Kmart Assistant Manager Hates Your Coupons, Will Not Process Your Transaction

If you’re one of those really smart coupon hoarders, you know to save up for double-coupon offers, because then you can get things for next-to-nothing. Nicole has used this strategy at Kmart in the past without problems, but this time she ran into an assistant manager who refused to honor the promotion, saying, “It’s not our policy. It’s not written down, but that’s the policy.”

First, here’s some info on how to double up coupons for maximum savings. If you’ve never done this before, you can thank Nicole for the quick recap.

  • Sometimes, maybe 25% of the time, you’ll get a coupon for $.50 that you want to use to purchase an item that costs $.99 or $1. If the store doubles coupons, the coupon will automatically ring up as another $.50 if the item is $1, or $.49 if the item is $.99. Every store I know, including Kmart, has programmed their registers to do this. On Harris Teeter triple coupon days, even more coupons do this and you can get a ton of items for free.
  • Every self-respecting frugal knows this and there are myriads of blogs listing the “free after coupons” items at various stores.
  • Kmart is having double coupon days this week. They normally don’t double at all, but for a limited time are doubling coupons up to and including $2.00. There are some restrictions on this—no more than four of the same coupon, no more than 25 coupons per day, etc.—but they’re easy to follow.

That seems pretty straightforward, right? But not if you run into the Assistant Manager at this particular Kmart, who makes up policies on the spot to avoid completing sales that confuse him.

I went to Kmart (960 Kildaire Farm Road; Cary, NC) Monday night and spent about 45 minutes gathering up the items I wanted to buy. All of them were free after coupons. It took me awhile because about half of the items were completely gone—other shoppers had gotten there Monday morning (or Sunday night) and used their coupons to get the items for free. The other half of the items were almost gone and I was able to get the last or next to last item.

I went up to the cash register and the assistant manager rung me up. If the coupon was valued more than the item, the register automatically adjusted the value of the coupon to match the value of the item. When he got to the end of the transaction, he frowned and said, “I can’t process this transaction.”

Me: Why not?

Joseph: Because it’s saying your total is -$1.46.

Me (laughs): No problem. I’ll just pick up these cough drops—that will bring the total over $0.

Joseph (frowning more): No. I can’t process this transaction.

Me: What do you mean?

Joseph: I’m not giving you these things for free.

Me: You’re telling me that if I had brought these items up here with $20 of other items, you would not sell me those items.

Joseph: Not these items.

Me: So it’s Kmart’s policy not to accept coupons on items like this.

Joseph: No, it’s our policy.

Me: Our?

Joseph: Our store.

Me: Could you show me that policy?

Joseph: Oh, it’s not written down, but that’s the policy.

It went on like that, and I maintained my cool and was exceedingly polite. I asked for his name (Joseph), he refused to give me his last name, and had no employee ID number, but I did hear him give another employee his manager code (5003-1) so that the employee could clock out a third employee.

What he told me was either unacceptable ignorance on the part of a manager at best, or a downright lie at worst.

Half the items I was looking for had already been purchased. You can’t tell me that people didn’t use coupons to purchase them, that they needed chapstick and just happened to choose Nivea over every other brand, and Vaseline lotion over every other hand lotion, and so on.

If it was truly the policy of this Kmart, wouldn’t their registers be programmed to flag those items, and not ring them up, instead of adjusting the coupons down? And why was I able to purchase items like these previously?

I decided to go to another local Kmart, and I made sure to purchase two items that would put my total over $0. The cashier rang me up, took my coupons, and checked me out. No comment, no problem. So it’s obviously not the policy of that Kmart not to take those coupons.

If this is truly the policy of this particular Kmart store, that they won’t take a $1 coupon for a $1 product, it’s not noted in the ads. It’s not noted anywhere in the store. Joseph couldn’t produce anything in writing. The cash registers aren’t programmed that way. The clerks aren’t educated about the policy.

I wouldn’t be so irritated if it was not clear that other people had used their coupons without a problem, or if he had been able to produce a policy, or if it had been written in the ad, or if the other Kmart had the same policy, or if the registers refused to accept it, or if someone, anyone, in the blogosphere had noted this was a policy of of Kmarts…if any of these things were true, I’d be in the wrong. As it stands, I don’t believe I am. I can’t help but think that if I had purchased something that had put my total over $1, he would have accepted the transaction.

I definitely won’t go back to this Kmart again. I may or may not return to the other one when double coupon days roll around again. I’ll tell you one thing: I will not spend over $3 per transaction at a Kmart ever again—I’ll make sure I have coupons or I won’t shop there.

Nicole, there may be laws in North Carolina that Joseph broke by refusing to accept your coupons. You should contact your Attorney General’s office and ask about state laws regarding coupons.

(Photo: tedmurphy)

Comments

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  1. Robert Jason Cervantes says:

    Yeah, that manager was totally out of line. I have come to realize that despite being part of a chain, there are some stores that are out of the loop when it comes to chain wide policies. Or even regional. This is what probably happened at this location. They probably don’t pay attention to corporate or regional memos and just go about their business.

  2. CreativeLinks says:

    I think I am in love with this OP. Handled the situation perfectly.

