Coupon Ethics

I hope you will all allow me to stand on my soapbox today and talk about using coupons the right way. I hope that I have gained the respect of you, my readers, and that you will let me nag you for a minute. This subject is something that I think is really important for several reasons.

Number one:

My integrity is more important than saving a few dollars {and you all know how I feel about saving a few dollars!}. Many of the cashiers at my local stores know me and know that I use coupons in the right way. Consequently, they trust me and do not feel the need to scrutinize every coupon, therefore expediting my check out. But more importantly than that, I can feel good about the purchases that I make.

Number Two:

when someone uses coupons in the wrong way, it ruins the experience for others. If a cashier has had people try and use coupons in a way other than what is intended or try to use a fraudulent coupon, he or she is likely to be more suspect of coupons.

Remember when we printed those awesome $1/1 coupons for Quaker (from a legitimate site) and then the store refused them thinking they were fake? That was because someone in WA copied them and tried to redeem them at the store.

OR

Remember the Purex catalina deal at Fred Meyer? Two people bought up 800 bottles in Cincinnati and others were buying the product and returning it without a receipt to get there money back and keeping their $4 catalina. The Catalina Co turned off the catalina due to ABUSE!

Here are my rules for using coupons in an honest and ethical way:

Don’t Use Coupons On Items They Are Not Intended To Be Used For.  There are several ways that this can be done. For instance a coupon says $1.00 off shampoo but you use it on a bottle of hairspray. Many times these coupons will go through just fine. However, that is not the intention of the manufacturer. They put the coupon out to promote the shampoo.

The second way to use a coupon in a way in which it was not intended is to not buy the amount that is listed on a coupon. For example a coupon says $1.00 off of 4, and you buy only 2 of that item. Many times the coupon would still scan. However, again, this was not the intent of the manufacturer.

The third way to use a coupon in a way other than what it is intended is to use a coupon that is only intended for a particular merchant at another store. Like if a coupon is good only at Walmart, and you cut that part of the coupon off and take it to Target to use.

You may even have a cashier who allows you to do these things, but it really isn’t up to the cashier because it is not money coming out of the store’s pocket, it is coming out of the pocket of the manufacturer.

Never Use Expired Coupons unless your store has a policy to accept expired coupons. Many times you can use an expired coupon without a cashier noticing, but the store may not get reimbursed for the coupon since it was expired.

Never Photocopy Internet Printable Coupons. There is a reason that manufacturers limit most coupons to print 2 per computer, it is to enforce limits. Photocopying coupons is fraud. Some stores do not take IP coupons because they are leery of photocopied coupons. Many times internet printables are for a higher dollar amount than you can find in your newspaper.

Only Use One Manufacturer’s Coupon Per Item. Pretty self explanatory.

Be Kind To Your Cashiers
. Some cashiers do not understand the rules of coupons. Some do not understand that their store will be reimbursed for the coupon you are using and that you are not trying to steal from the store. That being said, getting nasty with your cashier will get you nowhere. If a cashier will not accept my coupon, I nicely ask them to remove the item and then take up my concern with customer service or simply ask for a manager.

Original post written by our friend Nicole of beingfrugalisfabulous.com.We miss you Nicole. You always blogged with the highest integrity.
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