How to Shop for FREE is just that, a “How to” group. We pride ourselves on teaching Ethical Couponing. Along with Ethical Couponing comes something I like to refer to as “Classy Couponing”. Now, what exactly does that mean? Let’s start with the Golden Rule…..Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you. That’s a pretty broad statement so let me break it down a little bit.
Be Kind to Your Cashier
We all have our favorite cashier in our favorite store. They always greet you with a smile and know the coupon policy inside and out. Not all stores provide the level of training that we would like to see regarding coupon policies. Look at it as a learning experience for the cashier and a teaching opportunity for you. If you have the coupon policy with you pull it out and show the cashier. Most importantly, always be respectful. There is no reason to ever yell at or belittle your cashier. Even if the cashier is not using their best judgement in the interaction, it’s not ok for you to be reactive. Sometimes it’s best to stop and ask for a manager. If there are other people in line you can always ask the cashier to void the transaction and then have a conversation off to the side with the manager. If you don’t get satisfaction from the manager you can always get in touch with their corporate office if it’s that important to you. Sometimes in the interest of peace it’s better just to walk away. No deal is worth compromising who you are as a person. Walk away and live to deal another day 😎
You want the store employees to be happy when you come in and not run and hide when they see you enter the store. No matter what the interaction is about, you want to be known as kind and respectful. Also remember that it’s ok to be wrong. If you are, apologize. If the discussion was a respectful one then you can both move on without anyone being embarrassed.
Personally, I make it a point to get to know my cashiers, especially in the drug stores. You see them on a pretty regular basis so why not make it a good experience for everyone. I’ve had cashiers come up to me in the store and show me a good deal or a new markdown that they think I’d be interested in. Also, if they know you as the respectful couponer who does things the right way, they’ll more often than not give you the benefit of the doubt when a question does come up.
Be complimentary of your stores if you receive exceptional service. I was in CVS one morning and they were doing inventory. The store manager was speaking with someone I assumed to be the District Manager. I asked if he was (he said yes) so I took a few minutes to chat with him and let him know what a good job the manager and her employees were doing. The store had only been open for about a year and I thought it was important for him to know that he had a good team there. We are quick to criticize. We should be just as quick to compliment when it’s warranted. If store employees feel appreciated by their customers they are more likely to go above and beyond in the future.
Be Kind to Each Other
Think back to the day that you decided to start Couponing. Did you make mistakes? Did you have all the answers? I certainly made my share of mistakes because I didn’t have all the answers. Most of the time when someone uses a coupon incorrectly, it’s a mistake. It’s an opportunity to educate, not accuse them of coupon fraud. We want to make sure that we provide a “safe” environment for everyone to ask questions or post shopping brags without the fear of feeling attacked. We’ve joined theses groups for all sorts of reasons but ultimately, we’re all here to save money. Now, if you don’t think that you can be constructive with your concerns or feedback, you can either keep scrolling or if you feel something isn’t right there is an option to report a post to a group administrator. Let us handle it.
HowtoShopforFree.net and all of the How to Shop for Free Facebook Groups are opportunities to learn and teach. Friendly debates are a great way to get conversations going and opportunities to share differing opinions. What is not ok is bullying or arguing for the sake of the argument. Again, let’s be respectful of each other. As Moderators, we will always try to provide reasons explaining our point of view. We are also obligated to ensure that we are not condoning misuse of coupons so very often we will refer back to store policies. If your store allows something different, that’s great. However, we will always refer to policies and generally accepted coupon etiquette when answering questions. Again, our goal is to teach and we will do that according to the policies.
Follow the Store Policy
If a store limits the number of coupons accepted then abide by that limit. Also, if you choose to answer a question in one of the groups please answer according to the store policy. Again, we want to educate and the only way to do that is to provide correct information. For example, CVS Coupon Policy is that they do not accept expired coupons. Some stores choose to accept them but that is the exception and not the rule. The best way to answer that question may be that “their policy is that they do not accept expired coupons but my store accepts them for up to two weeks after expiration so you may want to check with your store”.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and invite you to check out some of the other posts as part of our Couponing 101 series….brought to you by How to Shop for FREE!