Sunday, August 24, 2008

Introducing "The Enforcer"

Nothing much to write about on the knitting front. I haven't finished any projects this whole summer because of the lingering hand issue. The couponing is continuing however. Single Dad Tom is pretty close to pro and Tall Chocolate James is so freaking good, the stores not only PAY him to take stuff out of the store, this last Friday, the store literally paid him to bring stuff back. This leaves Comic Ronn to envy Tom and James and Barely 20something John can only hear the story and wonder how. Let me explain......

A few weeks ago, our little gang "Four Cheap Guys and a Frugal Chick" nearly wiped out the San Diego county Walgreen stores of Pop Tarts and Nutrigrain bars. There was a promo that if you buy 5 boxes of Pop Tarts for $10.00, you'd get a $5.00 Register Reward (RR) back as a credit to use on your next purchase in the store. Well for some reason there was some computer foul up and so what really happened is if you bought $10.00 in Pop Tarts or Nutrigrain bars, you'd get $10.00 in Register Reward making your purchase entirely FREE. Toss in a couple of coupons ....and the best we did was buy 5 boxes of Pop Tarts for $8.00 and we'd get $10.00 RRs back...MAKING $2.00 profit.

It was THAT particular deal that made believers of The Four Cheap Guys.

This week, Tom and James asked me to go with them to Walgreens to do "coupon training" and see if we figure out some good coupon/rebate deals during lunch. Cruising the store Tom did really well, buying nearly $80.00 worth of stuff like hair irons for his daughter who is his coupon clipping helper, his total out of pocket (OOP) was around $10.55 but after RR and rebates he will be making some basically, they paid him to shop at the store.

James and I did the "Ragu and Skippy" deal. James bought 6 jars of Ragu on sale for $10.00 getting a $5.00 RR back and a lip balm that was on sale for 2.99 giving a $2.00 RR back. Using coupons, James basically got out of the store for about 5.00 but getting back $7.00 in RR. We left the store all of us on a coupon high but James kept looking over his shoulder (I call this couponer's paranoia). I asked him what the heck he was doing and he said he was expecting to see Security coming after us. He was a little surprised to find that combining the coupons with sales and promos could net you stuff for nearly pennies.

The next day, James was going to shop for the Skippy peanut butter. On the coupon both the Skippy Regular and Natural peanut butter was pictured so he picked up 6 jars of the Natural peanut butter. While James and I were waiting for Tom, James was studying his receipt intently. By the time Tom came out of the store, James figured out he was short a $5.00 Register Reward that he was expecting. We all looked at the flyer and then realized that the deal the store was offering didn't include the Natural Peanut Butter so James decided to go back in and return it, because without the RR he was not getting nearly as good a deal as he was expecting.

James takes his receipt and the peanut butter back into the store to return it. The clerk is about to give his money back when the manager comes to the register. The manager "takes over" and starts questioning James asking if he did anything with the peanut butter, tampered with it. James explains that he thought it was part of the Ragu/Skippy deal and he'd get a RR for it, but since this wasn't part of the deal, he didn't want it. The manager was satisfied and gave James his $10.00 back.

On the way back to work, James is studying his receipt, counting his money and really puzzled because he felt he got too much money back. Turns out that the manager was so busy asking questions that he ended up giving James the full amount back....instead of the amount less coupons. So, James ends up $3.00 ahead.....just for walking into the store.

The day before, James basically got paid to take stuff out of the store, and this day he was paid to bring stuff back!

Meanwhile, I have no sympathy for Walgreens. They, Walgreens, has great sales, give great rebates, and offer store coupons that can be used with manufacturer's coupons, but the employees at certain stores can be complete jerks....looking at someone using coupons as someone stealing from them....or treating you like you are taking money out of their own pocket. I have always felt that the deals were good enough that I would never consider doing anything out of bound or attempt to stretch the boundaries of honest coupon redeemtion. But when I run into a situation like I did this morning....I seriously come out of the store a wreck feeling humiliated.

This weeks' Walgreen's flyer has an instore coupon for "Dawn Dish Soap - 10.3 ounce size" limit 2, for .99. This coupon can be used with a manufacturer's coupon that I have for .50 off any size Dawn dish soap. I went to the store and expected that I could get two bottles for .50 each. When the clerk rang me up, he said I couldn't use the coupon....because it was one per purchase. Well I was purchasing two, therefore I should be able to use two coupons. The manager came over, told me I was wrong but he would allow it THIS TIME and that he wasn't going to be taking so many coupons in the future. WTH???

I came home all ruffled and irritated and told Grant about it. So it began

Grant: "How many of those coupons do you have?"
Me: "A bunch, but they won't let me use them."
Grant: after reading the wording on the coupon, "well I guess we will just have to go to Walgreens and clean them out of their Dawn Dish Soap now".

Off we went. This time, there was no challenge or issue across multiple transactions. They took my coupons, let me buy my coupon limit and they were all friendly and smiley.

In the car, I looked at Grant and said...."what the heck just happened? They were great about it this time but this morning they were just awful and mean."

Grant: "This morning, you didn't take your Coupon Enforcer with you!"

I'm going to take couponing to a whole new level now.......... 8-)