What to do when a store refuses your coupon!

by ThePrudentPatron on September 13, 2013

when a store refuses your coupon

“My Winn Dixie does not let me use the bogo coupon since the toothbrushes are already bogo =(. Is there a way around it? ” Anonymous

I received this question on the FREE toothbrush deal. Since most couponers have experienced this or something similar, I thought I would share with you how I handle these situations.

I start by trying to avoid the problem entirely by selecting a friendly looking cashier. While I am being wrung up, I engage my cashier in friendly conversation. They are working hard and appreciate friendliness, just like we do. I also pick up a few other bargains to go with my free deal. I’ve found I have fewer issues if my total isn’t zero.

If a cashier refuses to take a coupon that should be accepted according to the store’s coupon policy, I ask to speak to a manager. Often stores will refuse a coupon because they don’t think you can get something completely for free. The assumption is you are trying to get away with something. Sometimes just nicely explaining that the store is getting paid for the item whether you pay for it with your cash or a coupon will do the trick!

If the manger refuses, I would contact the corporate offices. You can usually find the contact information on the store’s website. I have been known to call from my cell phone in the store and hand the phone to the manager when customer care says I am in the right.

If all else fails, I try going to a different location. Coupon friendliness/knowledge can vary greatly from store to store.

This is my procedure with any store that I believe is refusing a legitimate deal or coupon.

The bottom line is if none of the above works then you have to take your business elsewhere. It is their store and there is no law saying they have to take your coupon, but in my experience one of the above steps will do the trick.

What do you do when a store refuses your coupon?

Back to Coupon 101                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Update 9/30/13.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 24, 2010 at 9:12 PM

I can vouch for contacting the corporate office. I did that with the CVS SoBe deal and got very favorable results so when they had them again on BOGO, I was able to use my coupons. They will tell you they reserve the right to limit quantities, so at that point CVS would only let me use one coupon. Luckily, my Mom was with me and used the other one :)


flminivanmama August 24, 2010 at 10:24 PM

It's so funny to me when the cashier says I can't use them together. It's not like the manager walks around the store the night before the sale starts deciding what to mark down… these decisions are made BY corporate WITH the manufacturer. BOTH of them know they are putting an item on BOGO when there is a BOGO coupon available…. they WANT you to get the item and then decide you can't live without it and absolutely must buy it regardless of the price….



Benjamin August 25, 2010 at 12:58 AM

One idea to try with Winn Dixie is make sure your coupons have been scanned before giving them your Winn Dixie card/phone number. I did this with my local Winn Dixie tonight, and ended up getting four free toothbrushes. Worked like a charm.



Coupon Teacher August 26, 2010 at 8:49 PM

I usually just try again with a different cashier or at a different store. Most of my cashiers know me now, and they know I strive to be an honest couponers, so that helps too!


Sheila K September 13, 2013 at 4:06 PM

I drive a little further to go to a grocery store that I know is very friendly to couponers. It costs me a little more in gas, but it is worth it to avoid the hassle.


corriene September 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I have actually had to explain coupons to cashiers often the coupon wont scan and the item may not match the picture if you show the cashier the fine print like the words on any or the up to amont they will accept it or give the up to amount. A lot of cashiers arent educated to read the coupon and then I have even had cashiers become amazed after at how I saved so much and I might have even convinced a few to begin couponing being friendly and striking up conversations I feel helps.


Cynthia September 13, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Great advice. Sometimes it’s worth the time and effort to discuss coupon. If can’t get the deal, I’ve purchased my most needed items, and left the deals on the cashier’s area. Then, I’ve contacted the Store Manager or Corporate of the dissatisfied service I received by using legitimate coupons, one retail store, national chain offered me a $25.00 in-store credit for my poor CSR experience. Sometimes, its worth it to make a complaint about a cashier!


Donna September 14, 2013 at 7:08 AM

I once had an issue with my coupons not scanning and the store didn’t allow the cashiers to hand input them. I simply did not purchase the items for which I had coupons for. Once I got home I called the corporate office and told them Thank You for saving me money. I explained what had happened and that I went else where to buy the products ( which I did, they were on sale and I used my coupons without any issues). Corporate contacted the local store and there haven’t been any coupon issues since then :)


Retail Slave September 30, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Saw this blog posted on a site an just had to give my “2 cents”. You apparently do not work in retail do you? You should know that all my fellow retail slaves are NOT to be blamed for not accepting your coupons. Corporate sets the rules, we have to follow them. We do not go to work everyday at our menial minimum wage jobs and say to ourselves “gee, lets see how many customers I can piss off by not accepting their coupons!” Trust me, and I’m sure I can speak for about 90% of my fellow retail slaves when I say we just want to go to work, do our job, have NICE/POLITE customers, get paid and go home. We too love deals and would love for you to get deals too, but yelling at us and degrading us, an calling corporate on us and possibly having us fired, when we are just following the rules is not the way to get what you want.
Please continue to post your great deals but also express to your readers that cashiers/management are NOT the ones to attack when coupon deals are being denied.


