Thursday, February 4, 2010

I hate confrontation

And I am starting to wonder if many grocery stores require their managers to be complete morons. Sorry, but I am so tired of having to explain why coupons are legitimate and why it is ok to use them. Today, at Kroger, they told me they couldn't take the $5/1 Nature's Bounty coupon on a bottle of vitamins that was $3. No matter that they've done it a million times before. No matter the store will get reimbursed $5.08. Nope, can't take it. I said to the dense manager, "These are legitimate coupons and using one coupon on one bottle of vitamins is a legitimate use of the coupon a stated on the coupon. Kroger will be reimbursed full face value for the coupon when presented." His response? "But the register won't allow it". I said, "You're right. The register is telling you the coupon exceeds the value of the item, but all you have to do is override that." To which he replies "The register won't allow it". *pulling my hair out* "You do it all the time, why is today any different?" "Well we're not supposed to." "Why not? It's a legitimate use of the coupon?" And around the merry go round we went, several times. Finally I said, forget it.

Although, I wonder, if the pre-sale price was above $5- would the q have beeped? I bet not. I'm going to try it. lol.

Joke's on them though. They didn't realize I had other mm's I had already gotten that the cashier pushed through. My total was $22.93 and I had a large bag of dog food. I went ahead and paid, then turned around, went to customer service and returned the dog food, getting $22.98 back. lol. They paid me $.05 after all. HA! And they didn't get the $58 of coupons in payment I would have spent there. Their loss. I went from Kroger to Rite Aid and used the same coupons for overage, and got my dog food free.

Total value of items purchased: $60.33
Spent: -$.05

Rite Aid:
Finished off my RA gift card by buying $7.49 Nature's Bounty vitamins, used the overage for dog food. Free Chex Mix. Used a gift card I got with overage yesterday to pay for the total. :)
Total Value of items purchased: $26.24
Spent: $1.03 on gift card.

Total profit today: $.05


  1. First time commentor, but I've been reading for several months. Just had to comment, finally! Your blog is terrific and this was a hilarious post. I think we've all been there at some point. I am surprised I still have hair at all sometimes... :) Keep up the great blog.

  2. Bummer about the nature's bounty at Kroger. I JUST did it at Kroger myself and the register didn't even beep. Kroger is always changing policies- seems to depend on who is managing on any given day. I rarely get issues at Nipper's Corner Kroger though. They don't take ANY competitors but then so few Krogers do anyway around here...

  3. Shopping at Kroger is rating right up there with shopping at Walmart with me right now.

    My last Kroger trip last week, I went to a Kroger I hadn't been to before because posters on a local message board have been saying that Kroger accepts Publix competitor coupons since it opened. They've posted for many months about the deals and low grocery totals they get there.

    So I had Publix $1/2 coupons and $1/2 MQs, so I went to that Kroger to be able to use them. I stopped by the CS desk on the way in to verify they take Publix competitor coupons, and was told they do.

    When I go to checkout, the same CS Associate that had told me they do take Publix coupons, now tells me I can't use both Publix and MQs.
    I was like, are you kidding me? Nope. She said I had to pick, one or the other.

    I said that makes absolutely no sense. Kroger gets reimbursed for the the MQs, they are just like money. Nope.

    She said they could only accept one coupon on an item; I asked, so you're telling me if I have a Kroger coupon and a manufacturer coupon, I can't use them both together here? Nope.

    I knew then she was a Moron, because Official Kroger Policy is that you can stack Kroger and MQs.

    I wrote a complaint, but the idiot response from Corp. I got was that Store Managers reserve the right to refuse any coupon.

    That's just icing on top of a too big a cake, all the trouble I've had shopping at Kroger w/ coupons over the past year. They aren't at all Customer oriented - they act more like they're doing you a favor allowing you to shop there. Pretty much every deal I've ever gotten at Kroger I had to sneak or fight for.

