Coupon Tip Tuesday: Be Kind to Cashiers!

This week might be a good one for a little coupon etiquette review! In our class, we teach all about couponing ethics as well as “giving couponers a good name“. We try really hard to teach that here at fabulesslyfrugal! We believe that most of our readers are good couponers and try to follow the rules and treat others with respect. We hope that the person portrayed in the following story is not a fab follower.

Fab FruGAL Teri J sent us an experience that she had recently. I think it is good for us to be reminded of these types of things once in while so that we can be on our best behavior.

Please Don’t Be the Couponer That Makes a Checker Cry

“I was at Albertsons today and was talking to my favorite checker. There was no one behind me so we had time to visit. She told me a story that made me a bit upset. One day last week she had a customer come through her line that had coupons. Some of the coupons had been cut in a way that the expiration date was cut off. My checker explained that she could not take coupons without an expiration date. The lady then proceeded to throw a fit insisting yes she would take them. She started screaming, being rude etc. She informed the checker that “it is people like me who are unemployed and use coupons that are the reason you have your job”. She made such a scene that my checker said she (the checker) was in tears after it was over. Please don’t be this person when you coupon. If you feel that the checker is wrong, which can happen, calmly ask for a manager. You can even go to customer service after your transaction is finished and speak with someone. Being calm and polite does not hurt anyone and will leave you feeling better as well as those you deal with.”

Thanks TeriJ!

How Do You Make Your Checkers Job More Enjoyable?


  • I completely agree–I never want to be the person who ruins someone’s day!

    The other evening I was at our local grocery store and the Stouffer’s Bistros were on sale for $2/each. As I was checking out, the cashier noted that they were a great price and that they looked really good. Well, then I pulled out my $1/1 coupons, making them only $1 each! She commented on what a great shopper I was. I had twenty coupons, so I gave her ten for personal use. She was totally shocked, and thanked me over and over again.

    It made me feel good to help her out, plus I didn’t need 20 frozen bistros taking up space in my freezer! 🙂

    P.s. I also like to leave any extra coupons by the products they apply to–hopefully making someone else’s day! 🙂

  • Christina

    I love couponing and I love the relationships that I have created with the cashiers/managers at many of the stores I coupon at. Most of the checkers know me now and complement me on being one of their nicest couponers. That makes me feel good. : ) I have been on the other side of the counter (cashier in my younger days) and l remember liking it when customers treated me like a friend.
    * Here’s some tips:
    -Smile and say Hi “insert cashiers name”
    -Be organized ( don’t pull a wad of coupons out of your pocket or ask your cashier to cut out your coupons!!!)
    -Take the time to compliment the cashier/store when you get great service!
    -Be realistic- One Rite-Aid cashier told me a story of a couponer trying to pass a RA wellness “$1 off of skin care item” coupon for tampons!!! She said it touches her skin!!!
    hahhaa Pleeeeze!

    Have fun saving money!

  • Annette

    I always greet my cashier and ask how their day is going. I try to make some chit chit too rather than just stare at them while they ring up my items. It seems to break the ice if we have any problems with coupons. I find that if you’re nice to begin with, they’re much more likely to help you out with any problems with coupons. I also thank them for scanning all my coupons. I know it’s their job to do it, but I usually have a lot of coupons. I’m sure being a cashier is a very thankless job, so I try to thank them for helping me each time.

    If there is a problem with a coupon, I try to stay calm and explain why it should be fine. It’s not going to help anyone to flip out on them. I’ve gotten into a few heated discussions on rare occasions, but when that happens, I always feel like I could have gotten further if I’d been more calm. Sometimes it’s the cashier that flips out right away, making it hard to stay calm.

    Having their store coupon policy has helped keep things from escalating since you can’t really argue with a printed copy of their policy. If they tell me they can’t do something, I can calmly state that their policy says they can.

  • Jenn Johnson

    I am a new couponer and have found that they really appreciate when you are organized with each transaction. I have become a ‘regular’ at my local RiteAid and lOVE the cashiers and they friendliness towards me as a couponer. Sometimes they seem just as excited about my savings as I do.

  • jeanineyomomma

    I love to share some of my coupons with my favorite cashiers. They like to get “free stuff” too!

  • Rhoda

    I too have a favorite cashier. I always try to go to Albertson’s after 6 in the evening so I don’t hold up the after work shoppers. But the best part about my couponing is that my 11 year old son goes with me and loves couponing!

    We are still learning but we are well on our way to organization! I stopped at Fred Meyer’s on my way home from work yesterday to get a few coupon deals and when I got home with my goodies he was upset I went couponing without him. The cashiers really enjoy the fact that he coupons with me and they love to grab his attention and tell him the total before scanning my Albertson’s card and coupons and we all watch to see what the end price is!

