Eagle-Eyed Safeway Cashier Catches Bobbled Coupon

Reader Amy writes in to praise a Safeway cashier that saved her $1. One dollar might not seem like much, but it shows how little is required for someone to go above and beyond. Amy writes:

I went to my local Safeway today and picked up a package of Boboli bread that had a $1 off coupon attached. I made a mental note to remember to remove the sticker and hand it to the checkout clerk, but forgot.

She was bagging my purchases when she saw the coupon (after I had already paid by credit card.) She removed the coupon, reached in the drawer and handed me a dollar bill. It’s my neighborhood store that I’ve been going to for years and, I guess I don’t have to add, I will continue going for years to come with thoughtful service like that.

Going above and beyond doesn’t require grandiose gestures or alchemic transformations. The smallest actions have the potential to paint a smile on a shopper’s face, and ensure their continued loyalty. Great work, anonymous cashier!

(Photo: mattieb)

Comments

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  1. boandmichele says:

    that is just straight up awesome. im sure that manager wouldnt like that, but her drawer will be even, and the customer gets less ripped-off. :) fantastic.

  2. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    @boandmichele: Agreed.

    I always love hearing about stories like this. These are the stores that I love hearing about.

  3. Aaron Pratt says:

    @boandmichele: Actually, the store probably makes a little more money off the deal. If it was a manufacturer coupon, the store will be reimbursed the face value of the coupon in addition to a processing fee of seven or eight cents.

  4. DAK says:

    Not to mention, she didn’t refund the sales tax (if there was any)! Hiss! Boo!

    I’ve had nothing but trouble with my local Safeway, but glad to hear someone else isn’t. Hopefully that attitude will hit their other stores soon…

  5. Hoss says:

    Which State is this, I’ll move there

  6. Joedel263 says:

    @DAK:

    the law is different in different states. Some states require you to charge tax on the full price of the item (before coupons) in which case she wouldn’t get tax back.

  7. ptkdude says:

    @DAK: You pay the sales tax on the full cost of the product prior to the coupon being applied. That’s why coupons have “Customer pays sales tax.” printed on them
    .

  8. RandomHookup says:

    @ptkdude: Actually how sales tax is handled varies from state to state. Mass., for example, calculates sales tax after both store and manufacturing coupons are deducted. Other states deduct store coupons only and then calculate tax. Some charge on the full value regardless of coupons. One blanket statement on a coupon doesn’t mean anything.

  9. Robobot says:

    I used to work as a cashier in high school and I always took the coupons off people’s merchandise and scanned them.. or I did for my first few weeks. One day while I was still a green cashier with some faithin humanity, (which quickly faded over the following months of work,) I encountered a woman who got very offended when I scanned a coupon on a tube of lipstick.

    She not only felt violated because I took the coupon off her property without her permission, but she was horrified that I thought she looked like she needed to save a dollar. She said something to the tune of, “Do I look like I’m on welfare? I don’t need to save money.”

    After that incident I asked people for their permission before removing and scanning their coupons and a few times the answer was “no” or just a negative looking eyeroll. (Who doesn’t like to save money?!) I was only at that store for six months, but I feel like I have enough “WTF” stories to write a book.

  10. witeowl says:

    I think the sales tax discussion is moot. I don’t know of a single state that taxes non-snack foods.

  11. XTC46 says:

    @witeowl: Hawaii has no “sales” tax…we have a general excise tax that is attached to every purchase. so we get out food taxed.

    @boandmichele: the manager probably didn’t care. The store sends in the coupons and gets a check for the money.

  12. witeowl says:

    @xtc46: Wow, that stinks. Oregon has no sales tax, but they don’t have that sort of system. In my opinion, basic living needs should never be taxed, sales or other. In any case, I stand corrected. Thanks.

  13. Spaztrick says:

    What the employee did was nice, but if they are not careful management might view this as theft. After working in retail management for years, I’ve seen employees walk around the store taking coupons to add to their till and pocket the cash. The till will balance and it will be a week or two before anyone will take notice.

  14. internomics says:

    I thought it was part of their job to take off those sticker-coupons. They have always taken the stickers off and given me the discount at my local Safeway (at least when I’ve been aware of the coupon). It’s a good practice.

  15. kaycee says:

    @witeowl – I believe many states tax food, unfortunately. I think it’s the rule rather than the exception.

  16. aristan says:

    @witeowl: Many states tax food. Just take a look at the sales tax entry on wikipedia. In North Carolina, the tax rate doesn’t even stay the same rate in every county: Mecklenburg (where Charlotte is) pays more than everyone.

    As someone who’s been in retail and trained people on registers, what the cashier did was probably wait for some downtime to fix her till. All she has to do is then perform a transaction for just the coupon. Till balances with everything in the right place. What she did nice was not require the customer to wait for her to fix it.

