Times are tough. The pundits on all of those financial news programs keep insisting that the economy is rebounding despite the fact the cost of living keeps increasing but take-home pay keeps diminishing. Unemployment continues to be a Great Depression levels with no sign of getting better anytime soon. America needs a little help.
One place to get that help is one of the many coupon web sites out there. Grocery and restaurant coupons have gone 21st Century – online and printable. But whether you frequent CouponMom, CouponBug or CoolSavings there are a few points of coupon etiquette to remember.
We’ll start with restaurant coupons because there are really only two rules. The first rule is never ask the restaurant to give you something other than what is listed on the coupon – dickering is not allowed. Period. Second, coupons do not apply to the tip. Your tip should be the same with or without the coupon. If that puts you in a financial pinch, you can ‘t afford to eat out. Other than those two rules couponing a restaurant is groovy.
Grocery coupons have a few more rules.
- The first rule for restaurants also applies to grocery coupons or any coupons for that matter. No dickering ever. The conditions on the coupon are non-negotiable. The retailer is fully within their rights to refuse your coupon if you try to alter the conditions listed on it.
- Always, without fail, have all of your coupons ready to go. If you have to dig for it forget it. The people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.
- If it works; it works. If it doesn’t work; it doesn’t work. Coupons are not binding contracts. The people who issue them are free to change any or all aspects of the offer at any time for any reason without notifying the public. The store does not have to honor the coupon. Neither the producer nor the retailer should be penalized for a misprint that costs either profit. So if the cashier scans it and it doesn’t work; move on. The people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.
- Price matching. I am fully against retailers that price match but at the same time I get the business end of it. What I do not understand is the person that pulls up to the register with a basket full of groceries and circulars from every grocer within a 100 mile radius. If Winn Dixie has a better price on rump roast than Kroger then you need go to Winn Dixie to get it. Retailers should have one register dedicated to price matching if they insist on following the practice. If there is not a designated “price matching” lane then the customer should have to go to the customer service desk. The people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.
- Finally, and I cannot emphasize this enough, the people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality. If your coupon compulsion extends the check out process by more than a minute or so then you need to divide your savings equally among the other people in line behind you. You owe them that. You never have the right to decide how much of their time you waste. Their time is more important than your bottom line.
- Oh, one last rule. The word is pronounced kyoo-pon or if you bow to it’s Frankish origins koo-pon but never koo-pun. That just makes you sound silly.