  4. I finally received an answer back from Publix today. Here's what he had to say: Thank you for your email on 1/26/10. I am Ken Jelonek, District Manager for Publix in Rutherford County.
    Publix has guidelines for the stores and ultimately the Store Manager makes the final decision on taking care of the customer. One guideline is a maximum of 6 BOGO's deals to the customer; this was done so we can have enough product on hand for all customers that wish to purchase this product. If we would allow one customer with 40 coupons take 20 BOGO deals of one item, then there is a possibility that we could be out for other customers, disappointing them. By giving you 6 deals, it allows us to have enough product for everyone. I'm sure you can understand that.

    As far as rain checks, I am unaware of any limits of 4 items per rain checks. I will share this with all the stores that a limit of 6 BOGO's should be the standard for rain checks. This would be consistent with the previous guideline stated above.

    I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to explain these guidelines to you, and thank you for shopping at Publix; I know you do have many choices out there.

    I don't understand their reasoning.

  5. T- since they actually responded, and wow- a little snide "I'm sure you can understand that" is not very nice. . . know what I'd do? I'd write back with something like this...
    Thanks you for your response. I have been wondering if I would hear back regarding this issue. If I'm understanding you, you're stating that because I am using coupons I can't buy the products I want to buy? So if I was paying cash (which coupons essentially are, as the store get back the full face value PLUS $.08 per coupon) I would be able to buy as many as I want?
    I'm sorry if I am misunderstanding, and you are saying I can only get 6 deals regardless of how I pay for the item. If this is the case then I fail to understand the reasoning. I understand that you'd like all your customers to be able to buy what they want, and get in on a great deal, since that is the point of a retailer, to sell product, but if one person buys 40, or if 8 people buy 5, you're still out of stock for everyone else. So how does limiting product help? Wouldn't it make more sense for Publix to look at the deals that are available and pre-order large quantities of the items that are such a great deal so the store can sell more? Then you are making your customers happy AND making money! Everyone wins!! Limiting your customers, regardless of how they are paying (coupons, cash, credit...), will only make them frustrated in the long run, and isn't Publix supposed to be the number one Customer Service grocery store in the US?
    I am also aware that when you write rainchecks, you lose money, so I also understand that, fiscally speaking, it's in your best interest as a business to not have empty shelves, but again, having a larger quantity of items on hand that are hot sellers makes way more sense than simply telling me I can't buy 14 jars of baby food. (or whatever item)

    I am interested to know if there are plans in the works to reverse this "guideline" to sell more, instead of less. I know there are many resources out there that spell out the deals available. If the consumers are able to jump on these deals, then I know the Publix corporate has the resources to see these same deals ahead of time, giving you the ability to order accordingly.



    Sorry, that really got under my skin.

    And I'm having a bad day, so this may not be the day for little miss nice brandy, because she's not around. (LOL)

  6. Anon- thanks! I was ready to strangle the Store Manager. UGH!!!

    Colleen- out of curiosity what vitamins did you buy and what value of q were you using?

    Melissa, I know it. If I had the choice, I would stick to Publix, despite the drama, but sometimes I need a few things quickly and I'd like to be able to run up to Kroger/Food Lion/Wal-Mart. Kroger has more overage opportunities, so I'm still hoping to stick with that. The funny thing is, I had 6 (or 8?) bottles of vitamins, and the cashier pushed thruogh three, but I guess when she got to four she didn't like it anymore and that's when she said she couldn't take them. Love. It. So the Manager says the register "won't allow it" but the cashier just manually did them right in front of my eyes.
    OH! And then he was saying, we can take it if it's not over the value, so like he would take ONE $5/1 for all 8 bottles. WTH? It clearly states it is $5 off any ONE item, not 8 items. UGH!
    They just pull this stuff out of their butts. I swear.

  7. Great post....were you at MY PUBLIX the other day! LOL! I had trouble with a publix store accepting the Knox coupon. I went round and round with them and after they adamently argued that the 'machine would read the $1.39 marking on the coupon' and they WOULD NOT let me use the coupon for more than the value of the item, they decided to let me use it for $2.00 instead of $4.00! WHAT??? We are not negotiating the value of the coupon! I told them that they could have a nice time putting up ALL my groceries and I would NEVER be back. Sigh...then I had to do my shop all over again elsewhere. :)

  8. It was the Nature's Bounty with the $5/1 q's. I had 6 and bought 6. No problems, no questions. The cashier did go check my bags for the soymilk I bought when he got to that q though- said he didn't remember my 4 1/2 gallon cartons. OK?

