Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Entitled couponers

I often wondered, once a bit of light was shone on "extreme couponing," what would happen in my little town if a couponer got in one of the (few) open lines at a store and gummed up the works.

Well, I saw it yesterday. I had to run to Walgreen's for a few things...mainly a birthday card for a woman at church who is celebrating her 90th. Got my stuff, got in line, realized it wasn't moving.

The woman at the head of the line had  a few items and a stack of coupons, and she was arguing with the cashier. The argument centered around three things, apparently:

1. She wanted to be able to use four coupons on an item; the cashier told her store policy was to allow two (also, it's possible two of the coupons were duplicates).

2. She wanted to apply a coupon for hairspray to a bottle of shampoo, with the argument that the same company made them, so why did it matter?

3. She believed she was due money back because her (multiple for each items) coupon values should exceed the sales price.

And she wasn't nice about it, either. On the rare occasions when I've used coupons, if something went wrong (like, I hadn't read carefully and it was for an item other than what I had), my reaction is "Oh, sorry! Never mind, just ring the thing up at the stated price." I wouldn't think of harassing the checkout person - who usually is in a fairly low-authority job. But this woman did.

The checkout person called the manager, but apparently he either wasn't in or wasn't leaving his office because he never showed. The woman continued to argue: she was DUE these things. It was her RIGHT.

I stood there, feeling sad that I would grow old watching this argument. Under other circumstances, I might have gone and put back the items I was planning to buy and just left, but I really wanted to get that card out.

Finally the person at the cosmetics counter opened her register and the rest of us who were waiting trooped over there. The woman with the coupons was STILL arguing with the cashier after I had paid and was walking out the door.

Look: I have no problem with couponing. I don't do it because I don't take a newspaper (and our local paper stinks, anyway) and also most of the items I've seen on offer for coupons are things I don't buy (convenience foods, kid's cereals....). And I feel like my time is worth more than the thirty cents or whatever I might get back. But I get that some people treat it as a hobby, or as a way of "supplementing" family income without having to work outside the home. And good for them.

But please, please, couponers: don't be a jerk about it. If the store has policies limiting coupon use, don't berate the cashier, who probably didn't make those policies. Don't try to get money off on stuff you don't have coupons for. And try your best NOT to tie up the lines so everyone else behind you is greatly delayed.

I don't know. I see an awful lot of people in my daily life who believe they are "special" to the exclusion of everyone else. It makes living in community harder.


Jeremy said...

I just came from my Sunday shift from Rite Aid (or Wrong Aid as we like to call it). Anyway we had another nasty day and were discussing it. Though we live in a shabby, nasty area and even though we put up with COUNTLESS drunks and stuff buying liquor on Friday and Saturday nights, we still feel the absolute worst shift is Sunday; aka "Crazy Coupon People" day. Never do you get such vile and hateful venom from a customer than when you inform some middle-aged hausfrau that her buy one get one free is expired or no, that coupon for mayo from another store cannot be used for mustard at our store. I've only had two complaints called in during all my time working there...both from crazy couponers on a Sunday when heaven forbid they ended up paying 25 cents more than they wanted to because I couldn't take some of their coupons.

Rinky Tinker said...

It may sound strange coming from an avid couponer, but AMEN! I spend hours working out my coupon deals, clipping, sorting, finding great sales that match up with my coupons, it's an addiction! :-) A great hobby that saves me TONS of money and something I really enjoy. It may take hours of planning but when I go into a store I try to make it the quickest trips ever! But good lord, there are some couponers out there that need to be under house arrest!! And usually the rude ones are the people that are doing something wrong and get ticked when they get caught. Every coupon I use matches the product EXACTLY, I know every store's coupon policy inside and out (sadly, I know them better than the cashiers tend to know, which is why I carry a policy for each store I frequent just so there are no issues). I have stood in a store, for half an hour, beside the check out but not in line, ready to check out, just to make sure everyone behind me gets through so I don't hold anyone up, especially in the small drug stores where there is only 1 line open. Or I check to see if there is somewhere else I can check out, cosmetics or photo center, those are my favorites :-) The only time I have ever had an "argument", and I use that term loosely because I am not an angry person and have never raised my voice, but there have been times when the cashier simply makes up reasons why a coupon will not go through or they tell me I'm doing something wrong when I know for a fact I am not. It's amazing the BS they will come up with just to get you out of their store and I don't like people trying to get rid of me just because they don't understand the policy...BUT, if there is an issue I simply complete my transaction and step aside for it to be taken care of by the manager in another lane as to not hold anyone else up. All with a smile on my face! Even if I am red with anger inside, I refuse to let it show until I'm in my car. :-) I understand that my couponing is my thing and should not be taken out on the people waiting behind me trying to buy a pack of gum! :-)
I'm only leaving this to let you know that there are good couponers out there! They are few and far between but they do exist! :-)
I don't clear shelves, I don't use coupons on items I'm not buying, I don't buy 50 items of something I will never use just because it's free, (though, at times if it is a great donation item and the store is fully stocked I will grab some for my donation boxes) I am a super friendly bucket of happiness and I do my best to not hold anyone up in line, that it my biggest pet peeve! I like to get in and get out as quickly as possible! Those crazy evil coupon ladies give us a bad name and need to sent to a land far far away.
All I'm saying is, I feel ya! :-)