  3. Vanilla5 says:

    I have never been to a Kmart that didn’t have some kind of issues. The one in Poplar Bluff, MO is especially nerve-wrecking as they practically refuse to let you return anything.

  4. Jabberkaty says:

    Hearkening back to my days in retail – stores get compensated for taking coupons. Have things changed?

    • CFinWV says:

      @Jabberkaty: Yes, they do. Which is why the assistant manager’s reaction to the sale is even more baffling.

    • coren says:

      @Jabberkaty: Maybe not – but they’re doubling the value of coupons – are they getting compensated for *that*?

    • Coles_Law says:

      @Jabberkaty: Not necessarily the “doubling” of the coupon, though. If a store doubles a $0.50 coupon, they’ll only get $0.50 back, not the full dollar the customer got.

    • mbz32190 says:

      @Jabberkaty: They aren’t getting reimbursed for the doubled value, but you expect when Kmart runs a promotion, they are going to honor it, regardless of what the items cost.

    • karmaghost says:

      @Jabberkaty: In the grocery store I work at (currently in the accounting office), we collect all the coupons (separate manufacturer’s vs. store coupons) and put them in paper bags. Then we send them off to corporate who weighs, yes weighs, them in order to find out how much they’re worth. I dunno exactly how the process works, but I can’t imagine there’s any real “accounting” going on.

    • chemmy says:

      @Jabberkaty:

      Face value + $0.08 handling so they actually make more on coupons if you think about it..

      I just went to a Target that refused my coupons because #1 they claimed I couldn’t use coupons to get free things and #2, they said I was only allowed to use one coupon for the entire transaction(and I had an entire belt of stuff).

      I walked out after the manager agreed with the cashier and used the same coupons at CVS with no hassle.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Obviously the ast. manager went broken arrow here. Likely because he saw the negative amount on the register and knew the impact on his stores P&L.

    The women reporting this could put address to this via Kmart corporate.

    What I find laughable is her comment:
    “I definitely won’t go back to this Kmart again. I may or may not return to the other one when double coupon days roll around again. “

    Lady take the freebies and forget about one unpleasant experience. Would you rather pay for these products?

  6. menty666 says:

    Get him fired, then get him fined so they’ll take out a lien on his house. Then with little money, he’ll be forced to use coupons he finds in the gutter, wait for double coupon day, then go to k-mart to use them and hope they work.

  7. Scoobatz says:

    Coincidentally, there’s a story running today on our local ABC news website (www.wpvi.com) where a woman purchased $211 worth of items at Acme and paid only 42 cents by combining coupons.

    • karmaghost says:

      @Scoobatz: The number of people who take coupon cutting to the limit like this are in the minority, which is why most stores put up with it. You may see a greater resistance, however, in areas with a greater number of people who do do this.

  8. Raekwon says:

    They usually get the face value + a small incentive. Not sure how doubling affects this though.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      @Raekwon: Most manufacturer coupons under a dollar will give the store twice the value of the coupon.

      As to the OP, it looks like the machine messed up and took off too much. The first couple lines of the conversation made sense. There shouldn’t have been a negative value in the first place. So just buying cough drops to make up the difference isn’t going to fix the problem.

      This happened to me once when I was a cashier. A woman came up with a ton of coupons, which confused both me and the computer, resulting in a negative balance – meaning we took too much off from the coupons. The manager figured the amount of time it would take to figure it out wouldn’t be worth it, and we’d get the money back anyways. So we just gave her the money.

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        @bonzombiekitty: Exactly, even if all items are free, there shouldn’t be money going back to the customer.

        The assistant manager, or clerk, should have reviewed the transaction…but it sounds like it was quite alot of stuff. It was probably a case of the assistant manager not wanting a screwed up, negative balance sale going through on his watch, and was to lazy/busy to figure out where the error was in the check out process.

        • ailema says:

          @AlteredBeast: The store should not be so understaffed that the assistant manager can’t check a transaction. He should have given her the stuff for free and reported the problem with the register programing.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @Raekwon: Generally, the store eats the doubled portion of the coupon. They assume you will buy other stuff that will make up the distance.

      Whenever I end up with a negative balance, the store usually just calls it even, though I have had them pay me a small amount before. I think most of the confusion happens with (1) computing taxes – states have different rules on charging tax before or after coupons or (1) coupons for more than the value of the item ($1 for a 99 cent item) aren’t properly adjusted down.

    • karmaghost says:

      @Raekwon: Two things:
      Where I work, the registers aren’t programmed to “know” enough about coupons to allow the cashier to just scan them in willy-nilly. Mistakes are common on three fronts; cashiers that don’t know/follow coupon policy, registers that aren’t properly/fully programed, and finally customers that either don’t know the store’s specific policy or are purposefully trying to pull the wool over the store’s eyes.

      In the event that a customer is able to maximize their coupon value, if the order goes below $0, i.e. money is supposedly credited to the customer, our store (and I imagine most self-respecting stores) will never hand the customer back money. Ever.

  9. 2719 says:

    I just love managers like him. His store his rules. You don’t like it? Take your business somewhere.

