PAGING: Mulder and Scully.
Okay, so while this is situation does not exactly qualify as paranormal activity, something NOT normal is definitely going on here. (Insert squinted eyes and a thoughtful stroking of the chin.)
It all started last month. As a blogger who conducts product reviews, I’m often given a free product coupon (FPC) as an enticement to try a product (or as an alternative to shipping a perishable good to my door). And so, coupons in hand, I visited my local market to do my usual grocery run – which included trying two new products by way of FPCs. Once checked out, I glanced down at my receipt and noticed that the “Total Manufacturer Coupon Savings” were $3.49, when it should have been $6.98 as I had redeemed two coupons. This had happened once before – recently, actually – so I informed the cashier, she apologized and handed the coupon over, and instructed me to go to customer service to have it sorted out.
No harm done, right? Right.
Yesterday, I once again had a few FPCs to redeem – three, to be exact. I also had a $3 off coupon for a well-known yogurt manufacturer, and a 10¢ coupon for PC Canned Crab. (Don’t ask. It’s delish, though.)
The value of each of the free products was $5.29. So, redeeming 3 x $5.29 FPCs, 1 x $3.00 off yogurt and 10¢ off canned crab, one would expect my total manufacturer coupon savings to total $18.97. With me so far?
It was a crazy Saturday afternoon, the kids were whining, and I was struggling to pack up a huge grocery run while my husband lugged the bags into the cart. I wasn’t exactly paying attention to what the cashier was doing, so it was only as we were walking out of the store that I glanced down at the receipt and noticed the total coupon savings were $5.29. Say what???
My Spidey Sense started tingling.
I calmly walked back to the cashier, already ringing through another customer, and interrupted, saying: “It looks like you forgot to deduct my coupons. Can I please have them back? I’d like to take them to customer service and have the receipt adjusted.”
“Oh, I thought I did. Sorry,” she offered lamely in return, not meeting my eye.
BACK UP HERE. Beep. Beep. Beep. (That’s the sound of a dump truck backing up.)
First, I always group items with coupons together in order to make checkout as efficient as possible. So, I had placed the items on the conveyor belt consecutively and handed over the corresponding coupons as soon as the items made their way to the front of the line. While I sometimes I watch the cashier ring in the coupons, other times, I turn my attention to packing up my groceries. After all, why would I assume that she’d ring in one and ignore the others?
Second, as with the case with FPCs, since there is no set value the cashier must turn the coupon over and input the selling price on the back. Again, with five products in a row, all with coupons and three with restrictions, why do it once and then quietly slip the other four in a drawer?
Y’all probably know what I’m driving at. She was trying to take the coupons for herself! Wench!
Because if they are not actually deducted from a bill, or filled out with a selling price, they’re free to use again, no? Especially if they’re for a highly desirable item that retails for $5.29? And who doesn’t want $3 off yogurt? (Not really sure why she didn’t input the 10¢ canned crab coupon, though. That shall remain a mystery.)
Am I being too cynical? Could it have actually been an innocent mistake? If the very same thing had not happened TWICE before, I may be able to convince myself that perhaps it was her first week on the job. However, I did mention the absurdity of the transaction to the customer service manager, who only frowned and agreed that yes, how strange.
How NOT normal.
And so in the absence of a conspiracy, my advice to all my coupon-toting friends is to ALWAYS double check that your coupons have been deducted correctly on your receipt – especially in the case of multiple coupons on the same transaction. I ended up receiving $13.68 back on my Visa to adjust for the hijacked savings… hey, you can buy a lot with $13.68! That’s four Joe Fresh nail polishes!
Tell me – do you always check your receipt?
p.s. In an effort of full disclosure, although I really like the little joke above (three words: People of Walmart) these transactions did not take place at Wallyworld… just a well-known Canadian grocery giant :)