Sep 17, 2009

When are coupons not worth the savings?

When are coupons not worth the savings?

I obviously love saving money with coupons, but I found myself asking this question after my last trip to Target.

I had five boxes of Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal, and I had the free coupon and two $1.50 off coupons from VocalPoint, plus two $1.50 off printable coupons. The cashier said he would only take one each of the $1.50 off coupons, which is not according to their policy, so I asked to speak to a manager. The cashier went to get one, returned alone and said a manager would be out, and then we waited. After several minutes and no indication of how much longer we'd have to wait, I told the cashier to cancel my purchase and left.

I came home, emailed Target, and asked that a manager call me to verify that I could use the coupons I had. The response I got simply restated the coupon policy that's on the web site, and said that I should call if I have any questions. Um, yeah, that's not helpful - especially since my email had made it clear that I had read the coupon policy.

I just don't think Target is worth the hassle anymore.

This was the second trip in a row that I had trouble with coupons. The last time, the cashier told me I couldn't use a Target coupon for $1 off "Johnson's baby toiletry" on a bottle of Johnson's baby shampoo because that wasn't what was pictured. I had to go to the customer service desk, where I was allowed to make my purchase.

I understand that they're trying to avoid losing money to coupon fraud. But alienating customers through poor training is going to cost them money too.

Maybe they're counting on the poor economy to keep that from happening. Certainly, if I had more time and less money, I'd be more willing to drive to another store to try to find a more knowledgeable cashier, or spend more time contacting customer service to help them get their employees on the same page when it comes to the coupon policy. But the thought of adding those tasks onto my already loaded plate thoroughly stresses me out.

So I've decided that I will no longer go to Target just for a coupon deal. I'll have to need something else, like clothes or shoes or something that's on sale that doesn't involve a coupon.

My time, and especially my sanity, are worth more than a few dollars.

Previously: This week's Kashi deal at Target



Our targets locally have said one coupon of any now also,and also those target coupons- one coupon of any kind per checkout transaction. So if you printed out 5 coupons for lets say poptarts from target and had 5 manufacturer coupons you could only use one target coupon in the deal. Also if the manufacturer coupons say/state buy one get one free they would only allow you to use 4 manufacturer coupons because it is for/stating 2 products on the coupon. I had a cashier and manager sit there and try to explain it to me and they said its targets policy. Target has not gotten back to me, but seems they are tired of the coupons at this point and think the target coupons are being misused. The manager brought out a letter for me to read and it did state what he said but thats not what the site says. I told them to cancel and left but when I went to the other store in my area they did the same thing so to me its not worth my time.
I wish I would get the cashiers that do not care as some have had their coupon bundles go through without the cashiers blinking. For some reason some cashiers are thinking they are losing money by taking the coupons, I wish cashiers were told manufacturers give them money back plus a handling fee for all sold. Please post what you hear from target hq.

Unknown said...

Amen, Cathy! I have had the same trouble. Now Target is off of my shopping rotation. I feel like a weight has been lifted since I don't have to worry about those issues at my Walmart, Safeway, and Fry's.

Christina said...

So what I don't understand is why you would continue to support Target in non-coupon purchases which is exactly what they want you to do. They are making it almost impossible to use coupons in the hopes that consumers just won't use them.

The only way to get Target to change their customer service issues is to STOP spending money at their stores. When their revenues go down, they'll be blindly searching for the reason and most likely ignoring all of the complaints of their coupon issues.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% Target is the worst for coupons. Its not worth the hassle, even if the stuff is free. I would rather pay for something, then go crazy fighting with Target.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Mom Forever - I don't expect to hear back from anyone, based on the response to my email. That's partly why I've decided Target's not worth the effort.

@Courtney - I have no convenient Walmart, but I do seem to have an easier time with coupons at the supermarkets and, to a lesser extent, at the drugstores. Target's the worst of them, definitely.

@Christina - I understand what you're saying, but I'm not willing to give up Target completely. They do have the lowest prices on many non-coupon items, like the shorts my kids wear every summer. The only store I've found that has something similar is Gymboree, and I was only able to get a couple of pairs for next summer on clearance from there. And Target WILL lose a fair amount of money simply because I'm going there much less often - instead of picking something up while I'm there, I'll be picking up that item somewhere else. Plus, there's all the money they're losing from my not using coupons, like on that cereal deal.

@Anon - Yup, that's the stage I've reached too! The cereal would have been free after coupons and gift card, but you know what? I was pretty happy paying 50 cents per box for the stuff a couple of weeks ago at Vons too :)

Maria Lopez said...

I feel the same way... And when I am there trying to teach them their own coupon policy I get more mad because I used to work there back in college. I'm our city we go to the target that is #1 in their district and is always used as a example to other targets. All cahiers are well aware of the main coupon policies 1. Target and manufacture accepted 2. No overage. EASY! It is a longer drive so we def don't run there as often!

Anonymous said...

Have you been shopping at the Target at the Topanga mall? That one has given me the most trouble with coupons. A cashier told me that they don't accept printables at all. I knew she was wrong, but didn't argue (or buy the items). I actually had a great Target coupon experience at a different location. I ended up with a cashier who was training a new cashier. I had all stacked coupons with three of some of them and all were allowed.


sunnymum said...

This is exactly the reason that I don't regularly shop at Walmart. I spend more time in the checkout than in the store, even though I browse nearly every department. Haven't had a terrible experience with Target, but whenever I go, they're out of stock of the items I have coupons for, so I never go for coupon deals either. My time is worth more!

rebecca said...

I read on someone's blog that they have printed and carry a copy of the Target coupon policy with them to avoid that sort of stuff. I think they are alienating a large group of people that will be buying items other than the super coupon deals.

Deborah said...

A new SuperTarget opened up in my area (High Desert) and I was having a lot of success using coupons there quite easily. I think it was two weeks ago I went in and they gave me a huge hassle about my coupons and said they had a new policy and would not be taking all my coupons anymore. I tried one more time and the lady set each item out and the corresponding coupons on top of each trying to match them all up. It took forever! Not good when I have a 6 month old and 2 year old with me. It was one of my smaller couponing trips thank goodness. It made me reconsider shopping there anymore. I did not try the Kashi deal this week because I didn't want to put the effort into it.