    I hate frugal (cheap) people that slow everyone down at the register.

    • Chris Walters says:

      @2719: You are sooo on the wrong site.

      • philmin says:

        @Chris Walters:

        Would consumerist prefer people never disagree with their stories? I honestly get that feeling. It doesn’t seem to jive with analytically looking at consumer issues… very one sided.

        • Chris Walters says:

          @philmin: We encourage healthy debate, but we also fight for the consumer, not the corporation/utility/service provider/etc. A comment like 2719′s implies that the consumer is doing something wrong for following the rules and maximizing them to her advantage. This is *exactly* what a good consumer should do.

          Hinting that her behavior hurts other customers in some way–either by driving up prices, or (in this case) by delaying their check out experience–plays directly into the hands of the business, which has a vested interest in making sure consumers “know their place” and don’t try to stand up for themselves.

          • philmin says:

            @Chris Walters:

            This was clearly a bad post to let my opinion out on, I admit, but I do get a feeling that most poster’s here act quite upset if others ever question the consumer’s side.

            For the record I dont know anything about 2719 or even think his comment here was all that useful. I think I took exception to the “you are on the wrong side” comment.

            And Cyberxion, thanks for the sarcastic allusions to my lack of intelligence.

            Rectilinear- I think I am hoping that pro-consumer does not mean anti-business, which I see here too often. Again, this was probably not the greatest story/poster to get in a discussion on it.

            • Cyberxion101 says:

              @philmin: Thanks for giving me fodder with which to do so!

              All kidding aside, even now when you’re explaining yourself, your only real accomplishment was to expose that you misread what Chris had said. He told 2719 that he is on the wrong site, not that he’s on the wrong side.

              That makes a world of difference. For both of us really. Because I wouldn’t have got on your case had I known that you’re not a douche with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove, you just can’t read.

              • Cyberxion101 says:

                @Cyberxion101: Oops. Forgot to close a tag.

              • crazedhare says:

                @Cyberxion101: Wow, you know, I read it wrong, too.

                Maybe you need to think about taking a deep breath and stepping away from your computer to be a little less…of a douche with a chip on his shoulder?

                • Cyberxion101 says:

                  @bunnymare: Hmn.

                  You seem to be under the misconception that I was giving philmin shit simply for having misread what Chris said, but it goes so much deeper than that. For example, he cooked up an inane conspiracy theory on the back of a post that wouldn’t have been worth anything even in Bizarro world. If you’re going to build a case that The Consumerist is suppressing people’s opinions, you need stronger support than 2719′s post had to offer. That he chained an accusation of that severity to such a flimsy post exposed the emptiness of his case, which in turn exposed the *GASP* chip on philmin’s shoulder! That he did it on a misconception was incidental, and the only reason I pointed it out was to illustrate that maybe this whole thing could have been avoided had he bothered to read and properly comprehend Chris’ post. In essence, I was giving him an easy-out for acting like such a paranoid-delusional cock-hole.

                  Now while it’s possible that you missed that because you’re dense, I’m thinking that it’s more likely that you interpreted this as an opportunity to put someone in his place, and that much like everyone else on the net with something to prove, you didn’t bother to get the whole picture before proceeding to run your mouth like an industrial-sized toolbox, which incidentally has the side-effect of making you look like a douche with a chip on his shoulder. And now that that particular insult has made sufficient rounds, let’s agree to retire it.

                  Look, I’m not gonna sit here and excuse the way I deal with posts that I find objectionable. I could definitely stand to be a little less sarcastic. However, unlike yours, at least my posts here were in context. There was a reason for them. Your post came out of nowhere, and just seems to exist solely to allow you to talk shit. And yet I could stand to take a breather? Right.

            • ElizabethD says:

              @philmin:

              Actually, Philmin, Chris’s admonition said “you are sooo on the wrong SITE,” not side. Just FYI.

          • emis says:

            @Chris Walters:

            From the consumers point of view:
            “Good Consumer” = one who gets the most stuff for the least money…

            From the retailers point of view:
            “Good Consumer” = one who buys the highest markup items then leaves the store in a quick and orderly fashion, and without using the restroom :^)

            From the environmentalists point of view:
            “Good Consumer” = one who buys products with the least negative impact on the environment and that can be re-used as much as possible for that particular item. Price is irrelevant.

            From the bank’s point of view:
            “Good Consumer” = one who buys products on credit and carries a balance but never misses a payment–and doesn’t shop around for low rates

            From the government’s point of view:
            “Good Consumer” = one who buys products that are made within the the government’s sphere of control (i.e. products are made in the same state so they can capturing corporate taxes, capturing payroll taxes, capturing delivery related taxes, etc) and finally ones that are higher ticket so they can capture sales taxes

            From my point of view:
            “Good Consumer” = the ones who are not at the store when I am at the store

            • Chris Walters says:

              @emis: ha ha ha. That should be a poster.

              For the record, I think we’re more like “one who gets the best stuff for the least money,” because that would bring the environment and the economy into the equation, too. But on a personal note, I think I agree with your personal point of view.

