Cashier Coupon Scrutiny!

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Are you having problems using coupons?!
What is the deal these days with cashiers thinking that the coupons we use somehow come out of their paychecks? I just DON’T UNDERSTAND! It seems we should get praised for how much we save with the economy as bad as it is!

Now I’m not by any means trying to say there aren’t some fabulous cashiers out there because trust me, I know quite a few… check out this post to see what I mean!

I have gotten lots of emails lately about coupon usage and what to do when a store employee doesn’t want to accept a manufacturer coupon. Here are a few things I try to do and say to make sure ALL my coupons get scanned:

  • The first thing I do, this might sound a little funny, is look around and see what cashiers I have to choose from. Sometimes just by looking at facial expressions you can tell who is in a great mood and well… who is NOT so happy! Obviously, I always choose the perkiest of the bunch!
  • As I get up to the register I always, I mean ALWAYS strike up a conversation! Whether it be complimenting them on a piece of jewelry they have or how it hasn’t stopped raining outside. I always come up with something to say. Being friendly seems to help BIG TIME!
  • Now the hard part–Your coupon gets scrutinized! What to do? First NEVER get angry, that will do nothing for you. Stay calm and realize that most of the time when someone is worried about accepting your coupon it’s because they are not educated at all on the use of manufacturers coupons and may be worried they will get in trouble. The is the time to become their little teacher and educate them. I make it short and sweet–Your store will get reimbursed for each coupon that I’m using. Coupons to your store are pretty much the same as me using cash instead. Either way they will get their money. Then I go on to explain that coupons are coded to beep if I didn’t buy the correct item which usually gives the cashier the initiative to go ahead and scan the coupon.
  • Does she still not want to scan the coupon? If so, my next step usually involves flipping through the sales ad and finding a spot where it says coupon saving in the paper. Walgreen’s and CVS have this displayed in lots of places in their ads. This really helps if you can find the exact picture of what you’re purchasing with coupon savings written beside it. Basically, that pretty clearly says you CAN use a manufacture coupon to purchase your item. This happened with the Garnier products that were on sale for $2.99 at Walgreen’s previously. There was an EasySaver $2 Walgreen’s coupon that would make the price only $0.99! Plus,  if you used the $1/1 manufacturer coupon it would make the shampoo FREE! One cashier told me I couldn’t use the manufacturer coupon, so I politely showed her the ad where it pictured the Garnier product at $0.99 after EasySaver coupon… BUT is also had look for saving in the paper written beside it too! Of course after seeing that she went ahead and let me use it.
  • If you’re still having problems, your next step is to ask for a manager. Go through the above steps again with the manager and see if that works. If not, get his name and nicely let him know that you will be calling corporate about this. Sometimes just by saying that they will go ahead and let you use the coupons. Either way give corporate a call and see what they say about the problems with coupons usage your encountering!

Do you have any other coupon tips?
Please feel free to share!

Join The Discussion

Comments 152

  1. Sandra

    Wow so many people have opinions on coupons, and so many different stores do things differently! I think it totally depends on the store! There is a pretty new CVS store that was built near my job and I love it! If I want to go to CVS, I go there even though there are 2 or 3 stores closer to my house.
    The manager, Chris, is AWESOME! He knows I shop there all the time and that I use coupons. He always tries to make them work even if the computer beeps. I never understand why it beeps, because I try to use them correctly, but sometimes it does…like when you find an item on clearance and you want to use a coupon on it. (that’s not illegal, right??)
    Recently I was sick for a couple of weeks and didn’t get in to use my ECB bucks… When I finally did get there, I asked him if I could still use them even though they technically expired a couple of days before and he said I could. (some of the other CVS stores I don’t think would have been this nice)
    It’s that kind of customer service that keeps me coming back to that store! I would much rather shop at my new CVS than WalMart anyday.
    Thanks to those cashiers that don’t mind their customers using coupons to get the best deals!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      I found out that ECB’s never expire. The computer will always accept them.

      • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

        Actually they do expire and it will not take it. I know bc i work at cvs. But if ur ecb’s do expire u can call 1800shopcvs and they can reissue them for u. And that will take up to 48hours

        • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

          I did not know you could call cvs about expired ecb that is so cool

  2. Collin (Mrs. Hip)

    I work for a local store and don’t get me wrong I use coupons, too. However, a lot of people are using coupons incorrectly and my store (a large drug chain), are debuting on allowing the use of coupons at all any more. Yes, we understand that this will upset a lot of customers and we may lose money as well. However, the amount of money that we are losing because of coupons is much higher. There is nothing wrong with using proper coupons, but you have to understand that as a company we have to prove that the coupon that a customer has used was taken for the correct item. If we can not prove this then we do not get reimbursed. I hear over and over again if it scans than you will be reimbursed unfortunately this is not true and we have lost to cashiers because they took coupons for the wrong merchandise. I understand that everyone is just trying to save money but trying to talk a cashier into taking a coupon that is not legitate is jepordizing their jobs and weather or not these stores will continue to allow the use of coupons.

    • Lily

      I am sad to here that people lose their jobs over helping customers use their coupons. It is too bad that certain store are more limited to what type and how they take coupons, those will be the store that start too lose a lot of business. Some clearing houses are more stringent than others and I know that where I work as long as you are taking the coupon for the product indicated, even if it beeps, you are doing nothing wrong and no one is getting fired over such a little thing. Coupons, as long as they are not fraudulent, bring in a lot of guaranteed money, especially since we are also getting 8cents on every coupon we send in,so I say the more the merrier.

  3. Maman A Droit

    I think you should definitely add “know what your coupon says and use it correctly” as a tip. I used to be a Target manager and most problems I saw with coupons resulted from people not reading them correctly. For example, if it says “non-tranferable” and you got it in an e-mail from a friend, it’s either a fake or you are breaking the rules. The Target policy was 1 manufacturer and 1 Target coupon per item, and items could be free, but you can’t get cash (I.e. $1 off a $.75 item would make it free, but you wouldn’t get a quarter). Not sure if it’s changed.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      I have a problem understanding this. Target doesn’t allow overage, however the manufacturer coupon indicates that they are reimbursed face value + $0.08 handling.

      So they are making money by not allowing overage. In this case, $0.33

      • myboysrmyjoys2

        I have always wondered about this. Would a retailer please reply to this question? Does the store get reimbursed $1.00 when I use a $1.00 coupon on a .97 cent item? Speaking of fraud. It sounds like this would be considered fraud if this is indeed how it works.

        • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

          You have to send in proof that the coupon was used on the correct item and the amount that was allowed. If you can not do this you do not get the money back. Because of the “fraud” that so many customers are doing many stores are not getting back the money on those coupons. People do not realize that when the stores are losing money they are going to stop trying to help the customers try to save money.

  4. retail employee

    As a retail employee AND fellow couponer I must speak out. I worked customer service today and had a woman try to return ALOT of merchandise that she had used HIGH value coupons on. She had bought 6 (SIX) bottles of olay body wash with $4.00 coupons for all….and numerous other items…..all in quanity with high value coupons.When I informed her we can only give back what she actually PAID……she asked for her coupons back!! It’s time that the coupon abusers realize….the retailer CANNOT give you cash for coupons!! We run across these scams CONSTANTLY. I LOVE to clip and use coupons but I also follow the rules.Next time you are in line and a coupon gets turned down………please don’t get physco on us…..we have to follow company rules.For you coupon abusers…..PLEASE…don’t try to use more than allowed or coupons for items you don’t HAVE.I am tired of people telling me “as long as I have enough items it should go through”. You are the very people that are making retail crack down on coupons!!

  5. DP

    @ Retail Employee,

    I also worked as amanager in retail for many years, and on the flip side of your post it would be helpful if cashiers did not say, “you can’t do this or that” when in fact you can and they simply do not know their store policy.

  6. Michelle

    You know,
    Recently I have begun to ask all of those super happy (sarcasm) cashiers who won’t let me get an item for cheap or free: “Are you upset because I am matching my coupons with the store sale to get a great deal? or are you upset because you aren’t getting the same deal?”
    Usually, they realize that they are not mad at me, they are mad at themselves.
    Sometimes this helps the situation, once it made it alot worse! Oh well…..

  7. leonardml

    I had a cashier at my local WallyWorld refuse a mfg’s Q for a free DiGiorno single pizza. It was a regular-sized coupon printed on a piece of paper and I had clipped it off the page so it would fit in my coupon caddy. I received it in the mail and it had a security seal imprinted all over the back of the coupon. The cashier repeatedly commented it looked like it had been printed from a computer and refused to take it. Said it was the store’s policy to accept BOGO Q’s, but not free ones because of consumer misrepresentation ?!? I have to say, I felt insulted and did get a bit petulant, but just took my freebie-Q back and used it at FoodLion later with nary a quip. TOBAL!

