Knowing the rules of each grocery store chain is an essential part of becoming a master couponer. Each chain sets its own rules, and the rules can vary regionally and from store to store. I highly recommend that couponers keep a copy of the chain’s coupon policy in their coupon binder. Because each store can slightly modify policies, I suggest that new couponers visit the store and ask a member of customer service to go over the coupon policy.
This week we will look at Kroger. Kroger is owned by The Kroger Co., which operates 2,435 grocery retail stores in 31 states under almost two dozen names. The company operates many different types of stores, including jewelry stores, supermarkets, warehouse stores, service stations and supercenter department stores. There are 172 stores Kroger and Kroger Marketplace stores in Georgia and 11 in South Carolina.
Kroger and Kroger Marketplace do not have official coupon policies available online; the company defers policies to regions and individual store managers. Each store’s manager can impose limits on coupons and doubling and even which coupons will be accepted.
In our area, Kroger doubles paper manufacturer coupons up to 50 cents with a store loyalty card, the Kroger Plus card. Kroger accepts both manufacturer coupons and store coupons. Store coupons can be sent through mail by registering your Kroger Plus card with your name and address in the store or signing up online. Store coupons can also be found on the Kroger Web site.
Kroger also participates in several digital coupon Web sites. The main one is on their Web site and needs an active registered Kroger Plus card with an online account. Digital coupons (also known as electronic, e-coupons or paperless coupons) have some additional redemption rules. First, they do not double. You cannot stack a paper coupon with a digital coupon on the same item. Digital coupons will be deducted from your purchase before any paper coupons and cannot be taken off at the register or removed once the card has been scanned. A digital coupon can only be used on one item per transaction, so if you buy four items, only one will be discounted. The Kroger card can hold up to 150 digital coupons.
Because of the limitations on doubling, I only use digital coupons in two scenarios: One, I don’t have any paper coupons and it’s an item I wish to purchase. Two, it’s a high-value coupon that would not double. Again, I check to make sure that I do not have any lower value coupons on the item that would double.
Kroger also has a gas program for savings at the pump. For every $100 purchased before coupons, a shopper earns 10 cents off per gallon, and shoppers can stack rewards to earn up to $1 off at Kroger Fuel Centers. You may also use your Kroger card at Shell.
On Aug.23, an Atlanta-area Kroger made headlines when a mother of 10 was interviewed by the local Fox News after the store refused to take her coupons because she was a “habitual coupon user.” I have not had a problem with my nearest Kroger, but I have heard of problems in this region from other couponers. For this reason, I highly recommend visiting the customer service department of your store. It is imperative that you build a relationship with the staff so they recognize you as an ethical couponer and not a shelf clearer or reseller.
My experiences show that store managers are mainly concerned about the store’s loss leaders being bought up for resale; the majority of managers do not have a problem with individuals wishing to stock up within reasonable limits. As long as a couponer follows the rules set by the chain, a couponer should never have a problem. Until next time, happy shopping.