          • VeiledThreats says:

            @Chris Walters: Checking this guys entire posting history, it’s all VERY anti-consumer. Can someone take a peek at this guy’s record and maybe do something?

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          This is a pro-consumer blog. The idea that assistant managers should be able to make up rules that counter company policy is anti-consumer.

          There’s a difference between thinking the consumer was wrong and just being flatly anti-consumer.

        • Cyberxion101 says:

          @philmin: Wow, you have to be kidding. You are kidding, aren’t you?

          Shit dude, you’d have to be a world-class drooling idiot to believe that 2719′s post has anything legitimate to say, and that Chris’ response is in any way an attempt to surpress his opinion. You’re not an idiot, are you?

          Please tell me that this is an attempt at a joke gone wrong.

        • DaoKaioshin says:

          @philmin: no, 2719 might really be on the wrong site. their comments are consistent dismissals. if they don’t agree with _anything on consumerist, why come here?

          • Munchtime says:

            @DaoKaioshin: Who else would take on the role of contrarian troll to annoy everyone else? I love that he has no response to everything that was said in response to him.

        • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

          @philmin: Keep it on-topic please (relevant to the original article).

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @Chris Walters: You should check out their activity page:

        “No big deal”

        “This is not news”

        “Why do people care”

      • CubeRat says:

        @Chris Walters:

        Was probably thinking he was commenting on this site [notalwaysright.com]

        Anyways though, I wish I used coupons more. I always hated it when my mom used them when I was younger. But when I read stories like this, it makes me cry that I don’t use em.

        • pop top says:

          @CubeRat88: To be fair, the customers discussed in the stories at that site aren’t good consumers. The Consumerist stresses that you should get the best deal you can, but don’t be a jackass about it and treat the employees like crap.

          • Cyberxion101 says:

            @squinko: I know first-hand how stupid consumers can be, but most of those stories aren’t anywhere within the realm of reality. They’re fictional accounts meant to take some of the heat off of retailers. I’m sure there’s a bit of truth peppered in, but most of it is so outlandish it’s hard to take any of it seriously.

        • your new nemesis says:

          @CubeRat88: Hahaha, i just went to that site. Funny stuff, except for the popups.

    • Munchtime says:

      @2719: I’m sure those awful cheap people would be happy for you to buy their items for them since you don’t mind not saving a few dollars on a shopping trip.

      But I’m with you…. I can’t believe some people just refuse to stop using coupons! Why stretch your dollar the farthest it go when you have impatient and extremely important people behind you in line who have somewhere to be? Why does Consumerist insist on *helping* consumers by publishing articles like this?

      COUPONS?? The nerve of some people….

    • crazedhare says:

      @2719: I think I have a coupon for troll food right here in my pocket.

    • MosesKabob says:

      @2719: And FWIW, it’s not “his store”. I believe it’s owned by K-Mart or whatever parent corporation. Just because he’s the manager doesn’t make the store his own personal fiefdom.

      Feeding a troll? Maybe. But just amazed at how power-trippy some store managers get.

    • StreamOfConsciousness says:

      @2719: Huh? You all right??

    • shadowkahn says:

      @2719:

      You. . .did know that this is consumerist.com, right? Not lyinggreedycorporatebastardsandtheiridioticsalesdrones.com?

      Just checkin’.

  10. Vanilla5 says:

    A question about coupons, though: Can a store refuse to take a coupon that doesn’t appear to be a manufacturer’s coupon (on the glossy or magazine-type paper)? I imagine many avid couponers also been using Web coupons or print-from-email coupons from manufacturers. Can a store refuse to accept those types?

    I’ve stopped using many coupons b/c my local Walmart refuses to take the ones that are on regular printer paper.

    • rushevents says:

      @Vanilla5: They are afraid of fraudulant coupons.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @Vanilla5: A store can refuse any coupon they like, but they have to be careful not to discriminate and to not tick off customers.

    • Juliekins says:

      @Vanilla5: My local Walmart are total a-holes about internet coupons. Even though their website has a coupon policy published that specifically mentions that they take internet coupons, the local store always gives me grief about it.

      No worries, I just wait until Target or Hy-Vee has a special on what I want and get an even better deal there. Eff Walmart. They were the best deal in town on a lot of grocery items right after they remodeled and turned into a Supercenter, but not any more. I’ll go somewhere where I get even better deals and don’t get treated like a thief for doing something perfectly legal and allowed under their policies.

      Hell, at Hy-Vee I’ve actually been complimented on my couponing powers. Booo, Walmart.

    • karmaghost says:

      @Vanilla5: I’m not exactly sure what laws say about this kind of thing because it had never occurred to me that the law would have anything to do with it. I’ve always thought that any store could decide what they want to do with coupons (i.e. accept or not accept them), but apparently that’s not the case.

