Saturday, August 06, 2011

Coupon Bullying at Target and Fry's Food Begins

My over flowing coupon book
The other day I thought I would visit Target to use my Tide coupons.  So I went to the Travel size section and picked out 10 of their Tide travel size packs for $1.  I had seen other professionals use the coupons for the same purpose and the coupon didn't say you couldn't use it for that size.  So I took it up to the register and the cashier refused to take the coupons for $1 off.  She said that is just not something they do there at Target.  So I said, "Is this Target exclusive about their rules?  Why is it okay at the other Targets?"  She still refused so I asked her her manager.  Then her manager also said she couldn't use them.  So then I asked for HER manager.  The whole time I was completely polite.  Didn't even get angry.  But they were treating me with contempt and even made me feel stupid by their tone of voice.  So then the store manager came and approved it right away.  She also said the coupons were completely valid.  Then she walked away so the cashier said my total was 90 cents after the coupons.  BUT she also said I can't just pay for tax.  That I need to buy something.  So I looked around and found a candy bar that I didn't even want in order to finish the 20 minute long (and only 10 item) transaction. She acted very irritated and of course since it was taking so long I had people watching and staring.  My problem isn't so much that every Target does not agree with their policies, but that the cashiers are treating couponers like idiots before really even knowing their own rules.

So then I immediately head over to Fry's where I know you can just pay the tax no problem.  BUT of course I buy ALL my groceries from Fry's.  I may save a lot but I still give them all my business and spend a good amount of money with them every month since I have a large family.  I go to the aisle to get my 11 Ivory body wash and then go to check out after I select a more items that I didn't even have coupons for.  I handed my coupons to the cashier and she gets very irritated with me and even stops talking to me!  In fact, she was so rude with me that I calmly said that I would just go to another lane.  What does she say back?  "Oh, then go!"  So I did.  Thankfully the other cashier was much nicer. Do you want to know where I am sending the small packs of Tide?  To someone I know that are missionaries in South Africa.  Often anything I have given away was either to help others or because people like the people in South Africa, absolutely miss American products and would just love a chance to use it again. I'm not out to hoard.  Just making things a bit easier for me and some around me.

That's not my only experience.  The other day I went to save money at Fry's again with my coupons but this time none of them were for free.  I was just using my coupons on sales.  After I get in the lane and it was getting pretty late (15 minutes to closing), I realize I was getting the girl in her 20's that just does not seem to like couponers but she was the only cashier.  She will pull every single thing out of the bag to check every coupon.  Not necessarily a bad thing except for that she rings the manager constantly about very obvious stuff that qualifies.  So the line gets so backed up.  She'll question and question me and I have to explain.  I feel like a criminal trying to get away something with all the intense questioning and mad dog looks.  It's almost like they think I'm trying to rip them off.  Unfortunately, the manager gave the same treatment every time he had to get called over. Sometimes her machine would automatically reject one of my coupons even though the exact same previous coupon worked. So instead of fixing it, she'll just say I can't use it.  In the end I had to pull out about 10 items from my bags and still pay for 10 other items I didn't want since she refused my coupons that were legit.  The reason?  They said it was getting late so I couldn't take the other stuff off my order.  They were getting so mad I thought they seriously were gonna ban me from the store.  

Check out more TEES and cool
coupon binders!
You have to know me.  I don't yell at people other.  I'm polite even in really intense situations.  I will make a stand for something that is right but I won't lose my temper and yell.  EVER.  That's why when a friend once accused me of yelling over the phone, I just laughed because even my husband knows I never yell.  He lives with me for goodness sake.  If anyone, your spouse knows you best.  So this kind of treatment was not only unwarranted but was so far from good customer service that I'm sure Kroger Co. would be shocked.  Hopefully.  Kroger is cheaper but is known to sacrifice it's customer service.  Unfortunately I can't afford to shop at Safeway which has great customer service so I'm stuck with disgruntled employees at Fry's.

Back to the story.  When I reminded the manager of their coupon policies and told him that the other manager at the SAME store said something different than him, he replied "Well, then he needs to be sat down and have counseling."  I said, "Whatever happened to good customer service and caring how you treat your customers?   He shrugged his shoulders and said, "That's just how we operate."  I'm sure Kroger is very proud.  

Customer Service: 5 stars
Price: 3 stars

Customer Service: 1 star
 Price: 5 stars

So I guess it just depends what matters to you.  My dad says he likes to shop Safeway because they treat their customers very well.  If it means he pays a little bit more then so be it.  People really do have an impact on your day.  Grocery shopping is already a chore.  Why make it something you dread?   I have six children and my husband's career type has drastically changed due to the economy.  I use couponing to survive and make sure my family is gonna be okay.  EVEN if I'm filling up a couple of pantries.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow or his job to last. We don't know.  It could last 20 years.  But you BET I'm gonna make some plans of survival which mean I'm gonna stock up.  Does that mean coupon bullying will make me want to stop?  No way.  Whenever I see people in need, I gladly help someone out with what I got.  In fact, I give about half of it away to someone I love in need.  Couponing people are not pathetic by any means.  They are smart. If something happens because of the economy, I'm sure its' the couponers that will have people knocking on their door.  Is it possible the cashiers are just jealous and can't fathom it?  Wish they could do it?  Often, we know the store policies more than them because we spend hours and hours planning.  You bet we're gonna go armed with information on how their policies work. Even more than coupon policies, but I think a good sitting down of customer service training would benefit stores like these the best.  Why argue over one coupon?  Why not save a customer?  

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