Tuesday, September 02, 2014

How Fry's Food Made Me Hate Couponing

I used to loooove couponing.  I would put at least 20 hours a week into getting my papers, cutting coupons, organizing them, and the best part, taking them shopping to get my discounts.  After many, many hours of hard work, my reward was getting discounts on my food.  That doesn't mean I cheated on my couponing.  I never tried to get items that weren't on the coupon nor did I ever try to print out bad coupons from my printer.  I was just an honest to goodness coupon loving gal.  Well, something changed all that.

Every single store I ever coupon at (pretty much) have the same policies.  I could walk into Safeway and they'd almost always tell me the same thing. No matter who I was talking to.  Same goes for CVS or Walgreens.  They are easy and simple.  They knew their store policies and didn't have an angry look on their face when I took out my coupons.

The second worst (before I tell you the first) would be Walmart.  I printed out a store policy and stores pretty much go between two different policies.  Either they follow it perfectly or they changed just one thing about it.  It's not as much fun to coupon at Walmart because they never have sales (sorry, but a penny rollback doesn't count) and they don't double their coupons in any way.  However, in general they can be cheap. Still, it's way more fun to shop at stores that have great discounts on different foods for different weeks out of the year.

The worst, worst, worst store I ever deal with as far as couponing goes is Fry's Food.  Some places call it Kroger.  Not only does nobody know the policy but most managers don't agree on it.  It's almost like it's up to each manager to decide how much they want to follow the store couponing policy or not at all.  I can go to one Fry's and they'll allow 50 coupons in one transaction.  Then I could go to another down the street and they only allow 10.  Why?  It's nowhere on the policy.  At times I get looked at with disgust by cashiers and managers at times for being a couponer.  I've never broken any rules but it's very confusing when each store chooses how they want to handle couponers.  I am not ridiculous and expect what I can't have and in fact, I'm really polite to the cashier.  I try to never hold up lines and I don't go during the rush hours.  There are times I was even told just to go home because my coupons froze up their system.  I wasn't offered to be helped on a different register.  Whether I coupon or not, I still on average spend about $900 a month on groceries.  I'm a good customer.  When I started to wonder why each Fry's were so different on their policies, a friend that is a manager confirmed it to me that it's left up to the managers to decide how to handle couponers and most are confused about it.  One time I reported a manager for being extremely rude to me.  When he was called up and confronted by corporate, to save himself he lied and said he was only telling me I couldn't price match to other stores.  I would never, ever do that as I know Walmart is the only place that does that.  It's easy for corporate to take the manager's side because they are in leadership but it left me as a customer with a mark on my head as a liar by other managers.

I finally just let it go for my sanity.  I worked too hard to deal with the anger I got from managers and the people working the registers.  It's really hard knowing the policy (which seems super simple and easy to understand) but deal with so much confusion.  My last straw was a few weeks ago, couponing, trying to save some money, the register freezing up, being told to just go home without my groceries, my car getting keyed by gangsters while shopping and right in front of their security guard, trying to report it to security, and being turned away because it was too late and they were about to close.  I had it.  It was on tape that it was done in the parking lot but I was brushed away.  I love, love Fry's for their weekly discounts and doubling of their coupons but their customer service is greatly lacking and drives customers to higher priced stores for the sake of good service.

That's why I gave up couponing. I'll never treat a register person or a manager rudely back.  It's not right to act angry and spew out things I'd later regret.  When they'd turn me away, I learned to just walk out and deal with it.  But I think the BEST thing Fry's corporate could do for their customers is maybe hold a class on just their coupon policies alone and how to treat couponers fairly.  There may be people that abuse them but a lot of us out there are just trying to find ways to stretch our money and are good customers.  :P
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