/Old Town Road) is probably the closest to WM...

Another difference is that the Publix on James Island (Harborview and Folly Road) takes recently EXPIRED coupons, while I don't know of any other Publix that will.

If I'm going into a new couponning environment, I will usually go to customer service and ask what coupons they will take and what they won't before I start shopping... Another difference is that some BI-LO's will take competitor coupons while others won't.  The new Super Bi-Lo will only take Manufacturer's coupons and their own, not any other store's coupons, but some will.

A new policy I ran into at the Harris Teeter on Savannah hwy is that they will only take 2 manufacturer's internet coupons per type of item per day, so even if you have access to multiple computers to print, you will only be able to get two deals at a time... and of course they have a 20 coupon/day limit total..  They will still accept multiples of clipped coupons though. I'm not sure if this is going to be the same at all HT, but I will be investigating before I shop at other ones in the future...

So, the practical thing to do is to talk to the Cust. Service Manager or general manager at your stores and ask:

Do you have any limits on how I use coupons in your store?
Do you accept internet coupons?
Do you accept competitors coupons?  Who do you consider to be competitors? 

Do you allow coupon stacking (store and manufacturer, competitor and manufacturer, or competitor, store and manufacturer?)
Do you accept recently expired coupons?  For how long?
Do you have a written policy that I can take?

My second tip is to find 'your' cashiers and get to know them... There are 3 or 4 wonderful people that work at my Publix and I try to get into their lines whenever I can... they know that I am a good coupon shopper and try my best to follow the rules... they will also alert me to deals they've been seeing come through or new coupons I may not have found...  The cashiers you want to use are knowledgeable about the coupon policies and will gently correct you without taking up too much time or making a big production... and will take all your coupons with a smile :)

Please keep sharing your info about your local stores - because there are Couponners all over and we may be out & about around town, or there may be a deal that's so good at a store near you that it's worth the drive :D

As we share what we know, we all become better couponners and savers!

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