Brenda B September 30, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Dear Retail Slave, I don’t see anywhere in this blog post where she says “yell and degrade” your cashier if they don’t accept a coupon. In fact, I think she is saying the opposite. And the only time an ethical couponer would call corporate is if the stores coupon policy is not being followed, who’s fault is that, certainly not the couponer. It sounds like you may have had some bad experiences with customers, and I have seen it firsthand myself where SOME people take their frustrations out on a cashier. I know that I have never done that, even when I have been made to feel like a criminal when I was trying to use a coupon and get a deal. I don’t think this was the place to vent your frustrations when this blogger was trying to prevent the very thing you are complaining about. God bless you for doing your job because I know it can’t always be easy dealing with the public.


Andrea September 30, 2013 at 4:14 PM

“Corporate sets the rules, we have to follow them”

- exactly. This post above is about what to do when a cashier refuses to accept a legitimate coupon. (ie a cashier who is not following the rules)



ThePrudentPatron September 30, 2013 at 5:06 PM

I have read the post a couple of times and I never told anyone to yell, degrade, or get a cashier fired. In fact, I repeatedly emphasize to be friendly and nice.

I have in fact been a cashier in both restaurants and stores that accepted coupons. I believe it is the store’s responsibility to set clear coupon policies and properly train their staff, but we all know that doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately, couponers, who are following store coupon policy, are often made to feel like criminals who are trying to pull one over on the store. This post is intended to help shoppers calmly handle a situation where a coupon that should be accepted is not. I have added a link to store coupon policies to make that very clear.

I am sorry you have had bad experiences with your customers in the past. Please understand that someone asking that a legitimate coupon be honored is not a personal attack. The problem can be at the cashiers level, but it is just as often a problem at the management or corporate level. This is precisely why I suggested the steps that I did.

Thanks for reading,



Shannon September 30, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Gosh, Retail Slave. I think this post was to protect the good employees like yourself. Trying to keep coupon users, to not blame the cashier, but take it to the manager who can make a final decision. Some new cashiers, may not be familiar with the world of couponing. We all begin somewhere with are money saving strategy!


Dana September 30, 2013 at 4:11 PM

@retail slave

As a coupon blogger, and a former Publix Manager, I find many inaccuracies in your comment:

1. I believe your name indicates your feeling towards your job. Enough said.
2. If you “follow the rules, there would be no reason you would “possibly be fired”
3. Not once did Brittany say to “yell at or degrade you”


Retail Pawn September 30, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Just because you follow the rules at a retail job, doesn’t mean you won’t be fired. You can get fired because the customer “got a bad vibe” from you; one elderly woman I worked with was fired because the customer thought she wasn’t moving fast enough to show her where the fitting rooms were. Corporate America treats all its employees like disposable garbage, be careful when you make a complaint.


Retail Minion September 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

And just to follow up with Retail Slave- a call to corporate where they give you the discount doesn’t mean you were in the right. Most corporations are so invested in keeping people shopping with them, they will throw retail employees, managers, and stores under the bus for following the policies they set.

Sometimes it is just coupon confusion on the cashiers part or your part. Sometimes it’s corporate trying to toady to you something fierce and you’re making some poor cashiers life hell that day.


Kimberly H September 30, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Retail Slave, I think you need to go back and read her post again. She did not tell anyone to attack/yell at/degrade the cashier. She also didn’t say to contact corporate and have you fired. Following the rules means knowing the coupon policies for the company for which you work. If a cashier refuses to accept a coupon that is well within the company policy to accept, then the customer has the right to speak with a manager about it. If the manager refuses to do anything, then the customer should contact corporate.


Retail Pawn September 30, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Unfortunately, calling “corporate” = someone getting fired, in most cases. Unless it’s a manager, they might just get demoted. Even if you’re in the wrong, as a customer, the cashier will get fired. There’s just such a vast pool of unemployed people, we’re all dispensable. Every major company is like this.


Retail Pawn September 30, 2013 at 7:05 PM

I’m sorry my fellow retail slaves jumped down your throat. But unfortunately 3/4 of our couponers are crazy ladies who brings in 6-month expired coupons and demand they be honoured or they’ll shoot down the place. Which happens, to be fair, about every 5 minutes. People these days lack the ability to read the fine print, or even read at all (bringing in McDs coupons into Burger King and complaining that the store name is too small when the golden arches take up half the entire coupon). There is another band of people who can only read numbers, so a sign that reads “5$ Polos” results in them bringing in a stack of jeans and shoes and expecting everything in the store to ring up at 5$.

One thing I would change about this article – IF YOU MUST CALL CORPORATE, DO NOT MENTION WHO SERVED YOU. Even if you have a 6-month expired coupon, if you call and complain that cashier “x” did not honour your coupon, that cashier may be fired, even you were in violation of store policy by demanding that rebate. I have seen a cashier get demoted to part-time from full-time as a request by the corporate office because she refused to take a COMPETITOR coupon. Do not kid yourselves, corporate America will have a cashier fired by the time you get off the phone if you name them. Most companies are this way, especially in your “at-will employment” state. So make your complaint against the store but do not point anyone out in particular unless you think their behaviour was so deplorable that they deserve to lose their jobs and potentially end up homeless because they can’t get a reference for a job they’ve had for about 5+ years.


ThePrudentPatron September 30, 2013 at 7:54 PM

I think that is good advice. I have called corporate before, but I have never mentioned a name of a cashier. As long as they aren’t being abusive, I don’t see why you would need to share a cashier’s name.


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