Even though I’ve been couponing for a while now, one of the biggest discomforts I still face is holding up a checkout line, especially when a store is busy. So, here are a few tips to keep you moving as you check out.
ORGANIZATION: Have everything ready to go to make your checkout process go smoothly. Scanning all those coupons does take time, so try to check out during nonpeak hours, such as early morning or late evening. If that’s not possible, then try to pick a time that has the most workers.
HAVE SALES AD ON HAND: Put your circular on a clipboard or use a tablet application such as My Grocery Pal so you can easily locate the sale price of items while you are shopping. I use the paper ads by circling the items that I want once I have verified that I have coupons to match. I look for savings of 30 to 50 percent before coupons. With meat and produce, I look for 30 to 50 percent savings without coupons. I own a deep freezer, so I stock up on whatever meats or produce that has the best deal for the week. Also, if you are at a store that offers price matching, then you can use other store ads to get a better price on that item.
BE CASHIER-FRIENDLY: I like to choose people I know have been at the store for a while. I will say hello, smile at them and do my best to remember their names. I also suggest that you choose cashiers that are cheerful and nice. If you are nice to a cashier, then chances are good that the cashier will take time to make sure she is scanning your coupons properly. If you pick someone in a bad mood, then he could rush and easily make mistakes. I choose seasoned cashiers, because new cashiers tend to have limited training in handling coupons.
BE READY: Before you check out, double-check how many coupons you have and how many products you have in your cart. You should have one coupon per item, unless you are combining store coupons with manufacturer coupons. To keep up with what coupons I need for checkout, I place my coupons into a pencil pouch as I put the corresponding item into my cart. I also keep a sticky pad and tally the total number of coupons I am handing over so I can compare it with the receipt once I’ve finished checking out.
BE SWEET, NOT SOUR: If you notice a problem after you check out, simply go over and explain your problem to the manager. For example, if you gave the cashier 46 coupons but notice that only 43 rang up on your receipt, then you can ask the manager to go over the transaction again. The manager can check the box where they store coupons. Even if people go through the line after you, the manager will be able to find your coupons, and they can be checked against your receipt. A good attitude is appreciated by customer service, and you will find them more willing to help.
COUPON POLICIES ROCK: If you can get a copy of your store’s coupon policy, print it out and take it with you to the store. Most of our local stores have their coupon policies online. In the rare case of a dispute, having a coupon policy on hand can ensure that the manager and you are on the same page. It has helped me clear up confusion on coupon limits and the type of coupons a store will accept. If you find a store not complying with its policy, then call consumer affairs. You can request the number at the store or find it on its Web site.
Following these tips will help you have the best experience possible while shopping with coupons. The cashiers and the customers behind you will appreciate your efforts.