Happy 2012 to all! Now that the rush of the holidays is over, I’ll be back to posting detailed blog entries on a regular basis. In addition to coupon codes and sale deals like those offered at Christmas, I’ll post information on other ways to save money and avoid customer service headaches.
For me, 2011 ended with a disappointing customer service experience at Meijer, a grocery store chain serving Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan. I don’t normally shop there because I live closer to another chain store, but I went to Meijer because it sells a brand of yogurt my regular store does not. I had a set of coupons expiring soon, and I wanted to take advantage of the store’s double coupon program to get a good deal.
The yogurt was $1 per container, and my coupons had a face value of 50 cents off two containers. When the coupon was doubled, my final cost would be 50 cents per container, a great deal for Greek yogurt. I grabbed 12 containers of yogurt, pulled six coupons from my folder and headed to the self-checkout lane. As I scanned the first couple of coupons, I watched the monitor to be sure they were doubling. Then, I scanned the remainder, paid the checkout total and left.
When I got to my car, I looked over my receipt and realized only two of the six coupons had been doubled. I went back into the store and asked the customer service staff why this was the case. The woman who assisted me explained that Meijer only doubles the first two coupons for a set of like items. So, whether I bought two yogurt or 20, only two coupons would be doubled, unless I purchased the containers in separate transactions. She said Meijer mentions this in the fine print in its newspaper ads.
This experience was a good reminder to me to review the coupon policies of stores at which you rarely shop before heading there to make a purchase. However, when I checked Meijer’s coupon policy online today, I couldn’t find a mention of the limitations on double coupons; in fact, there’s no mention of double coupons at all. Another page on the site states the store doesn’t regularly double coupons at all, information that should be included in the coupon policy itself. This is poor customer service; even a shopper who attempts to be informed can’t easily find accurate information on the store’s website.
To be sure you know all the provisions of a store’s policy, call or stop by the customer service desk before you begin filling your shopping cart. Ask about specifics that apply to your shopping scenario, such as a limit on the number of coupons you can use or when those coupons will be doubled. Also, find out if you are allowed to use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item.
What “lessons learned” have you experienced while couponing? Please share your advice so others can avoid the same headaches.