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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Revisiting the Golden Rule

I feel an introduction is necessary before I dive into my first post, but I have already pretty much summed up my couponing indoctrination on my personal blog. So, to save time (and my sanity!), have a look at this post for everything you ever wanted to know about me (okay, perhaps not everything-but all the pertinent stuff!).

Now that we have been formally introduced (well, sort of), let me tell you about my very interesting shopping trip this morning. Armed with a well planned out shopping list, my handy dandy coupon binder and my Albertsons doublers (yippee!), I stepped into my local Albertsons (Overland/Five Mile) to begin my bargain hunting. I had forgotten my weekly Albertsons ad in the car, so I went to grab another from the stand at the front of the store, only to discover the entire stand, newspapers, ads and all, was gone.

I maneuvered my cart to Customer Service to beg one off of them. Two managers happened to be standing behind the Customer Service desk. Because I was shopping at the store that I frequent most often, I was familiar with both of them. One I loved; the other I typically avoided like the plague. It was Mr. Crankypants that piped up. He informed me, before I ever mentioned anything about using the doublers, that I could only use 1 set of 3 per day. Period.

Now keep in mind that in easy to understand English, the coupon states just that. And so I would have thought nothing of his comment, except that during their last doubler promo, I had approached the other manager, Ms. Couponfriendly, and asked how her store was handling them. I respect the decision of store management, so I wanted to know how to plan my shopping trip. Did they only want us to use one set per day? Did they want us to walk out to the car, drop off our first purchase, before returning to use a second set of doublers? She told me that I didn't even need to walk out to my car; just separating my transactions when checking out would do.

So this morning, when Mr. Crankypants told me something completely different than what I had been told last time, I was frustrated. I explained to him that I loved Alberstons and that, as a couponer, I expected no red-carpet treatment. But what I would appreciate is some sort of consistency. Every time I step foot into that Alberstons, there is a different cashier spouting off a different set of coupon rules. My head spins trying to keep up. I also told him that it was hard to return to a store where I was harassed almost every time I shopped, in lieu of finding a more "coupon friendly" Albertsons. I told him I would respect his policy and only use 1 set of doublers, and I walked away to continue shopping.

About 5 minutes later, he found me in the aisle. He apologized, and explained where he was coming from. He said there had been an explosion of coupon fraud at their location, and that a few dishonest couponers were giving the rest of us a bad name. He said it had gotten so bad that, just that morning they were forced to move the entire newspaper rack behind the Customer Service counter because people were raiding the papers, stealing the doublers and the inserts, and leaving the papers behind. He also explained that their coupon policy was changing almost weekly, and he was even having trouble keeping up, much less trying to keep his cashiers trained correctly.

I told him that I absolutely understood where he was coming from, and I, like most couponers I knew, was just trying to save my family money in the most honest way I knew how. I did not want to cause any contention, nor violate any store policy. He ended the conversation by asking that any problems I had, or any problems that I heard about via the coupon blogosphere, be brought to his attention so he could work to correct it.

I left the store with a million thoughts running through my pea-sized brain, not the least of which was, I'm gonna have to give Mr. Crankypants a new nickname, because that was a pretty stand-up thing to do!

Are there really couponers out there who have such disregard for personal integrity that they would be willing to ruin it for the rest of us? Are there couponers so desperate for a good deal that they would rob newspapers of inserts in plain view? Are there couponers who try, at every turn, to bend the rules until they completely shatter, leaving the rest of us honest couponers to pick up the pieces?

I would like to answer no to all of the above, but I know that would make me naive. I guess I just feel the need to stress the importance of couponing with integrity. There will always be another great deal, so don't try to cheat the system for fear there won't be. Even slight dishonestly can hurt your fellow couponers, and perhaps ruin a really good thing.

Couponing is great. Finding a FabuLESS deal is awesome. Saving money ROCKS! But let's all try to go about our bargain hunting the right way!


Hollie said...

Well Said! I agree that we need to keep things honest when using coupons etc. I hear all the time stories from the cashiers/managers about 1 bad apple spoiling it for the rest of us! Thanks for an awesome post!

Cathy said...

Woo hoo Amber! You go girl! You've said it so well. Glad to have you posting here now!

Melissa said...

I agree!!! Love you blog, You Rock!!!

Mama said...

Excellent post! :)


Sondra said...

Shocking! I'm surprised that you can do coupon fraud... Hmmmm.... but more important that people do it.. Yes, we all need to have our own personal integrity and do the right thing. It's very sad that a few bad apples can ruin a great thing for the honest ones. Unbelievable (shaking head).

Sara said...

Thanks for the post. I've had some contradictory info at that albertson's as well, but I can also appreciate the difficulty in keeping all the staff updated.
Thanks again! Look forward to more of your posting.

A Thrifty Mom said...

Amber, I love this post. It is funny I am doing a post on the same topic in the morning for my blog. I am happy to see you cover this issue!!!! SO thank you for a clear message that needed to be sent, and you did a great job doing that!

Chief Family Officer said...

Well said!

Hilmarose said...


Anonymous said...

This is a terrific post ~ I blogged about my trip to this same Albertsons store earlier today -and- I have to say "Thank You" ... You must have been the couponer who made it possible for me to use my doublers in two transactions. This is the Albertsons I most frequent ~ and I do recognize which cashiers are most helpful. There was a bit of confusion at the register if I could do the second transaction -but- one of the cashiers mentioned that the manager did let the other coupon lady earlier in the day do hers ... so that sounds like it coulda been you! Thanks Again ~ Saving My Dollars

Christy said...

I totally agree! It is so sad that I actually have to check the newspapers to make sure that the coupons are still in there before I buy them. I have gotten home too many times to find out they were already taken out.

Jupe&NickFam said...

Thank You first of all for all the info! Second I wanted to express my frustration with coupon fraud. I recently was turned down by one of my independent grocery stores, they will no longer take any internet printable because they have had too many come in that were multiple copies. I had a $1.50 yo-plus one that I really wanted to use and they said they have had to many problems and will no longer take them. You said it very well. Its just not fair for the rest of us who do it honestly.

Kasey Hunt said...

This is a great post. I'm sad that all coupon users are not honest like you! I would hate for the dishonest ones to ruin it for all of us. Thanks for posting such great info everyday!!

Rachel said...

haha I was with Amber during this whole ordeal, and handled it in such a stand-up way. And Mr. Crankypants did actually try to help me find some waffles I had coupons for.

It does suck some people are ruining it for everyone who is trying to something positive with ingrity to boot. Hopefully, if the rest of us step up and kill em with kindness, our couponing days will be here for years to come :)