As we all know, I coupon. I have a big ol' coupon binder. I buy 2-4 newspapers every Sunday. I spend at least 2 hours every week cutting out and organizing my coupons. I do my "homework" to find the best deals and matching up coupons with sales to get the most of my money. I spend about an hour every day on the internets checking coupon websites and blogs for the latest hot coupons or notifications on unadvertised deals. I do pretty well for the small town I live in and the limited stores I have access to. I go to the next big town over for the bigger stores, like Target, Walmart and the big grocery store that doubles coupons. In my little town, I only have CVS, Rite Aid, Food Lion and a family-owned food store.
That said, I know most of the people that work at my small town stores. I know which cashiers are easy-going about coupons and which ones to avoid like the plague. One of the stores has a woman that I call the 'coupon nazi' because she is an absolute hard nose when it comes to coupons and often hands some of them back to me, refusing to take them. I don't do anything illegal when I use my coupons. I make sure they are for the right item, the right size, not expired... Some stores allow you to use both the store coupon and the manufacturer's coupon on the same item. This store does, but coupon nazi won't let me. She won't even scan it to see if the machine takes it or not. If the machine beeps, then it won't take, but trust me when I say the machine won't beep, but she won't take it. So I have learned not to go to her when I have a lot of coupons to use.
I am on a first name basis with some of the cashiers and managers and it's a really nice thing, too. They know me and I know them. They'll sometimes go the extra mile for me and I always have a smile and say nice things. I know better than to behave rudely and like I said, I do my homework so that when I get to the store, I know exactly what to get and which coupons to use to pay the least amount of money possible.
There's a particular lady that works at CVS. Whenever I walk in and see her behind the counter, I scream inside my head, "Noooooooooo!" I smile and wave hello, and hope that maybe this time, there will be no problem. Every single time I get her, she gives me attitude about my coupons. She won't take something, or she shakes her head the whole time she scans my coupons. She won't scan my bag tag because I don't have a bag, but I am not using the store's bag, so scan the bag tag! She often has to call the manager over because she has issues with what I am buying or my coupons, or my extra care bucks. She punches the computer screen so hard it shakes. One time she even sneered at me and said, "I never use coupons!" Well good for you lady, but I have 4 children, a husband out of work and I need to make every penny go as far as I can get it! Maybe if she used coupons, she wouldn't have to work at her old age now.
I went to CVS today. She was there. *sigh* I wasn't going to get much, so I hoped there would be no problems. No coupons to use, but I did have some extra care bucks and a gift card, so no money comes out of my pocket. I smiled, waved, and said, "How are you today?" as I walked in the store. I browsed a bit, checked the clearances, picked up my items and then went up to her to pay. First thing she did was hand me a piece of paper with a handwritten note on it: We cannot take any expired coupons (not word for word, but that's what she meant). I read it and looked up at her and said, "I never use expired coupons."
"Oh, I just wanted to make sure you knew that. Some people try to use them and we can't take them." She pooh-poohed her hands at me and nodded as if she was just telling me something important.
So what is she trying to tell me? "Well, I don't use expired coupons so you don't have to worry," I tell her. Then I get her to scan my items and I hand over $10 in extra care bucks and a gift card that has a $10 value on it. She looks at them and says she can't take the card, it's too much money. I tell her she takes the extra care bucks, then use the gift card to pay the remaining balance and I take the gift card back with what's left on it. She tells me I can't do that. I say I can, to just treat it like a gift card. She gives me a look, like "Ok, but I don't think it will work."
Sure enough, she takes the $10 extra care bucks, then uses the $10 gift card and treats it like a gift card and ta-dah! The machine takes out the remaining balance and I keep the card and whats left on it. She's dumbfounded and I tell her, "Now you know!"
I swear, every. single. time. If I get her, she has issues with me. It makes my husband mad that I come home and tell him, "I got the old lady at CVS today," because whenever I say that, he knows I had a problem with her. It's getting to the point when there is a hot sale at CVS, I choose to go to the bigger town farther away just so I don't have to deal with her. She might not be there that day, but I don't have her schedule, I don't know which days she's there or not. It's just easier to go to the other CVS where all the people treat me nicely.
I know there are some people who don't use coupons at all, others that use them a little bit, and others, like me, who use them to bring a grocery bill down from $65.00 to $10.00. Just because I shop this way: take the extra time to sit down, do my homework, check the internets for unadvertised bargains, plan my shopping trip, print or cut out coupons, does not make me evil. It does not mean I am breaking the law. I am not illegally using fraudulent coupons or scratching off bar codes or wiping out the shelves. I am simply a consumer that has figured out how to get the maximum value out of coupons and sales. My husband likes to put it this way: The money I save is like a paycheck for all the hours I put into couponing. Well said.
I don't know what her beef is, maybe she is just jealous that I save all this money and walk out with a full shopping cart without having to take out my wallet. Maybe she's mad that she has to work instead of being at home playing with the grandkids. Maybe she tried couponing once and she didn't like all the work involved or it didn't save her the kind of money she thought it would. Maybe she buys the wrong newspaper that carries no coupons. Whatever the reason, I wish she'd snap out of it and stop taking it out on me. Maybe I'll have Andrew come with me next time and if she's the cashier, I'll send him and see if she gives him a hard time. Then I'll know if she treats everyone like that or is it just me.