      The store I work for used to deny any and all internet or printed coupons. Since then, however, we not only honor internet coupons, but even honor other stores’ coupons as long as they’re local. We used to have a lady who lived in one of our store’s advertising regions (Store A) but shopped in our particular local store’s region (Store B). The store coupons she received said “Redeemable at Store A only,” but we turned her away just about ever time she stopped by with these coupons at Store A. It seems ridiculous now because not only do we not send those kind of coupons out anymore, but really? Not even accepting our own coupons? I think it mostly had to do with the lady’s attitude…

    • Beth Coccaro says:

      @Vanilla5: The Michael’s in Kingston, MA refuses to take competitor’s internet coupons. They will accept the printed ones that come in the mail or are from the newspaper. Their justification is that internet coupons can be doctored at home and they have no way of knowing it was a valid coupon.

  11. Segador says:

    I understand that it’s the spirit of the matter more than the $ amount, but seriously? For $1? Stop arguing, pay the extra buck or whatever, and don’t let it ruin your day. (IMHO, of course)

    • Caged Wisdom says:

      @It’s Segador’s birthday and all I want is a ★: How much of story did you actually read before you posted your comment? She wasn’t trying to save $1. She was purchasing multiple items that were free after her coupons were doubled. She doesn’t give the exact number of items or their retail value amount, but she does mention Nivea lip balm and Vaseline lotion, and she also says it took her about 45 minutes to pick up all of the items in question. I’d guess she was saving considerably more than $1.

    • RandomHookup says:
    • Needy's Body says:

      @It’s Segador’s birthday and all I want is a ★: Uh, that’s what she offered to do, and they wouldn’t accept it – they offered to buy cough drops to put the total over, and wasn’t allowed to. Read, comprehend, THEN comment.

    • StreamOfConsciousness says:

      @It’s Segador’s birthday: Reading comprehension FTL!!

    • clickable says:

      @Segador: On a purely practical level, it’s usually quickest and easiest to finish up these transactions by making sure your final register amount will be positive. Less chance of attracting unwanted attention. I know there’s a temptation to walk out of the store without handing over one red cent just because you can, but you’ll have a better chance of flying under the radar if your register tape is $5, even if your shopping cart is filled to overflowing.

      I – and many more dedicated to frugality and skilled at coupon clipping than me – shop similarly at CVS (with Extra Care Bucks) and supermarkets, and use double coupons and combos of manufacturer coupons + store coupons to bring down the costs to free or close to free. I think it’s great, and it’s certainly legitimate,
      but on a practical level, it’s usually a good idea to get through the shopping trip without attracting undue attention and having to confront managers who sometimes just want to flex their shaky authority over any target within reach.

  12. AngryEddy says:

    If any store can afford to lose customers these days, it’s clearly Kmart…

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      @AngryEddy:
      Any store would LOVE to lose a customer like Nicole. K-Mart is better off without her.

      • West Coast Secessionist says:

        @I_am_Awesome: BINGO!

        You make yourself a huge liability to a store (As in, every time you “shop” there you COST them money) and then you wonder why they intentionally give you bad service and tell you to go shop elsewhere.

        Some people are incredibly dense.

        • West Coast Secessionist says:

          @West Coast Secessionist: Just for the record, when I say “You” above i’m talking about Nicole.

        • oneandone says:

          @West Coast Secessionist: Not true – they get reimbursed for the coupons, and even though Nicole didn’t pick up any full-price items, I’m sure that many coupon-shoppers do. I’ve gone into plenty of stores just to buy something free/discounted as part of a promotion, and picked up something else that also caught my eye. It’s what promotions are for. 100% of the customers lured in won’t go for it, but enough will. Or should, if you run your store properly.

          • karmaghost says:

            @oneandone: But I think that was his point; customers like Nicole who go there just to buy what she has coupons for and nothing else. If you go into a store to purchase something for a promotion and end up buying something else as well, you’re not like Nicole. On one hand you could say that I_Am_Awesome is totally right and no store likes customers like this and you would probably be right. On the other hand, however, you could argue that if you can’t get people like Nicole into your store in the first place (maybe because you treated them like shit), your chance of selling them other non-discounted items is 0%.

            • oneandone says:

              @karmaghost: I see your point – and if I ran a business I’d probably lean more towards indulging the heavy coupon users because I don’t think any customer will do what she did every time they come into the store. At some point, they will either impulse buy something or have become so familiar with what I’ve got that the store (ideally) becomes a convenient, attractive option shopping destination. I don’t know what the equivalent would be for K-mart, but I live equidistant between 2 supermarkets. One has better sales for what I tend to buy, so I go there frequently, and when I need something unusual quickly, my first instinct is to go there – even though it might be cheaper at the other place. If they have it.

              I think my issue with I_Am_Awesome’s comment was the assumption that one-time (or even multiple-time) customer behavior defines her entire spending pattern. I don’t think that’s accurate, and a good business should realize that while there are extreme frugal people and extreme spendy people, most customers at those extremes will sometimes deviate from that.

              It’s hard to know if the lady with tons of coupons will come back sometime soon and buy something at full price, but IMO if she enjoys her shopping experience, it’s likely to happen at some point. It’s definitely what’s happened to me on more than one occassion. I can’t be the only one suckered into impulse buys….

  13. Illusio26 says:

    While I don’t blame the OP for getting in on these deals, I don’t blame the manager for not wanting to just give things away for free. Kmart is moreso just being stupid, if they had half a brain, they would add a disclaimer, something to the effect of: double coupons, cannot exceed 75% of the total purchase price or something.

