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I Am Not Stealing

The cashier smiled and laughed at the customer in front of me, but the minute I stepped up to the counter her face turned very tense and serious. I’ve seen this look before. In fact, I’ve seen it so many times that I do whatever I can to avoid her line and have even considered shopping on different days of the week so I can ensure that she won’t be there.

I handed her my discount card and let her know that I had a stack of coupons matching the items in my basket. I asked if she wanted to see the coupons in advance and she said no. I placed the items on the counter one-by-one and watched each item scan before putting the next one down. In total I had twelve items.

When all of the items were scanned I handed over my coupons. The cashier flipped through the stack and made a face. Then she said, “I can’t take this one or this one or this one.” She informed me that I could not use a buy-one-get-one free coupon if the store was running a buy-one-get-one sale. I told her that the store policy permitted one coupon for every two items, in essence permitting me to get two items for free, but she immediately snipped back saying, “we can’t just give away the store.”

I turned to the person behind me and apologized for the inconvenience of holding up the line. He laughed and said, “No worries. My wife uses coupons and gets stuck in the checkout all the time.”

I wanted to tell him that I encounter this problem every time I’m faced with this particular cashier. She looks at me as though I’m trying to rob the store of merchandise. Every time I try to checkout I must explain that I am following the stores policy and every time she gripes at me over each and every coupon.

She was clearly annoyed with me so I suggested she call the store manager. I turned to apologize to the person behind me, but I realized that he had already checked out through a different line and there weren’t any other customers checking out. That made me feel much better. I hate holding up the line when other people are waiting. In fact, a lot of times I’ll just give up on the transaction and come back another time.

When the manager reached the register the cashier said, “this woman is trying to get everything for free.”

Now I should say that I’m not an extreme couponer, but I do save a lot of money on every day household products by shopping at the local drugstores in my area. It’s not unusual for me to walk into a store with a wad of coupons and walk out paying only a dollar for two or three bags worth of items.

I’ve lived in the same neighborhood for ten years and I frequent this store quite often so I know a lot of the managers, assistant managers and cashiers by name. When I walk in at Christmas time they all wish me a happy holiday and when I haven’t been around for awhile they ask where I’ve been. Well all except for this particular cashier.

I’m not sure what her issue is. Perhaps she truly believes that I am abusing the store’s policy. After all, she sees me walk out of the store with nine or ten products knowing full well that I’ve paid nothing but the taxes. Perhaps she doesn’t love her job, doesn’t make a lot of money and thinks that people like me are contributing to her low pay and lack of benefits.

I’m not sure what her issue is, but I wish she wouldn’t make me feel so bad about combining sales and coupons to obtain deeply discounted items. The truth is I’m not doing anything wrong. I make certain I don’t use expired coupons, I don’t use more than the number of coupons permitted and I don’t obtain extra savings cards by pretending they are owned by my husband. Given all those factors I really wish she wouldn’t make me feel like I’m stealing.

Anonymous

Sunday 23rd of January 2011

How about instead of all this hand wringing, call her out. Be an adult. and ask her why she is upset that you're using legitimate coupons and following store policy.

Anonymous

Tuesday 18th of January 2011

I've also gotten attitude from a particular cashier for using coupons, but it appeared to be because she thought I was using them fraudulently (I wasn't, and her attitude improved drastically when she realized this). In this case, if the cashier started in like in your post, I would not even bother to dialogue with her but call immediately for the manager (and if you know them by name, so much the better). The suggestion to write a letter to the store corp. office is a good one. You have a right to use coupons in accordance with store policy and coupon rules, and you don't need to apologize to anyone in line about it. My $0.02, k-chink.

PigPenny

Monday 17th of January 2011

I'm a new reader, so sorry if you address this elsewhere, but I'm curious where you find all your coupons and how you know when the store is also running sales on the same items. I've read a few things about "extreme couponing" but don't really know where to start.

P.S. Have you heard about TLC's show Extreme Couponing? I haven't seen it yet, but I want to.

Blue Noumenon

Sunday 16th of January 2011

As a store manager and cashier, I can sincerely say that anybody who comes into my store with a stack of coupons and walks out with stuff for next to nothing is considered a SAINT. The fact that avid couponers have the cognitive wherewithal to do what they do is something worthy of admiration, not scorn.

The thing is, ringing up coupons, even internet coupons, is mind numbingly simple. Any cashier who has a problem with it can't possibly be bothered about the inconvenience. It sounds like this particular cashier has some sort of ethical issue with your couponing, which is wholly unjustified. Her pay grade has nothing to do with your shopping habits. I'd be surprised if she lasts long in retail with that sort of attitude.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Anonymous

Sunday 16th of January 2011

I would definitely let the store know that I am now reconsidering my decision to shop at this store, solely because of this cashier's actions and attitudes. What she is engaging in is mental and psychological assault, and it is intentional and meant to spread disharmony by bullying and belittling. If I ever had trouble with her in future, I would make it my personal mission in life to see that she is fired so she does not keep driving away business from this retailer that I otherwise enjoy doing business with. Failing that, I would never set foot in that store again, ever.

Sorry this sounds so severe, but I see that cashier's actions as the ONE Unforgiveable Sin in a customer service environment, and there is no way I would tolerate that in an employee.