  17. wring says:

    My experience with Safeway is that they actually never look at the coupons, they just keep scanning them. Even doubles. They worked 100% of the time.

  18. Scooter says:

    I did this all the time at the grocery store I used to work at.

    @boandmichele: And I was one of the managers.

  19. amoeba says:

    it had happened to me before, where the cashier peeled off the sticker with the coupon and scan it without me knowing. Sometimes I don’t even notice the coupons. It’s always nice when a cashier does this to you. At least I feel great! What does the state tax on food had to do with the story?

  20. Sam2k says:

    @witeowl: Arkansas has both a grocery tax and a $800 million dollar surplus. Go figure.

  21. saltmine says:

    @ptkdude: Actually, no, you don’t. The subtotal before the sales tax is added always shows the amount after the coupon has been applied. The sales tax is applied to that amount.

    My store does double coupons, I had a $1 off coupon for something that was on sale for $1.99, I walked out paying nothing.

  22. witeowl says:

    Okay, guys, I got the idea, lol. It’s just damned funny that after living in three different states and visiting friends/relatives in two others, all five just happened to not tax non-snack groceries! (CA, NV, WI, OR, CO) Just goes to show that you can’t judge a country on 10% of the states. ~_~

  23. ShadowFalls says:

    @witeowl:

    You can add Florida to that list, good many states don’t tax non-snack food because they consider it a necessity.

  24. BigNutty says:

    Remember it wasn’t actually Safeway that did this good deed, It was the cashier, even though she may have been trained to to these kind of things from Safeway, the cashier is the one that took the time to think on her feet.

  25. iamlost26 says:

    I bought a whole chicken at Vons before, which had a 50% off coupon attached. The chicken was like $9, so it was a great deal. Anyway, when time came at the register, I completely forgot. In fact, I didn’t even remember until I got back to my apartment and was about to cook it.

    Anyway, I took the coupon off the chicken and just kept it in my pocket, along with the receipt. A few days later when I was in the store again, I asked to talk to a manager. I showed him both the coupon and the receipt, and he gave me $4.50 in cash, no questions asked.

  26. dirtymoney says:

    I have had problems in the past with walmart cashiers taking a coupon , setting it aside & then never even scanning it. Its not like I bring in 50 coupons…. at most I have one or two. And one dollar off a five dollar product is decent savings!
    I have never had that kind of problem with regular grocery store cashiers.

    Ps. True I should be more observant that my coupons are being scanned, but you expect a chasier to do their job (scanning a coupon you provided) as well!

  27. Thassodar says:

    I don’t see why this is a big deal. I’ve worked at Target for a year and do this all the time. After you scan the barcode on the receipt, type in a 10-digit number, and push a button called “Missed Coupons” (I think it may be K8 on the board). You scan the ones you missed, hit total, it gives you the recommended refund currency (most of the time cash), hit a button, drawer pops open. If you ever go to Target and miss a coupon don’t let them tell you there’s nothing they can do about it.

    As I said, not really a big deal. I do remember a time a lady pulled a wad of coupons out of her purse as I was handing her her receipt (she had paid with a credit card before I was finished) and started to cop a attitude until I took them, scanned them, and gave her the cash. I love putting people in their place.

  28. SOhp101 says:

    @DAK: Boboli Bread is a food item and therefore is not subject to sales tax.

  29. aristan says:

    @SOhp101: As stated by several people, Food can be taxed in many locations. Therefore DAK’s concern may very well be valid.

  30. bonzombiekitty says:

    While it’s nice of the cashier to do that, if their accounting system for the drawer is like it was at the grocery store I worked at, it’s going to screw up things. To the front office, that drawer will be $1 short, and depending on how they deal with coupons, might not notice where that missing dollar actually is.

    As much as it may annoy the customer to have to wait to do a proper coupon processing, it really should be done the right way, or else the accounting gets screwy. When I was a cashier people used to miss coupons all the time, and I’d let them know if I noticed it. I’d also let people know ways to save money or get something for free (i.e. “you know this is buy one get one free? Since you’re already buying one you can go grab another, that way you get an extra one for free”).

    But it irked me when customers got indignant that I had to send them to the service desk to refund for coupons or deals they had forgotton. Sorry, I can’t just give you cash or items. It needs to be properly recorded so there aren’t any major mess ups.

  31. @witeowl: Illinois. (North Carolina, too, though only the county sales tax applied, so it was 2% instead of 6%, IIRC.)

  32. @aristan: “In North Carolina, the tax rate doesn’t even stay the same rate in every county: Mecklenburg (where Charlotte is) pays more than everyone.”