    • menty666 says:

      @darkjedi26: They aren’t giving it away for free,they get reimbursed for the value of the coupon. On double days it might be like a 401k where they’re kicking in a matching amount, but they aren’t losing the full value on the deal.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @menty666: Someone needs to explain that to the asst. manager. I bet that they were thinking the same think darkjedi26 was (I did too).

        Oh man, I feel a lot better about those last two coupons I used!

        • RandomHookup says:

          @Rectilinear Propagation: I find that cashiers understand they are being reimbursed, but have a reflective reaction to the consumer not paying *something*. They are afraid of getting in trouble or that they are getting scammed.

          That’s why you find a cashier who looks like he/she doesn’t care.

          • Anonymous says:

            @RandomHookup:

            I used to work at a K-Mart actually, and this would often happen to me. My manager was very difficult (to put it kindly) and I was always cautious about making change, checking coupons, etc. in case I messed something up.

            More than once I had a customer mistake this as reluctance to check them out, and I think it’s just important to keep in mind that often times cashiers at places like Walmart and K-Mart are just kids working a part-time job.

        • Xerloq says:

          @Rectilinear Propagation: I’ll bet the assistant manager was tossing used coupons into the trash instead of sending them back for redemption.

          Almost all coupons have instructions to the reseller on how to redeem them for reimbursement.

    • Beerad says:

      @darkjedi26: Or maybe Kmart should just suck it up for the what, $10 of revenue they lost out on this transaction and revel in the good publicity and positive feedback that they’ll get when the OP tells all her friends that Kmart is awesome and promotes their public image?

      • I_am_Awesome says:

        @Beerad:
        You mean when the OP tells her friends how to get free stuff at K-mart? Yeah, I’m sure they’d love that publicity.

      • West Coast Secessionist says:

        @Beerad: All her friends are “frugals” too (I didn’t know frugal was a noun, Consumerist!) Kmart doesn’t want their “business” either (Business to these coupon freaks means taking goods in exchange for nothing).

        The store gets a reimbursement for the coupons but the store eats the “doubled” part. Most margins in a store like Kmart or Walmart are NOT nearly 100%–that means that a double coupon is a loss to the store. They intend for a customer to do their normal shopping and use a few double coupons, Kmart still makes money.

        If every item in your order is a double coupon then the whole sale is a huge negative. On the balance sheet, it’s EXACTLY like you came in and shoplifted a bunch of things (since they get the partial reimbursement from coupons it’s like you shoplifted only half as much). The only difference is it’s legal–but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to refuse service to you. Remember that sign?

        Sure, I agree that it was not real policy, but if I was the manager, I would ban anyone who tried this from the store. They have NO VALUE to a store as customers.

        • annexw says:

          @West Coast Secessionist:

          If they don’t intend to value the “double coupon” day with all customers, then they should not offer it or they should put a restriction on it.

          Its not like the OP was being shady. She was taking advantage of a program that was offered. It is nothing like shoplifting.

          • I_am_Awesome says:

            @annexw:
            You know, it helps to read ALL of the words to understand what he’s saying. He didn’t say what she did was like shoplifting.

            From the store’s perspective, someone who buys nothing but stuff they can get for free or nearly free after coupon is of no value. They cost the store money.

            Yeah, the stores could add restrictions. The stores are obviously aware that people are doing this. I suspect the reason that they don’t make policies to prevent this is because those policies would adversely affect the customers they want to keep – the customers who buy other stuff. Right now Kmart apparently believes that the benefit of keeping those customers happy is worth the cost of putting up with the undesirables. As more people start taking advantage of coupon deals to the extent that the OP is, you will surely see the policies change. And then people will bitch about it on the Consumerist as they do every time a company is forced to change a customer-friendly policy because of abuse.

            • annexw says:

              @I_am_Awesome:

              The line is

              “On the balance sheet, it’s EXACTLY like you came in and shoplifted a bunch of things”

              We will have to disagree with the interpretation.

              • I_am_Awesome says:

                @annexw:
                You’re entitled to be wrong. Do you know what a balance sheet is? You’re leaving that phrase out of your interpretation.

                • RandomHookup says:

                  @I_am_Awesome: I beg to differ as well. Retailers are reimbursed for the face value of the coupons by the manufacturer (but not the doubled amount).

                  Seems to me that would be in the “accounts receivable” line of the balance sheet.

        • ailema says:

          @ludwigk: In most places I have worked expired and ‘with no other discount’ coupons would not be rejected when scanned. I think it was laziness on the part of the store. It was easier to charge cashiers for double couponing than it was to reprogram the registers.

  14. komodork says:

    Well, you not that they have the right not to accept the coupon. Its sometimes found on them and sometimes its not. It usual reads that if they accept the coupon, they will be given the face value plus other handling charges. I am pretty sure there is no law anywhere where the acceptor of the coupons has the accept it.

  15. idip says:

    I’m all for using coupons to save a buck.

    But, man, some of those crazy couponers (no joke) are crazy. The majority of couponers are legit, but there are a few that wow.

