Coupon Etiquette Truths We Hold Dear

Coupon Etiquette Truths We Hold Dear

I love a good deal.  Heck, I love a great deal.  I appreciate the generosity of the companies Free N Clear links to.  They are willing to provide us with free samples and coupons so that we can try their products.  Of course, they are hoping that their generosity will be rewarded with a sale, but they recognize that may not even be the case.  You may decide that you don’t like their product, but they are willing to take that risk.  In return, may I ask that you respect their generosity by not making it more risky for them?  When we play fair with them, it’s more beneficial for us all.  When we get greedy and take more than allowed, we are stealing from them and discouraging them from offering great deals in the future.  Be courteous and treat other people the way you would want to be treated.  So, what does being fair with companies mean?

  • Respect the advertiser limitations.  If the company says one sample or coupon per household, please don’t go through extensive efforts to circumvent that.  Don’t use more than address to get more than sample.  If a coupon is only printable once or twice, please don’t photocopy it.
  • Don’t steal coupon inserts. Since the advent of the internet and printable coupons, it’s been a long time since I actually bought a newspaper for the coupons.  However, when I did, I hated buying a newspaper only to find the coupons missing because some other inconsiderate couponer stole them.  It’s frustrating.  Think about the people after you.  Don’t be greedy.  If you want more than one set of inserts, then buy additional papers.
  • Proper Coupon Usage at the store
    • Be mindful of expiration dates.  Some military commissaries will accept outdated coupons.  However, to my knowledge, no major store accepts coupons once they have expired.  Try to keep your coupon wallet clean of expired coupons.  By all means, be honest.  Deliberately cutting off the expiration date or otherwise concealing it is dishonest.  It only hurts the stores, costing them money which, in turn, costs you (and other shoppers) money.  If you have expired coupons, consider donating them to overseas military families who can still use them.  A quick Google search will find many places that are happy to take them.  Be a good Samaritan and donate to those who have given so much to us.
    • Watch what you buy.  Make sure the item you are buying matches the item on the coupon. Watch size and quantity restrictions.
    • Be mindful of store policies. Every store has different policies regarding coupons.  Some stores will double them (lucky you.)  Some stores will let you use a manufacturer coupon in conjunction with store coupons.  Some stores will accept competitor coupons.  Some stores don’t accept coupons at all.  Research the store’s policies before you go shopping.  If their policies are on their website, print them.  Better yet, save a tree and save the link on your smartphone.  I researched and found a TON of store policies.  Your favorite store is probably listed here.  Be sure to let me know if it’s not and I will do my best to find it and update the site.
    • Be courteous to store personnel.  I used to be a cashier and have been on the receiving end of terrible rudeness concerning coupons.  It was usually because someone didn’t know our store’s policy and got put out about it.  Is it really worth belittling a manager or cashier because your .50 coupon wasn’t accepted?  People who do things like this are the reason many cashiers hate to see people with a ton of coupons coming through their lines.
    • Don’t clean out the shelves.  So, you found a great deal and you have 100 coupons for your favorite item that you can now get for pennies.  Don’t just clean out the shelves.  It’s not fair to other shoppers.  There is nothing worse than going to the store for an item you need and finding them all gone.  Come back another day or visit another store.  I mean, what ARE you going to do with 100 packages of taco shells?  They will expire before you have a chance to use them all.  I’m all for donating extras to food pantries, however, that doesn’t make it ok to be inconsiderate of other shoppers.
  • If you aren’t eligible, don’t request it.  So many times, while I am out hunting for samples to help us all save money, I come across a page that says the company had to rescind the offer because ineligible people were requesting it.  If it’s an offer for diabetic children and you don’t have a diabetic child, leave the freebie for someone that does.  Is it worth depriving a family of information or a sample that they need just so you can get a freebie?  Yes, freebies are fun and it’s exciting to get cool stuff in the mailbox, but it’s not cool to do it at someone else’s expense.

Is there anything else that you think of when you think of a discourteous bargain hunter?