Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Food for Thought: Beware of the PDF

Just this week, Albertsons told me that they "no longer accept internet coupons that allow for a free item" when I tried to use the spend $100 get a free gallon of milk coupon. I believe this stemmed from people copying the $1 oatmeal coupons last week. Also Rite Aid was very scrutinising of my interent coupons. The cashier, one of my favs, showed me a list of fraudulent coupons out there that they were supposed to refuse. They were for large amounts like $9 off razors and $7.50 off diapers, but the rest of the coupon looked very similar to legit ones from reliable sources. My message in this rant, be careful. A few fraudulent coupons can ruin it for everyone! It is only a matter of time before they will just pull all internet coupons, most of which are higher value than inserts. Make sure you are getting your coupons from a reliable couponing site or the companies actual site. Please don't use random "email" or "pdf" files that are floating around in cyperspace, especially if they are manufacturer's coupons and if you know they might be fraudulent. The stores will not get paid for these and lose revenue. Enough lost revenue could alter their coupon policy. Here are a few tips for using internet coupons:
  1. Print with colored ink (I had a few printed in black and white because my color was out...these are heavily scrutinized.)
  2. Whenever possible use a "clipped" coupon. Sometimes identical coupons are in the insert and they are generally accepted much easier. (However, many times the internet coupons are of higher values.)
  3. Only print your fair share. When you run to several other computers to print "two" off and then use them all together it draws suspicion. Plus, it take the opportunity to print that coupon from someone else.
  4. If you suspect a coupon to be fraudulent, do not use it. Cashiers will trust you more, if they know you are an honest couponer.
  5. Respect the cashiers/managers decision, don't make a scene over a couple of dollars. Remember they are just doing their job, they could also face reprimanding for taking bad coupons. Also if you have a bad or especially GOOD situation report it. A lot of times the employees might get special bonuses/recognition for being a GOOD employee.

Last of all remember couponing is a game. If you play the game unfairly or cheat, you lose and eventually the game is finished for everyone. Let's all keep the game fun!

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