Being a considerate and courteous couponer should be something we all strive for in our quest for the ultimate savings. The misleading TV shows and YouTube videos that glorify the “extremism” form of couponing are not helping put those of us who do it in a sensible and conscientious manner in the proper light. If you've been on the receiving end of the nasty glares, snotty comments and just bold rude behavior, you'll know what I'm referring to. The good thing here though, is that we can each do our best to change that stereotype and put a more positive spin on our label of “couponer”.
~ Be prepared. Have your coupons in order and ready to hand over. Have your form of payment ready to present to the cashier. Don't waste everyone's time digging around in your bag or binder when you could have had it all done BEFORE you ever got in line.
~ READ THE FINE PRINT. Be sure that your coupons aren't expired, are for the same size/style/brand/quantity that you're purchasing. If it states “4 like coupons per day”, don't try to use 6. Follow their rules.
~ Don't try to pass off photocopied coupons as originals. You're toeing the line of legal/illegal and if the store accidentally takes one, they don't get reimbursed from the manufacturer. This could have a big impact on all of us with stores refusing to take printed coupons and manufacturers discontinuing issuing them.
~ Know the store's coupon policy. If it states they only accept 2 like coupons per shopper, don't try to sneak in 4. If they don't take printables, don't try to make them. Also, if they limit one store card per household, don't try to scam them and have 8 cards, including 1 for the dog and 1 for the cat. It's GREEDY and it's against the rules.
~ Shop during the off-peak hours. If you have all day and can shop any time, choose early morning or late evening to do your couponing runs. There is nothing more frustrating for ANY shopper than to run into the store on the way home from work just to grab some milk and get stuck behind a couponer with two carts and 75 coupons.
~ Along this line, if you have a cart full and the customers behind you only have 2-3 items, ask them if they'd like to go ahead of you. I always try to go to the register when there is NO ONE in sight in the store (other than the friendly cashier). Of course it never fails that as soon as I get my cart unloaded, 5 people will mysteriously teleport into line behind me. Where the heck do they come from???
~ Don't clear out a store's shelves just because you have that major wad of coupons for one item. Do you really need 59 dish soaps right now? Products go on sale in a 6-8 week cycle. Those dish soaps really will come back on sale again in the near future and the manufacturer really will issue a new coupon around that time. A good rule of thumb is to buy enough product to get your family through until the next sales cycle, possibly plus a few extra. The key is to BUY WHAT YOU NEED. Don't be greedy or try to get featured on the next extremist TV show episode. Ugh.
~ Pay attention while the clerk is ringing up your items. It saves a lot of time and irritation if you catch a mispriced item while it's being rung up versus after the sale is completed. It's annoying for others to stand there while the clerk has to dig through your 12 bags to find that toothpaste that rang up wrong.
~ On the same note, if you are purchasing items with rain checks or fill-in coupons, have them grouped together and present them at the end of your transaction. This also makes it easier and quicker for the clerk to adjust the prices. (Some stores prefer the rain check items to be done at the beginning, it will vary according to where you're shopping.)