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The Coupon Lady: Which stores accept competitors' coupons?

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I recently asked my Facebook friends to tell me what questions would they like answered. They were kind enough to provide me with some great responses, and I’m happy to answer them here.

Shaea J. and Ashlea M. ask: “What area store(s) take competitor coupons?”

The only two stores that accept competitor coupons in our area are Publix and Bi-Lo.

Publix accepts a competitor coupon as a store coupon. The coupon policy I picked up at the service desk at the Publix at the Riverwood Town Center states, “Publix accepts man­ufacturer’s coupons (limit one per item), Publix coupons (originals only – no copies), valid Internet coupons and coupons from nearby competitors identified by each Publix store. (Competitor names are posted at each Publix store.)

“We will accept coupons from competing pharmacies for prescriptions only. We will not accept percent-off-items or percent-off-total-order coupons. We will only accept coupons for identical merchandise we sell. Acceptance is subject to any restrictions on the coupon, and we reserve the right to limit quantities. Manager approval is needed for individual coupons above $5. For a buy-one-get-one free (BOGO) offer, each item is considered a separate sale. We will accept a manufacturer’s coupon and either a Publix or a competitor coupon on the same item. Dollars-off-total-order coupons will be limited to one Publix and one competitor coupon per order. The order total must be equal to or greater than the total purchase requirements indicated on the coupon(s) presented.”

The wonderful thing about Publix considering competitor coupons as store coupons is that shoppers can use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on a single item. So the big question becomes, who does Publix consider a competitor? Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid are not competitors because they target different consumers. Target and Walmart are superstores and the others are drugstores.

Publix considers other grocery stores to be competitors because they target the same consumers. The competing store must also have a physical location within a certain radius of each individual store. For example, the Riverwood Publix considers Food Lion and Kroger to be its competitors, but another Publix also takes Bi-Lo coupons. Each store has a list of accepted competitors at the customer service desk.

Bi-Lo has a similar policy regarding competitor coupons. It considers competitor coupons to be store coupons, so you can stack competitor coupons with manufacturer coupons. Bi-Lo also determines competitors by physical location, so each store has a list of accepted competitors near the shopping cart area or at the customer service desk.

Neither Publix nor Bi-Lo doubles the value of store or competitor coupons.

Walmart accepts some forms of competitor coupons. For example, Walmart takes Internet coupons that have competitor logos on them as long as they specifically state that they are manufacturer coupons. They must have a valid remit address, a valid expiration date and a bar code that can be scanned. BOGO coupons must have a specified price on the coupon.

Walmart accepts checkout coupons, sometimes called Catalinas, for cents off of a specific product even though they often contain competitor logos. The Catalina must state that they are manufacturer coupons with specific product requirements and contain a valid remit address, expiration date and readable bar code.

Walmart also takes competitor coupons for a specified price as a part of its price-matching policy as long as the coupon has a specific price listed. In our area, the Walgreens ad is the biggest source of that type of coupon.

Walmart does not take Catalinas earned for dollars or cents off of future purchases or Catalinas for a percentage off the entire purchase. It also does not accept competitor coupons for dollars or cents off at another store.

In addition to separating my manufacturer coupons into 16 sections, I also have 10 sections devoted to individual store coupons along with a copy of the store’s coupon policy. I have found this is a great way to keep up with additional deals using competitor coupons.

If you use Facebook, be sure to like my page at Augusta Coupon Lady or the Augusta Smart Shopper page for news on great sales, local bargains, coupon offers and Facebook freebies.

Take the class

Carol Gunter will hold a free class, Extreme Couponing for Beginners, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. July 26 at Columbia County Christian Church, 4004 Prescott Drive in Martinez. Seating is limited. To reserve your spot, log on to smartshopper726.eventbrite.com. Contact Gunter at The Augusta Chronicle at (706) 823-3318 or augustacouponlady@yahoo.com.

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