    I once had a lady come through buy like 100 dollars worth the stuff and then she gave me the coupons to scan (after everything had been bagged).

    Of course not remembering what I had scanned I took everything out of the bag to compare. (Of course the people behind her were upset as well as her).

    Turns out out of like 20 coupons which would have brought her bill down from $100.00 to like $20. Only 2, yes 2, were valid. The rest were for items she didn’t even have, expired, or said, “May only be used once per transaction”.

    Needless to say when I pointed this out she blew up on me, grabbed the coupons out of my hand and power walked to the door, leaving everything there.

    The people who had been in line behind her were shocked, myself included, and badmouthed her for trying to abuse coupons.

    *shakes head*

    I wish i had a lot of legit coupons. I’m almost afraid to use them, lol.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @idip: I was a cashier for awhile and I would always double-check items and expiration dates. You had some people who would try to abuse the coupon system by giving you expired ones or cut off the dates on them. I wouldn’t take them. Coupons can be good but some people go crazy with what they can get for free and load up on items they don’t need. I only clip the ones I know I will use.

    • ludwigk says:

      @idip: Just out of curiosity, wouldn’t the POS system reject coupon codes that are expired or only “1 per x”? Isn’t there enough logic built into the coupon code to do this? Or, am I grossly over-estimating the sophistication of the register that you were using?

      • Juliekins says:

        @ludwigk: Some registers do that, some don’t. I worked at Wal-Mart as a cashier when I was in college (1995-1996, then got a better job) and at the time, our cash registers were not smart enough to match coupons to items. These days, all the places I shop at have registers that are capable of doing that. If an item doesn’t match, the cashier can either tell the register to ignore it or disallow the coupon.

        In my city, Target checkers don’t seem to care–they’ll force coupons through all the time. I have a feeling that Walmart cashiers have been threatened with defenstration if they force a coupon through.

      • RandomHookup says:

        @ludwigk: Most POS are only as smart as their programming and the info on the coupons. Sometimes mfg’s reuse the bar codes and don’t make the right changes. Sometimes the bar code thinks the coupon expired last year, but the printing says something different. Most coupons only have the month/year coded in, not the day, so some coupons expire and the code show they are good. There isn’t even a way to code a coupon for more than a certain number of items, so a coupon for $1 off 10 may scan even if you just bought 4.

        It can be a nightmare as some clerks are trained to refuse a coupon that doesn’t scan, even though the consumer may have purchased the item.

        • bluewyvern says:

          @RandomHookup: When I was working as a grocery store cashier, the register would reject some of the coupons. I’d look first to see if it was expired. If not, I would check it against the item (sometimes having to dig it out of the bag at that point) to find out why it was rejected. Most of the time, there was a valid reason — wrong size, brand, variety, or number. The register was rarely wrong. I would point this out to the customer and offer them the opportunity to get the correct size/brand/variety/number instead (often I’d offer to send the bagger to fetch it), or they could just take the coupon back, or not buy the items, whatever they preferred. If I couldn’t find any problem, then I’d enter the coupon manually, which bookkeeping obviously wanted kept to a minimum.

          And no, I didn’t hold up the lines or anything this way. I was very fast in the first place, and if the customer did want to wait while someone brought the replacement/additional items, I’d usually finish the rest of their transaction and start the next customer, so they could process the coupon items separately — whatever would keep the line moving.

    • pax says:

      @idip: I swear that you and I worked at the same store and checked out the same crazy lady. Buying the wrong brand of stuff (e.g. the coupon was for Chicken of the Sea tuna and she’d buy Bumble Bee), half the coupons expired, and all shoved at you in a ginormous, sweaty wad. I’ll never forget this woman.

      I’m a pretty avid couponer myself, but I keep it honest. Just last night I was tossing expired coupons from my file. Coupons + BJ’s membership = big savings.

    • GrandizerGo says:

      @idip: What ghetto system were you using to scan her items???
      Every cashier I have EVER gone to has always accepted the coupons after everything has been scanned, they then scan the coupons and the POS system reduces the cost of the items that are valid. You do NOT have to PULL ITEMS out of the bags. If things are not valid, or expired, you hand the coupon back and tell her the reason.

    • 2719 says:

      @idip: THANK YOU!

      That’s what I mean! Not someone with one coupon or maybe two. I hate when people show up with a dozen of them and pay with cash and check.

      I go to a store knowing what I want. I grab the item, go to the register, pay with a card and leave. I have the card ready, no chit-chat, nothing else but a fast transaction.

    • Todd Miller says:

      @idip:

      Some may be psycho but most are not. My wife does this and let me tell you it’s hard work to get stuff that cheap. She spends hours upon hours clipping the correct coupons and comparing them against the store’s sale list.

      Try starting out with a $581 grocery bill and knocking it down to $250 with coupons…it makes perfect sense then.

      As far as you verifying what she purchased against the coupons…what lame store do you work in? Any store with a decent POS system will automatically compare the items against the coupons in the system.

  16. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    Egads!! I live in Cary and that is a horrible Kmart. It’s a pit in a shopping center that has seen better days. I’d rather go to that other pit of a Kmart further over off 64/1 in Raleigh, which is I bet where the OP went. It’s a student market one and I’m sure they wouldn’t blink an eyelash at anything.

