Thursday, June 11, 2009

Walgreen's "The Incident"

I knew it was a matter of time before an incident like this occurred. I have been going along with this couponing without problems for quite awhile, so I guess the odds were against me. I am letting you in on all the details because I want all of you to be empowered consumers! Coupons are like paying in cash and we should not have to endure the stares, the sighs and the tone! Stick up for yourself, remain calm, and all will work out! I would like to note that I remained calm throughout this transaction, and it was the Assistant Manager who got all worked up!
The purchases above look benign enough. Only two product, five items total. But such a great deal! Here's how it was supposed to be...
  • 3 All detergent $4.49 each, $1 MQ or IP for each. All 3 bottles would total $10.47 and then you get a $5 register reward (meaning all 3 for $5.47 awesome)
  • 2 Playtex tampons $3 each, $1 MQ on each, and you receive a $2 register reward when you buy two. Ends up at two boxes for $4.

We ring it up, I pay and only the Playtex register reward prints, not the All reward. I bring this to the attention of the cashier, she calls the assistant manager for help, and here's what happened. (paraphrased of course)

Her: What's wrong?

Me: I didn't get the $5 RR that was supposed to print for the All detergent

Her: (picking up the playtex RR) That's because you paid with a register reward, if you do that another one won't print

me: Actually the reward you're holding is the one that did print. I didn't pay with a RR

her: You used too many coupons so it wouldn't print.

me: No, I bought 5 items and used 5 coupons

her: (voids prior receipts and re-rings the items and rewards still don't print) What about this gift card?

me: I used up a gift card that had $2 on it, but that counts as cash not as a coupon

her: Well, you can't use a coupon on an item that will print a register reward

me: Is this a new policy? I have always used coupons to do that

her: This isn't new, it's always been this way. You are never allowed to use a coupon on any item that will give you a register reward, that's the way the policy is.

me: Then why did it print a register reward for me on the Playtex? I did the same thing on that purchase.

her (really getting mad now) That is wrong, I'm going to have to fix that, you shouldn't be getting that.

me: I have shopped this way here for almost 9 months along with many friends and this has never happened before. Can you clarify your coupon policy again so I am understanding you right?

her: (getting $5 cash from the register) look, I'm giving you your $5 does that make you happy? It shouldn't ever accept coupons on the RR. I'm trying to be nice to you here and refunding your money. I will make a note to fix the problem of the other RR's printing with a coupon.

me: could you please give the number to your corporate headquarters so I can be clear on the policy?

her: (tossing receipt at me) It's on the receipt.

And she walks away. Like I'm supposed to just go away because she gave me the money. I spend a lot of time and money in that store and I wasn't satisfied.

Well, I went home and called Walgreen's headquarters. They were sooooo nice on the phone, apologizing for my inconvenience and promising to have someone call within 48 hours. Not even 15 minutes later the phone rings and it is the Manager of the Portage store wondering how he can help me. I asked for clarification on the coupon policy with register rewards. He was familiar with my transactions because the Asst manager had just given him the receipts to look at. I explained what she told me and he actually said "I wish she wouldn't say it like that" with a big sigh. Sounds like trouble in paradise right?

He filled me in on the details. Yes, you can use coupons on a register reward deal (which I knew) unless the deal states "must spend $20 to get $5 RR". In that case, your coupon brings your total down and you wouldn't necessarily qualify for the deal. (DUH, I wanted to say). He was very apologetic, wanting to know if I was satisfied with the answer. I told him that all I wanted was clarity. She has already refunded the amount to me that I should have gotten on a reward. Turns out it was a computer glitch, but the woman would not admit it. She was determined to prove I did something wrong. Maybe she was waiting for me to give up, that it wasn't worth me time to wait for it to get figured out.

But that is MY money they have. I spend my time finding deals and driving to their store when I have plenty of other places I could shop. Using coupons is like using cash. The store gets reimbursed and they make a little extra change to account for their time. They accept coupons because they know people also buy a lot of things that aren't on sale when they are in the store too. It is a marketing tool for them! Be an informed consumer. If the store makes a mistake, wait for them to correct it. That is their job! You wouldn't just throw your money away would you? You have just as much right to shop their as someone that doesn't use coupons.

Remember, keep your cool and the truth will prevail. Be informed, and make better choices as well. Be empowered, as the customer you do have the power to make the decisions to buy or not to buy.

How are your Walgreen's deals this week? Be sure to check the blogs that I follow for a full list of deals....that's what I do!


  1. Way to stick to your guns! Beth

  2. I had trouble with Walgreens a few months ago and I actually won't shop there anymore. I do better at CVS anyway. They accused me of coupon fraud because I wanted to use one of their in ad coupons along with a manufactorers coupon. The lady was horribly rude and told me I couldn't do that. I said it has always been your policy in the past to accept man coupons along with walgreens coupons. She snapped that if I knew so much about their policy maybe I should work there. ha, then I would have to work for her - no way I have decided my time and money is better spent elsewhere.