    That is quite common, although often groups of counties have same/similar tax levies so as not to let the neighboring counties draw all their business. Here in Illinois, counties AND cities can levy their own sales tax, so you pay higher sales tax in Cook County (than, say, Grundy County), then if you go into the city of Chicago (still in Cook), it goes up again.

    I’m in Peoria and we pay like 2.5% less out in the county than in the city, but only on certain categories. It’s so obnoxious.

  33. Antediluvian says:

    @amoeba: What does the state tax on food had to do with the story?
    Because the cashier handed the OP a dollar, but since there might have been sales tax on the original purchase that would have been reduced by the coupon (see earlier Consumerist stories about KMart and some southern grocery chain and tax foibles — Tennessee comes to mind), it’s possible the OP should have ALSO gotten the sales tax reimbursed on that dollar.

    But we don’t know.

  34. ry81984 says:

    When I worked retail I always scanned the coupons.

    We would have multi-page ads for coupons and every cashier would always scan coupons if the customer did not know they were in there.

    Knowing about extra coupons is part of the job of being a cashier.

    Change the headline “Cashier does their job, customer estatic!”

  35. RandomHookup says:

    I sometimes have this conversation at the grocery store when a high dollar special coupon (such as $10 off your next order) won’t scan for some reason (usually some arcane register programming involving the need to match the coupon with a similarly priced item) and they simply substitute cash for it. Fine if none of my items are taxable, but their mistake costs me if I am buying taxable items because tax in Mass. is calculated AFTER all coupons are deducted. Trying to explain this to a grocery front end manager is like talking to a wall.

  36. LVP says:

    The cashiers at Stop & Shop are great at keeping an eye out for these coupons. Ripping them off and ringing them for you. Very nice!

  37. HOP says:

    we found that the stores we usually shop will take the coupon off even if we had forgotten to remove te….we never had it happen like amy tho……….seems he cashier went the eatra mile…nice to hear….

  38. PhilR8 says:

    The Safeway I used to shop at was expensive relative to other stores in the area, and was always understaffed at the checkout lanes. You’d be waiting in line fifteen minutes if you bought something during off-peak times.

    That said, their cashiers were top-notch. Quick, efficient, and polite. Even more than polite – they seemed genuinely happy to be doing what they were doing, and it really helped to mitigate the other complaints I had with the store.

    This was the Safeway in Burtonsville/Silver Spring, Maryland.

  39. www.rulaglass.com says:

    I am glad that the cashier held some honor; other chains will simply assume the error and give a refund on the item.

    Slightly OT Warning: Kroger (at least in Bloomington IN) will give you the item, PLUS the WHOLE Amount, if the price scanned is not the price of the item shown in the aisles. BUT, if you let the cashier know, the cashier will assume you are right, and change the price to reflect that. Then, the next person brings the same item, and the correct price will be given.

    Bottom line, the cashier at Safeway did the right thing, but Safeway doesn’t assume that the store or the cashier makes mistakes. Kroger assumes this from the get-go.

  40. Tzepish says:

    @Aristan: In Washington, sales tax is different per city, even in the same county. Also, different services within the same city, etc., like purchasing food at bars in Seattle results in a higher sales tax than food at a grocery store, etc. Fun times.

  41. MBZ321 says:

    I’m only a high school student, and I cashier part-time at a big major family owned chain (It starts with a W and ends with mans :P )I have so many coupon stories, it is hard to believe. First, we have a club card like every other store, but it seems the majority of people that come through (upper class clientèle) don’t care if they even would save $10 off their order just by swiping their card. I could understand the whole privacy thing but I will even offer to swipe my own (not something we’re supposed to do, but it isn’t like I am getting “points” or anything), but people don’t really care most of the time.

    Also, We have store coupon books too with free items in it every week, and I have been rescanning old coupons (they don’t mind for the store coupons) to people who come through with the items, but don’t realize they are free. We also have a food bank thing going where it will add a dollar to the total, so usually I will ask if it is alright to take off the dollar for tissues or tuna or whatever the free item is and instead make a donation to the food bank. Most people, especially those that come through with a lot of organic stuff (hippies) don’t seem to mind.

    And then you get the cheap a$$ people (no offense to anyone, but it is usually all immigrants and people who don’t speak English) handing me coupons that expired months back or are not for an item they purchased and they think I won’t read them and will just override any message..boy are they wrong. Then they complain so I send ‘em off to the service desk where they can deal with it).

  42. anyanka323 says:

    I usually pull coupons off products even if the customer doesn’t notice it and they’re usually appreciative about the extra effort. Sometimes they’ll try and use coupons that aren’t eligible with their purchase and they’ll usually complain, but management usually backs the cashiers up – one of the few times that they actually defend the cashiers against the customers.

    I haven’t encountered anyone who is offended about using coupons yet.