  8. Holly

    How do you go about explaining that you can use a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale, getting both items for free?

    • DP


      How it was expained to me? The coupon is like cash to the retailer, plus .08. They are making money, opposed to someone who does not have a coupon. Or, that the store sale has nothing to do with a MC. I also would like to hear more, as it has been a problem recently.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      cvs lets u do it. It does not matter the sale, and u can u a legit manufacturer on anything except prescrictions. Even if it makes the iteam free. And that is company policy.

    • Retail Manager

      Uhm. NO you CANNOT use a coupon on an item you are receiving for FREE!! People who think this way are the reasons retailers are cracking down on coupon use. I am a retail manager and my company has a weekly report just for bad coupons. The hammer is falling and no cashier is going to risk losing their job to save you .30 cents. Get over yourselves already.

  9. Kathy Byrom

    My preferred grocery store (Brookshire’s) advised me that they do NOT accept computer printed coupons. (Especially coupons for anything FREE!) If it is a Manufacturer’s Coupon, they expect it to be in a magazine or newspaper— or preferrably come straight from the manufacturer.

  10. dr_beanz

    I wasn’t sure what to do the other day when I was in the store and I had laid down my fabric bags on the belt and then put my coupons on top of some my grocery items and the cashier put the coupons on the belt and then proceeded to suck them into the conveyor belt which she told me they could not be retrieved from. It was upsetting but she didn’t apologize; I was just so taken aback I was speechless. Has any else ever had this happen?

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      The grocery store I worked at had what I think of as a “crumb tray.” It was there so crumbs and things that fell down could be emptied.

      That situation has happened there before and you just take the tray out and grab it.

  11. DP

    I worked as a manager for 10 years in a retail grocery store, and yes, I have seen coupons, money ect slide into the conveyer belt. But there is a little drawer, as well as access into the belt on the side of each register where your cashier probably could have retrieved the coupons, if she were not being lazy. You would be suprised at how much money was found by pulling out the drawers at the end of the day. Similar to a toaster’s crumb tray.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Just saw this, I pretty much said the same thing up there ^^

      • DP

        It’s ok, Jill – no worries! Fun, wasn’t it?

  12. Kathy

    Same Here, im only 12 but i love using coupons so i try my best to find a good cashier but sumtimes it dosent work out and they try to scam me because im younger! My mom is not so patient so mosttimes i have o just take the item out even though i know it is the right product and the right coupon!!!

    • Lauren

      I know how you feel i’m 13 and i do all the coupons in my house and i have the same problem all the time they think just becuase i’m a teenager and not an adult they must know more than i do about it which is usually very untrue

      • kathy

        OMG! your a couponer to! I hate it when they do that to me I am now 13. They always try to scam me and tell me otherwise! I know what im doing,sometimes I even talk to the cashiers like they are stupid! Slowly,and tell tehm how to do it. LOL One of my walgreens dosent like me cuz I always go and get free merch!

      • kathy

        I always thougt I was alone being 13 and a couponer but now I knw ur outhtere Lauren! YES!!

  13. Collin (Mrs. Hip)

    I just left Rite Aid the cashier wouldn’t take any of my coupons that I printed from She said there was no bar code but there is a bar code but I don’t see any numbers. Please anyone help! Am I doing something wrong?
    Signed Seriously Confused 🙁

    • LaVern

      I just saw this today. I don’t know if you ever got an answer to this question. It’s true you need the bar code and the numbers to print on the coupon. I have noticed when my ink is about out in the printer the last part of the coupon sometimes does not get printed. The bar code is there but the numbers below it are not there. When I have had coupons print like this I know I can’t use that coupon and have to just throw it away. Hope this helps.

  14. Collin (Mrs. Hip)

    quick note on coupons. Deals now accepts manufacturer coupons. However, the cahsier was very anxious when I presented mine the other day, and had a manager sign off on every single coupon.

