Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thrifty NWDad's First (and last?) coupon experience

So my wife (ThriftyNWMom) wanted to go to Albertson's to use our double coupons and I thought it would be fun to get some free ice cream! So, I volunteered to make a run and see what I could get. Well, the experience turned out to be something that makes me understand why some people are put off by coupons. Don't get me wrong, I got a great deal, and got quite a few things for under $10 ($8.82 total actually), but the cashier's didn't help and worst of all, THEY WERE OUT OF ICE CREAM!!!! Argh!

So here's how it went down. I went into the store, and asked the clearly bored cashier at the customer service desk if there were any fliers remaining with the doublers. She started to hand me two, but then took one back. I asked her if I could have both and she gave me the "ugh, I guess" look, and promptly reminded me that they will only accept two coupons per transaction.

Now, knowing that my wife highly recommended this particular store because they were so friendly, I figured she was a rogue cashier, and that the others were there to actually be friendly. So for my first transaction, I got 8 bottles of the Kraft BBQ sauce, and two boxes of Honey nut Cheerios (This should have given me $5 off for the epic promo). The cashier (not quite as bored, but just as unfriendly) told me that she won't give me the doubler coupon because it would have equaled $2.00 off, and the price was $1.99. Argh! I asked about lowering the value of the coupon, increasing the cost of the Cheerios, all of which she said no. I asked if the manager could help, and when the manager finally came over (by now the line was starting to back up) she also said that she couldn't (or didn't want to) do anything. Sheesh people.

So instead, I got 10 bottles of BBQ, and then got Honeynut clusters with coupons and doublers, but the epic promo still wouldn't work. Then cashier had to look to make sure that Kraft was actually a part of the epic promo, because she wasn't sure. I think the poor lady behind me really had to go to the bathroom, because she was looking around uncomfortably, figitting with her keys and shifting her weight from side to side (kind of like my three year old when she does the potty dance . . .). Finally the cashier got it figured out and for a total of $5.88, I got the 10 bottles of BBQ, two bags of the Nut Clusters, plus I got $5 in catalina's (oh and our two free candy bars from M&M/Mars). Then I asked for rain checks for the ice cream. I don't think I've ever seen someone roll their eyes as dramatically as she did!

So then, making sure that the lady behind me didn't have an accident right there on the floor, I took my stuff to the car and came back in armed with my catalina's and two other doubler's. This time, I got four boxes of Cheerios (to make sure I could use those stinking coupons!) , two boxes of Pasta Salad mix (that had a $1.50 off 2 coupon), plus four boxes of Kraft Mac and cheese (because I LOVE mac and cheese!) for a total of 10 items (and I threw in two bags of marshmallows, just in case). Again, even with all of this, the epic promo didn't work. And, having the same cashier (I almost laughed when I saw her expression when she saw me again. It was like she just found out her puppy died or something) she just wanted me out of there, so she entered the promo manually, I gave her the coupons, and the catalina's and paid $2.94. Not too shabby for my first real coupon trip. But, after that experience, I think I'll let me wife handle it form now on ! :)


  1. Great site, NW Dad! My husband has tried his hand at coupon shopping too, and he's since left that part of saving money up to me. He's quite content to walk around the store with our four-year-old while I do the coupon wheeling and dealing. You did a nice job with this deal though!

  2. Thanks for the comment! Yeah, I certainly have a better appreciation of the work that goes into making these deals work! It certainly isn't always easy!

  3. What a bummer to have such a grumpy cashier for your first try! It's nice to see that you did try even though it didn't go so well. Couponing can be a lot of work, but it's really worth it when things go right!

  4. Did you wife have any clue why the epic promo didn't work either time? Was it something you did or something they did? I'm just getting into this couponing stuff and reading this almost scares me away. I did the Dr. Pepper deal and the TP/Paper Towel deal a couple days ago with no problem whatsoever. But if a chashier told me it wouldn't work, I don't think I'd have the guts to insist upon it and I would also feel too bad about making the people behind me wait. I told my mom and sister about the Dr. Pepper deal and they went today and both had problems (apparently Alberston's has switched their mind about Dr. Pepper being on sale for buy 2/get 2 free). Their stories combined with yours makes me think that the stores do not appreciate us couponers doing this and that maybe it is in a way taking advantage of them. What do you (and anyone else reading this comment) think? I worked at a grocery store for several years and I know that the profit margin is VERY slim for grocery stores - I don't want them to be losing money or anything like that.

  5. Hey Thrifty Dad,
    Don't be discouraged by your first try, early on I had a terrible experience at Walgreens. However, for that one bad experience I have had many good ones since.
    Hope to see another deal from you soon,

    Mister Deals

    PS. What did your wife think about the two extra bags of marshmallows?

  6. Sara, my wife had no idea why the promo didn't work. I might have had the wrong size of Cheerios the first time, but I don't know what happened the second time. She did say that she was surprised. She has had some problems, but mostly from cashiers that don't understand how to do the various types of coupons.

    Mr. Deals, Yeah, I imagine I will be back at it soon. I don't give up that easily. Oh, and the marshmallows . . . she make microwave s'mores, so she wasn't upset to see them in the bag!

  7. Oh man, I wish I could have seen the look on that cashier's face when you came back in! Ha ha ha.