    I haven’t taught him the organizing yet, but I’m slowly working that in so he will have a valuable life skill (especially when he goes to college! 🙂 )

  • Kimberly

    I had a really nice cashier at Albertson’s yesterday. She came and got me out of the line I was in (only register open, with only one person in front of me), and took me to the self-checkout lane and proceeded to help me check out both of my small transactions. We chatted about couponing the whole time. She was so impressed (and it wasn’t even a fabulous deal, just a decent one), she asked me to bring in a list of the websites I use to help match my coupons before shopping, so she can start couponing, too. 🙂

  • Debra

    I love couponing, too, and have also been on the other side of the register loooong ago as a teenager and remember dealing with customers who were frustrated. I always make it my goal to have the cashier smiling by the time I leave, if she isn’t already. It’s a fun challenge for me to see a frazzled checker, who obviously has not been having a good day, and turn it around by being kind and upbeat (huh, whooda thunk it!) 🙂

  • Julie

    I have shared the names of web sites I use for couponing, such as this one, with cashiers before, too, because they often don’t know about these deals. So, if I’m making chit-chat with them and they express an interest, I will share extra coupons if I have them, but I will also tell them how to find the deals and the coupons I’m using.

    Mostly, I just try to remember that they’re people, too, and I know they get blamed for a lot, even if it’s the computer that messed up, so I just try to be patient and polite (even on the rare occasions when they aren’t very polite to me).

  • mel

    There is just no reason to be rude. If a transaction isn’t going the way you’d hoped for say thank you, apologize that you can’t complete the transaction and walk away! Gives you a chance to regroup, re-evaluate, and try again!

    The worst thing I have ever seen was a woman getting nasty with a checker in front of her kids. Really? Nice lesson for them, right?! Sad. I always just try to act in a manner that I would like mine to imitate. Make them proud and they’ll make you proud!

  • Angela K

    My checker at Rite Aid last Sunday was so sweet. I did two transactions, and she even tore off the $2 UP reward from the first receipt to use on the second transaction for me! She was on it! I love it when everything goes smoothly.

    • Susan

      I’ve had the nicest Rite Aid cashiers too. There’s one gal at the store I usually shop at who is SO sweet. She will tear apart the +up rewards coupons from the receipt and point out that these are coupons good towards my next purchase. When they first started with the +up rewards program, I found it easy to miss the coupons. She’s the one who explained program it to me.

  • Monica

    You fabs are all so wonderful! We ♥ You!

  • Susan

    Here’s my tip for being nice to checkers. At Walgreens, the cashiers are paid a commission on the “item of the week” products that are up by the registers. Ever since I learned that, with my favorite checkers, I’ll often use those items as fillers instead of something less expensive.

    I agree that a little kindness goes a long ways. “Kill ’em with kindness, as my grandma used to say.

    You fabu-ladies are far too classy to ever post on how awful checkers can be, but let me tell you what happened to me today. Warning … rant coming …

    I went to Alb’s tonight to get a few more items with doublers. I bought 6 items — 4 NV nut clusters and 2 Dannon drinkable yogurts. I had a rain check on the nut clusters for $2.50 and $1/1 coupons, so $.50/bag after doublers. The yogurts were $2.99 and I had some $1/1 coupons from that “oranges” coupon booklet from a while back, so $.99/ea after doublers. I put the items on the conveyer belt — 3 nut clusters in the first transaction and 1 nut cluster and the two yogurts in the second transaction — separated by the little bar thingie. Put the coupons right there with the items.

    Firstly, I smile and say hello, and the cashier doesn’t even look up or acknowledge me in any way. She then rang up all 6 items in one transactions. When I noticed the yogurts on the screen, I mentioned, politely i think, that I’d like to do two transactions. She groaned audibly — you know the loud breathing indicating annoyance — and rolled her eyes. Still without saying a word, she voided off the two yogurts but left all 4 nut clusters, which I didn’t immediately catch. She gave me a total, at which time I realized she hadn’t scanned my coupons. So I mentioned the coupons, politely again I think, which were sitting right there by the register. Another groan and another eye roll as she scanned them and gave me another total. At that point I realize that the 4 nut clusters are in the one transaction and she only scanned 3 coupons.

    I got frazzled and didn’t think to ask her to void one of the nut clusters and put it with the next transaction. Instead, I asked her to scan the 4th coupon, and she responded by telling me that I could only use 3 coupons. Huh? Three doublers, yes, but I’m sure I’m not limited to 3 coupons per transactions. So I pointed that out, she argued with me, I insisted (still trying to be nice — honest I was!) and she finally said “oh fine!” and scanned the coupon and gave me a total.

    So at that point, I see the pile of pre-cut doublers sitting right there, and I ask if I may have some doublers. She says they don’t have any. Still trying to be polite, I mention that there are some right there. Another loud groan and eye roll! She has to review the order to determine the number and amount of coupons I used in order to apply the doublers. As she was doing that, another customer came up behind me in line, followed by another lady with a cartful. So the cashier then said that she was going to help the next lady because this was taking so long and I was holding everyone up!


    So, I decide to be nice and just wait for her to help the next lady. She was only buying one thing and paying with cash, so not a big deal. My two yogurts and coupons were still sitting there on the conveyer belt and I waited at the end of the register. But then the cashier went on to help the NEXT customer, the one with the cart full of items. That person was obviously someone the cashier knew personally — I could tell by their friendly personal chatter. Apparently Ms. Grumpy Cashier is capable of pleasant conversation, although you’d never know it from the way she treated me. Had my yogurt coupons not been sitting there on the conveyer belt by the cashier and out of my reach, I would have left, gone back to the dairy section and gotten more yogurts and gotten back in another line. But she had my coupons, so I waited and fumed.