  15. Melody

    I agree with all about cashiers checking coupons out…..BUT nothing was said about customers that bring in EXPIRED COUPONS……at our store, we are not allowed to accept them, and it’s very frustrating when the customer says “But it’s only a week past.” OR:, “I didn’t remember I’ve had it in my purse, and I have been in the store a lot this month. Can’t you just take this Register Reward, even though it’s a month out of date, because it’s a $5.00 reward?” Sorry expired is expired, much as I would like to accommodate my customer, it does not change the fact that it’s past the usable date.

    • kathy

      but why would rr expire I think they shouldt you baught the participating items and it should be valid for a very log time not just a month!

      • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

        Actually they expire in two weeks from the date of the purchase.

  16. mary kasprowicz

    Hi. I work at a Walgreens. And i am the best cashier to come too because i love to SAVE money. I like to help people save money as well. Walgreens corporate did send a email out that we are not allowed to accept any coupons printed from the computer over $3.00 now They are really worried about the printable coupons that are fake, Which is alot of them out there. Alot of the stores may not have gotton the email about the coupons but if you come across some of the cashiers that won’t take the coupon please understand their position..I have had alot of people get angry at me. I do my best to make everyone happy. Being a cashier isn’t an easy job.
    Mary K.
    P.S.happy couponing!

  17. tom

    you really need the bar code and the numbers to print on the coupon. I have noticed when my ink is about out in the printer the last part of the coupon sometimes does not get printed. The bar code is there but the numbers below it are not there.
    lake charles self storage

  18. drbeanz

    What do you do if you realize after you get home that a cashier took your coupon, but didn’t scan it. This happens to me a lot. Yesterday I had a free Advil coupon ($3.98) and a $1.00 off one that the cashier didn’t scan. It’s difficult usually to even see what they’re doing what the coupons at the end of the order. Any ideas?

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      When you get up to the cashiers counter keep everything in your cart and then put the items you have coupons for up one by one and put the coupon with the right item. That way the cashier will scan the item and then scan the coupon right then. After the transaction is complete, move your stuff a little bit away and then check the receipt before you leave the store and if something is wrong or if you have questions go back to the cashier and ask them to explain.

  19. LIZZ


  20. Johanna

    Are you serious? You don’t have to educate cashiers on coupons. We look at them to make sure, 1. They meet the requirements. 2. They are within the expiration date. 3. They aren’t forgeries.

    Now many say why can’t we use forgeries, not like its taken out of the cashiers paycheck. Wrong. Some companies will. Just yesterday I learned someone used a fake coupon that I had put through, resulting in about $40 dollars being taken out of my paycheck because the company won’t reimburse because technically its not issued from them

  21. Kaylee

    I used to work as a cashier at a pharmacy and we could not simply scan the coupon and it will tell us if it is the right product or not. We have to read the coupon and input the price reduction into the cash off the total transaction and keep the coupon. So, if the coupon is not valid for that item or the expiration date has passed, we get into trouble because the coupon will not be reimbursed to the store. This hasn’t happened to me before but it probably could have been taken out of my paycheck if it had. If you’re going to be using coupons, be patient and let us do our job properly.

  22. Belle

    I was at Kroger yesterday and at check out, the cashier told me that my coupon was a Walmart coupon. I was like “hello, do you see anything that says Walmart in that coupon?” but of course, I stayed claimed cos I needed to use that coupon or else I would have my purchase cancelled. It was a manufacturer coupon that was printed from that wouldn’t scan until her 3rd attempt. Been encountering some anti-coupon cashiers lately but at the same time loving those cashiers who would just key in the code if those coupons won’t scan. They just rock! All I can say is I’m saving money and those customers waiting for their turn and giving me the look of death due to the little delay that my coupons cause, I’m sorry but I’m happy I’m saving a lot of money lol.

  23. devinsims

    Cashier here. I work at a small store, one lane open all day every day. Our manager is ON US about coupons. Make sure they’re in date, for the right item, and do not match any of the posted counterfeits. As someone above said, YES, scanning a coupon or manually entering one for an item it is not meant for is BAD for a cashier. It could be as small a punishment as the money for that coupon coming out of our paycheck or as BIG as us losing our jobs. A coupon is NOT guaranteed money for the store unless it is used correctly. You DO NOT need to tell a cashier how to do their job nor do you need to be making assumptions about how our jobs work. Any good cashier is going to be more knowledgeable about coupons than you are and that’s just facts. If they tell you that a coupon is invalid they are usually right. If you doubt it, have them bring their manager over (but know you are wasting EVERYBODY’S time.)

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