I know there are definitely rules for couponing - like not clearing out the shelves of a certain product just because it would be free for you. What are some other ethical couponing tips for bargain hunters?
Emily Helwig It's not always unavoidable, but when you've got a pile of coupons checking out, it can hold up the line. If possible, use a self checkout or let people who have many 1-3 items go ahead of you as a curtosy as to not hold them up when you have a basket full of items and a handful of coupons. Like I said, if you can, avoid holding up the line.
Emily Helwig Never clear the shelves unless it's unavoidable. Also, don't leave your expired coupons on the shelves or in the cart. The workers have to clean all that up.
Emily Helwig If you happen to have a "free item" coupon, where the cashier has to fill out the price, make sure you let her know about the coupon when he/she is scanning the item. That way they won't have to go searching for it at the end when you hand them your coupons.
Rena Gardana I agree with this. I actually put all the free items up at the very front of my order so the cashier can write in the prices as they go along to avoid having to search for it later.
Emily Helwig Don't try to use a coupon that you know is wrong and hope that it gets by (expired/wrong size/wrong variety/etc.) People trying to get away with that nonsense is why a lot of stores starting cracking down on couponing making it harder on those of us that want to do it right.
Emily Helwig Also, it helps to print out a copy of the store's coupon policy and keep it with your coupons. So if there is a dispute at the register, you can show them why you're right. Sometimes it will speed up the process (they won't have to call a manager) but sometimes they will anyway.
Above all, no matter what happens, just be nice. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Emily Helwig I also think you shouldn't buy more than you have need for -- even if the item is free. I see a lot of people at yard sales and flea markets selling items that I know they got for free with coupons. Not cool.
Erin Huffstetler Yes! Reselling your free or cheap items you get with coupons is just so unethical to me.
Kecia Depending on where you live, it could even land you in trouble. Yard sales are for selling things that you no longer have use for. If you use one to resell merchandise, you could get busted for operating a business without a license and tax fraud. You don't have to pay taxes on yard sale items that you sold for less than you paid for them, but you DO have to pay taxes on items that you sold at a profit.
Emily Helwig Don't be rude when the cashier isn't familiar with the coupon or how to ring it up. I often use a vegan MFC at my rural Michigan store... And everytime I have one, I end up with a different cashier who doesn't know how to use it. Just be patient since it's free. :)
Emily Helwig Read the fine print on the coupon and follow it. Do not photocopy, scan, or fax coupons. It is illegal to do so. If the coupon is not legitimate and you receive the discount (amount of the coupon) the store will not receive reimbursement for the amount of the coupon.
Emily Helwig Agree with many here--- allow others to go before you, or at the very least I will just warn them that I am using coupons and it may be a bit. Some choose other lines, some are appreciative of the warning. Also, always have your coupons ready. I always put free items at the very end so they are easy to locate.
Emily Helwig If you are getting "free" items, I'll write the price on there for the cashiers. I know my local cashiers appreciate not having to go through the entire receipt.
Emily Helwig If you are using a coupon for a service (hair styling, manicure or dining, etc.), tip on the regular price, not the price after the coupon discount.
Emily Helwig If I am at a store and decide not to use a coupon, I either hand it to someone in the asile or set the coupon on top of the item it is for if I decide against it.
Emily Helwig Where I work we sometimes have minimum purchase requirements to receive free gifts or certain discounts. eg Spend $50 and get a free item. I have customers who have boldly told me to my face that they just wanted the free item and they plan on returning the items that they have purchased the next day. This is not only wrong but it also hurts our store's sales goal.