    After I paid for the yogurt, I decided to go over to customer service and see if they could re-ring everything so I could get the additional dollar back that I would have gotten had my two transactions each consisted of 3 items instead of a 4-item’er and a 2-item’er. The CS guy was great and accomodated me. I felt a little petty — it was only $1 after all — but it’s the principal, if you know what I mean. And I wasn’t still fuming when I left the store, which I would have been otherwise.

    Those of you reading this — if you’ve ever had someone eyeball you up and down you — that’s how I was treated today. That cashier was rude and insulting. My little daughter even noticed and asked me later why the lady was so mean. Here I was, recalling this very post that I’d just read shortly before heading to the store, going out of my way to be nice, giving her the benefit of the doubt, assuming maybe she’d had a bad day, maybe she wasn’t feeling well, whatever. Until she was very nice to those behind me. Now I think she just has no patience for couponers. I’ll be avoiding her line next time.

    Sorry this is so long. I do feel a little better now that I’ve typed the whole story. We couponers should always be polite and fair, and It’s good for us to be reminded of every now and then. But courtesy is a two-way street.

    • Monica

      Oh my Susan! That is awful! You are right that it is a two way street. Yikes! Here are my thoughts.

      Her behavior is inexcusable, but I will bet that she has dealt with some nasty couponers in the past and that is why she apparently has no tolerance. Sad.

      I think you have a good solution though, avoid her line and stick with those you know will treat you with respect.

      I am sorry for your bad experience. 🙁

    • Tyree

      Also I would not be afraid in that situation to ask for a manager and tell him/her about your experience and the checkers name. You are still a customer and should be treated well whether you use coupons or not. There is one store I avoid in Idaho Falls because all the clerks act that way. Their manager is great though, so one day I told him about the problem in his store. He was glad I told him and sorry to hear it was happening. I told him I understood they might have to deal with the few “mean couponers” and I could see that they might be passing that onto me even though I was nice. He said they should even treat the mean customers nicely. Sometimes clerks need a reminder to be nice too, so don’t be afraid to tell the person responsible for reminding them that they might need one.

  • mjssssss

    I don’t upsett any checker, it is the hardest job in the world, it used to be a family living wage job, no more..No unions anymore, pensions who heard of that? not grocery companies..I doubt anyone could do the transactions with all the rules and regulations, I would never even go into most stores where my significant other worked – it is a hard hard job..So be be be kind to any retail checker…they are working for a wage, not to baby a customer and take abuse plain and simple..they are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers after the day is through they are wonderful human beings..also when you are shopping if you pick up something you are not going to buy at all, please return it to it’s proper place thank you very very much!!!!!!!!

  • Tyree

    I heard that cashier was even suspended without pay for two days (the story sound the same might be similar story different person.) It is very wrong of anyone to throw a fit over a few dollars or sneak in expired coupons, fake coupons ect. when you could be costing someone their job, their income ect. I mean the lady probably saved $6 max and cost the clerk $120–That’s just wrong.
    I love my clerks, managers etc. Monday night I was at Albies til almost 1am because we were all having too much fun laughing and talking. They truly are like friends and family there. I have even made friends with a few that in general don’t really like couponers. It has been great to make friends. Now when I go grocery shopping I kind of feel more like I’m going out with friends. We should all treat them like people, I hate when I see people you know coupon all the time act like they don’t recognize the clerks and treat them like robots. If your going to be there every week you might as well make friends. 🙂
    Anyway, I LOVE Albertsons and LOVE couponing and know couponing the honest way and being nice will pay you back in a much bigger way than being mean and dishonest.
    All just second be nice to your cashiers some of them are now among my best friends. 🙂

  • Its sad when people get so upset easily and take it out on someone trying to do their job. All customer service jobs have these sort of problems, not just cashiers. i was a stylist for over 10 years and I have seen almost everything. I was even pushed by an old, rich, drunk lady because she didn’t like the Color of her hi-lights, and i wasn’t even the stylist that did the service on her, I was also 8 months pregnant and when a client of mine stepped in the tell the lady to stop yelling and pushing me because I was pregnant she said “I don’t give a s**t, I look like a f***in Mexican with this hair” . To be honest her hair looked fine and it was one shade darker than she wanted and if she washed it a few times it would have lighted up, but she wouldn’t listen and the original stylist that did her hair was scared so since i was the manager i had to fix her hair. She was so mean to me and keep saying that she didn’t want anyone to mistake her for a “f***in Mexican” and I am Mexican and since i was also pregnant , i went home and cried for at least an hour.

  • Sarah

    I am new to couponing, but I just want to say a big THANK YOU for putting out the odd coupon for others to find/use. The amount has not been huge, but the kindness was very much appreciated. Once, a store was having a sale on Cascade in those little packets, and someone left a $2 coupon — my final price was about @2.60. I get happy every time I use one.

    Thanks again.

  • laura

    Is there a way to get a list for Indiana?

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