FREE WHOLE FOODS
I posted this way back in April of 2010, and thought it would be a great reminder if you're new to coupon shopping. I've added a few tips I've learned since then, but I'd love to hear what other suggestions you have on how to have an easy experience in the checkout late!
We all know how important it is to find the “right” cashier at the checkout lane. I am the worst, I literally walk in the store, scout out my options, and roam the aisles until the one I like is available (this is sometimes tough to do at my Publix, they're usually chomping at the bit to help me!)
I hate to say it, but some folks in this world are just nicer than others, so obviously the same goes for cashiers. But I've found that most (definitely not all) will warm up to me with a few helpful tips.
- BE NICE TO THEM! Smile, make small talk, ask how their day is going (easy, right?)
- If someone is behind you and has just one or two items, let them go first. I've offered to do that many times and sometimes they would rather stay and watch my deals! But it'll let the cashier know you're not there to make them crazy, and the person behind you in line won't go nuts. (I had my first grouchy person ever behind me in line last week. Bless her heart, I don't think she could have sighed any louder and been any more miserable! My sweet cashier was totally on my side though and just kept scanning those coupons!)
- Let your cashier know you've got coupons. Some like the whole stack up front, some couldn't care less how they get them. Let them know you're excited about the deals!
- Save your rain check items or items that are free with a coupon until the end. That way they can easily give you the deduction for your rain check or free coupon because they'll have the item right there with the coupon.
- Don't use expired coupons. While Kroger and some drug stores will occasionally accept these, Publix will not. If you use one, they're bound to question every coupon you've got. You want to let them know you're totally fair, because some of them are looking for you to mess up!
- Clip the entire coupon! A reader just emailed me from Georgia and said that many cashiers are getting stuck with the entire printed sheet and they have to clip the coupons before turning them in. Really, is there another way to drive cashiers more crazy? We want them on our side! Keep scissors in your purse and you can even clip in the checkout line while they're scanning your items (although I do recommend making sure you watch the prices while they're scanning).
- Always, Always, ALWAYS be ethical with your coupon usage. The way you coupon sets the stage for yourself and other couponers, and it's not worth sacrificing your integrity for a dollar. Go HERE to see more on basic coupon acceptance policies and HERE to see more on coupon ethics (thanks Kim Saves!)
- If a coupon doesn't work and you feel it's legitimate, NICELY ask to see a manager. You might say something like “I thought the last time I was here you all took those, I just want to make sure so I'll know for next time.” Or, if it's not that big a deal, just let them know you don't want to purchase the item (unless it's something you really want!)
- If you're buying something to donate, let them know that – they love it! Because I did the $100 challenge at our church, many of the cashiers at my store know I grab things to donate, so they like to see my finds! One night I was buying 15 boxes of potatoes (imagine that!) I was a little worried that they might limit how many deals I could get, so I just mentioned that I was buying some for our food pantry. It made them excited to see how cheaply I got them!
- When all else fails, figure out your favorite cashier's schedule – really. There's a guy at our store that we all LOVE (he's really great – he even knows my name!) A friend of mine loves him too, so we decided we want his schedule! We really need something more exciting to do than couponing, don't we?
I really believe that as long as we treat our cashiers kindly and with respect, odds are they'll do the same us. (I know there are some exceptions, but so far I've been pretty lucky!) Do you all have any other tips on buddying up with cashiers? I'd love to hear them!