  9. BEthany- LMAO!!! What???? What kind of freaking sense does that make?? OMG. We're all lucky to still have hair at this point.

    Colleen- which vitamins though- the Vit D at $4.09 bogo or something else? Oh now that's funny about the soymilk.

  10. Wow, I wasn't expecting you to write my response for me...that's perfect!!! :O) I'll let you know if I get a reply on that one.

  11. T- lol! Sorry, I get carried away sometimes. You obviously don't have to use that, I am just on a roll today. (And I find I am better at writing things than speaking them) :D

  12. Oh, it was Vit C BOGO at 5.49. wish they had the D, that is a good price!! I didn't even see a tag for that on the shelf. Their vitamin section is smallish but I may have missed it. This was the cheapest I saw...

  13. Colleen- I wonder if that's why yours didn't beep though- b/c the original price of each bottle exceeds the $5 coupon value. I am going to give it a go! :)

  14. Now I'm wondering if Publix carries NB vitamins?

  15. Bethany, I had the a similar issue with Publix & the Knox coupon which by the way I have used 100's of times!

    The cashier who felt compelled for some reason to match up every single coupon to the actual products that had ALREADY been bagged decided after pulling the boxes back out, I could NOT use the coupon because it only cost $1.37 and it was for $4.00. I quote "we can't give you money for buying would we make money." Did I mention it took over 30 mins for this transaction due to her ignorance? I mentioned to her that in the future the computer knows if it is a mismatched coupon and she doesn't need to match each one up manually.

    Clearly, the cashier and the manager who eventually came over do not understand how coupons work because he used the same non-sense. Once, I explained that was not an issue he then told me I was not buying the product pictured. I asked him when did pictures super-cede the words written on the paper? He didn't have an answer and refused to allow me to purchase the know with the coupon.

    I ended up pay $38.00 for my groceries which would have cost me $22.xx or so for the same ones. What I should have done is make them take everything back but I needed several things in the buggie!

    I don't understand why things change daily, my assumption is there is a total lack of education of the entire staff! I would love to teach them how to use coupons so they would better understand us!

    I love to shop at Publix and I regularly send them business which generates revenue for them yet I get this kind of service????

  16. I have been couponing for a year, but I don't remember having this many hassles with using coupons "back then"? For those of you who have been doing this longer, is this something that comes in cycles? Hopefully it will get better?

    On Tuesday the Publix on Concord Rd would not take the milk coupon (free 1/2 gal wyb 1 gal)! What?!!!

    I know of 1 Kroger that accepts comp Q. They used to take ALL coupons, but now they only accept grocery store Q (apparently following the Publix train). In the past, I've never had an issue using a Publix Q & Mfg Q to get overage on my order. But I have been there 3 times in the last week & 2 of them they say they can't take competitor if it is more than the item is worth. Whatever.

    I'm beginning to wonder if there are ANY grocery stores out there who are focused on customer satisfaction & loyalty?

    I'm still refining my email to Publix. I want it to sound educated & not like I'm ranting at them.

    Wishing for the good ole days to come back again...

  17. Signs are up at the Moore's Lane more Target, Food Lion or GFS coupons :( Oh, well--it was SO nice while it lasted! I think the list of who they still take included Kroger, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Grassland Market. I pushed it and bought three Knox gelatins in one order yesterday, and of course got a new cashier who got really nervous about that many high value coupons. To keep from holding up the line, I took two of the Knox q's back and went to CS to get a refund. It was a little embarassing, but the CS cashier didn't say anything about the value being over the item price.

    While some of the changes in policy are disappointing, Publix is still so far and above Kroger, Harris Teeter, etc in Customer Service that I will always be glad to spend my money with them.


  18. I'll check at Publix next time I'm in- worth a shot since there's nothing much else there right now for overage.....