HELP!! My Store Staff Does NOT Understand Coupons;
A comprehensive guide to working WITH your local store teams in an effort to CREATE and maintain a coupon friendly environment
There have been many occasions where I have heard shoppers express concerns that the local stores that they shop don’t ‘understand’ coupons, or that the store personnel don’t ‘like’ couponers. Below I have complied a summary of guidelines that are TRIED and TRUE in helping shoppers to create an environment that is enjoyable for both the shopper, and the store!
Upon entering the store, be prepared, and have a plan. Being prepared and organized shows the store that you respect them, the other customers, and their time. If you intend to purchase in bulk, and supplies are often limited, try to make arrangements in advance. Have your coupons, clipped, counted, organized and ready BEFORE approaching the register. Know and understand your store’s coupon policy, this includes any locally based rules and regulations. Know and understand any necessary coupon language (Need a guide? Get one here: Coupon Lingo)
Choosing your Checkout Location
Remember to follow the checkout guidelines. If you have many items, avoid holding other shoppers up by NOT using the express checkout lane. If you KNOW your store does not allow ad matches at the registers, and you intend to ad match, head to customer service.
CONGRATS you have made it to checkout! Now that you are here, you will see that every checkout experience will probably be a little different. You cannot control how others will respond to you and your coupons, but you can ALWAYS respond you respond. Approaching with, and maintaining a professional, positive attitude is the BEST way to build a positive relationship with your store staff, and have an overall positive checkout experience. Every cashier is different, and many have different approaches to couponing. Try to abide by your cashiers requests, so long as they are reasonable (cashiers may ask to see your coupons in advance, scan as they go, etc.). If you come across confusion on coupon terminology, try to teach in a calm, professional manner.
Many store personnel are confused by ‘per purchase’/ ‘per transaction’. An excellent way to deter this confusion is by showing a P&G coupoon as an example, as these coupons often say, 1 PER PURCHASE, 4 Like Coupons PER DAY (See image below).
Remember, although it may seem frustrating taking valuable time to teach others, being patient now, may save you time and frustration later!
If you and your cashier are still unable to see eye to eye after calm discussion, you may ask to speak to a manager.
Speaking to a Manager
If the situation remains unresolved to the point that you cannot proceed, you may need to request to speak to a manager. At this point, it is imperative that you calmly express your points to the manager. It is not effective to argue, or debate, rather rationally point out facts and openly discuss the policy. This is a GREAT opportunity to show that couponers can be an asset to the store, and that working together can benefit all parties involved.
IF the manager has time, be sure to ask the following questions. If they do NOT Have time, ask if they are willing to arrange a meeting to address your questions. Below are some points of interest to cover during your conversation:
*Does your store have a specific coupon policy (this policy may be MORE or LESS strict than the national policy)?
*May I have a copy of the policy?
*If coupons are limited to xxx amount in a transaction, will your store allow multiple transactions?
*Does your store ad match?
*What is the procedure for doing so?
*What is the range it will match (How many miles out, online, etc)
*IF said store ad matches, it is advisable to bring your local drugstore ad and ask, can you circle which price you ad match?
*How should I proceed in the future if I have difficulty at checkout?
The key to this meeting should be to open a dialogue with the store. Some stores will do incredible things in the name of customer service!! Remember, the key to this meeting is not to ‘win’. BOTH Parties should leave the meeting feeling a little more comfortable with couponing in general!
But WHAT IF my meeting DOESN’T go like that?
Always, Always, ALWAYS follow the chain of command. If after meeting with the store manager, you are unable to come to common ground, you may need to go to the next step, the District manager and request to speak to them. When speaking to the DM, you should apply the same prinicples, be calm, logical and rational. Also be sure to listen to what they are saying in response.
Following the chain of command allows the store to rectify what is not going ‘right’ within the store/stores under their umbrella. It also affords an opportunity to build a very positive relationship with your store team.
What IF…After All of these steps, Couponing at my store is STILL No FUN?!
Unfortunately, there are occasionally situations in which you cannot come to an understanding with the immediate team over the store. In these instances, we recommend following up with corporate either by phone, email, or with a certified letter if the situation warrants.
Ultimately, it is always best to work things out from the ground up. If you give your store the opportunity to resolve an issue independently, it will give YOU the opportunity to build a very positive relation ship overall. You will be always be remembered by the manner in which you conduct yourself, so help to give your fellow couponers a GREAT name by putting your best foot forward, every time you shop!