Jessica Crowe, a.k.a. The Happy Couponer, takes her couponing seriously and her readers rely on her to give them accurate match-up information because they take it seriously, too. That's why, on Saturday, September 14, 2013, she decided to put Walmart to the test. Would they honor their corporate coupon policy and let her walk out of the store with a cartload of free product and a pocket full of cash?
“Walmart's corporate coupon policy, which is posted online at their corporate website, states 'If coupon value exceeds the price of the item, the excess may be given to the customer as cash or applied toward the basket purchase,'” says Crowe. “It also states there is no limit on the number of coupons per transaction.”
Crowe wanted to see just how knowledgeable Walmart's employees were about their own coupon policy and just how far they'd let her go.
“I walked into the Georgesville Rd. Walmart store in Columbus, Ohio with 100 coupons in my purse. All 100 coupons were for $2.50 off a purchase of Rachael Ray's Nutrish Super Premium Dog food – any size, any variety. And I already knew Walmart's price was only $1.88 per tub. My plan was to purchase 100 tubs of dog food and nothing else to see if they'd really pay me the overage in cash. I'd been telling my readers about Walmart's policy but I'd never actually tested it.”
According to Crowe, based on Walmart's posted coupon policy, she should have been able to purchase 100 tubs of dog food, redeem all 100 coupons, and walk out of the store with approximately $62 in cash. But, thanks to a Walmart cashier and her supervisor, who hadn't been educated on the coupon policy, that's not how it worked out.
“Looking back, it was like one of those Abbott and Costello bits. The cashier thought the coupons were scanning wrong so she called her supervisor, Chuck. Chuck knew they were scanning right but he didn't want to give us the overage in cash, so he kept insisting that 'one coupon per purchase' meant 'one coupon per transaction' and I kept telling him, 'If it meant one coupon per transaction it would say that instead of 'one coupon per purchase.' He kept saying, 'This is what it says but this is what it really means' and I kept telling him 'It means exactly what it says!'
In the end, Crowe left the store empty-handed. The next day she called the store manager, Nick Pagliano, and explained what happened. Pagliano immediately chimed in with, “Chuck was wrong!” Pagliano told Crowe to come in anytime with her coupons and he'd make sure his employees understood the corporate policy.
“I've had readers email me and ask why I don't blog about more Walmart match-ups and this is a prime example,” says Crowe. “Walmart doesn't do a very good job of educating their employees. If I tell my readers a math-up works at my store that doesn't necessarily mean it will work at theirs because Walmart employees, even those at the supervisor level, don't understand the policy. And if my readers can't use my match-up tips at their local Walmart – because the employees don't have a clue – then I look like I don't know what I'm talking about.”
“In this case,” says Crowe, “the deal was too good to pass up. I have a coupon for $2.50 off one tub of Rachael Ray's Nutrish Super Premium Food for Dogs and the retail price is only $1.88 at Walmart. That's a 62-cent overage. I wanted to tell my readers about it but I wanted to test it first and I'm glad I did.”
Crowe suggests contacting the store manager if you have problems redeeming your coupons. In this case, Pagliano made it clear to Crowe that he would do everything possible to make his customers happy and that includes helping them save even more money with coupons. In fact, the Georgesville Rd. Kroger store in Columbus, Ohio is offering a couponing class on October 11, conducted by The Columbus Savvy Shopper.
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