  17. processfive says:

    I know the K-mart location that Nicole is talking about… it was a horrible (dirty, unkempt, poorly-stocked, disorganized, poorly-run) store the last time I was there.

    Of course, that was over ten years ago.

    In fact, that visit is the very reason why it’s been ten years since I’ve been inside a K-mart. Good riddance.

    • Charlotte Rae's Web says:

      @processfive: When you can’t even keep a Pizza Hut alive in Cary, you know the Kmart behind it sucks ;)

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        @Charlotte Rae’s Web:

        Well all of us outside of CARY know what it really stands for…Containment Area for Relocated Yankees (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

        I have to say our Burlingon, NC store was a pit previously but it looks like they’re trying to remodel it out of the stone ages. Lets hope they’re successful.

        Lastly: Yes, I am one of THOSE women who can buy $50 of stuff for $5. I am in no way cheating the stores; all of my coupons are legit, I don’t pass of expireds as valid, and I always try to follow the posted rules (the Kmart circular for this weeks double/triple event has some VERY stringent rules).

        Honestly, it’s simply a matter of working the stores’ own deals to your advantage…nothing shady or criminal about it. If the stores don’t like it when customers take advantage of their sales and special offers, they need to deploy stricter conditions of sale, or simply not offer these types of sales at all.

        • Charlotte Rae's Web says:

          @LadySiren: Everyone in Cary knows that too – I made that joke below too actually. But it doesn’t bother me as my family has been in North Carolina for four generations. Cary has great schools, low crime and my house is now worth almost $100k than I paid for it eight years ago.

          I haven’t been back to that Kmart in awhile but I suspect it isn’t going to get any better. The new SuperTarget in Apex right across the Cary border is awesome.

    • Dansc29625 says:

      @processfive: Sounds like everyone in Carey needs to stage a frugal coupon buying spree in this store, Just make sure the trainee assistant manager is working that day.

  18. slopirate says:

    Can someone point me in the direction of one of those “myriads of blogs” she mentioned?

  19. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I didn’t realize coupon-fu involved a Magic: the Gathering-esque kind of epic combinatorics for success.

    How do you coupon lords recognize such “broken” coupons that give you stuff for practically pennies on the dollar?

    • Firethorn says:

      @Applekid: Generally speaking? They’d consider it a loss-leader, the idea being they get you to buy stuff at that store either during that trip or because you’re used to shopping there to make a profit.

    • coren says:

      @Applekid: I don’t know how *they* do it, but I go to slickdeals.net where it’s already figured

    • crazedhare says:

      @Applekid: If you search “coupons” here on Consumerist, there are a lot of tricks to getting your money’s worth on them. Certain things are predictably on sale at certain times, and if you hold on to the coupons and wait for the right time, you are frequently permitted to combine a sale with a coupon. Sometimes the rules of the coupon or sale prevent this, other times not. I don’t think it’s an issue of “broken” coupons (whatever you mean by that) or a scam – the companies easily have it in their power to prevent it if they choose.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        @bunnymare: “Broken” is just a term used in the game that reflects a card that’s so unbalancing and provides such an advantage that the game is effectively over once it emerges.

        I kind of imagined a broken coupon as one that says you get the pizza store for free. (R.I.P. Mitch Hedberg)

      • ludwigk says:

        @bunnymare: A ‘broken’ deal is like that one week where the grocery store sells 12-packs of coke for “Buy 2 Get 3 Free”, and you bring a killer coupon on top of that, and get 5 for the price of 1. It’s so cheap it makes ‘regular’ priced coke seem ridiculous, and every other deal is just forgettable by comparison.

        @Applekid: A few years ago, Coke did these absolutely broken coupons for the winter olympics, where each one was worth 5 free 2-liters of coke, and it was easy for an individual to amass 30+ of these if they wanted to (I had about 38). Each time we went to the grocery store, I got 5 free 2 liters of coke. If there was a deal, like “regular price $1.99, sale price $1.66″, the coupon deducted the full value, making each coke ring up for -$.33. So broken!!!

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      @Applekid:

      Just pay attention to the coupon and the store ad. This example is likely gonna generate some hate replies but those posters can kiss my coupons (also, it’s an allowable transaction as per most stores’ coupon policies; Kmart during double/triple week is an exception):

      CVS runs a buy one, get one free sale on a particular brand of makeup. I get two coupons from the Sunday supplements that give me $2 off any one purchase of this makeup brand, then use both coupons on two items that ring up at $7.99 each at CVS. Voila, I’ve just bought two makeup items worth $7.99 each for $3.99.

    • psychocellochica says:

      @Applekid: You pay attention to sales cycles and play the match game. Most things are on a 12 week cycle. That $.35 off one box of Totinos pizza rolls coupon comes around, I’ll order 20 on a coupon clipping site (it’s illegal to buy coupons, but you can charge a fee for the time you spend clipping and a shipping/handling fee).

      Then, you wait until they go on sale (normally a few weeks after the coupon is out). Last night, I bought 19 boxes of Totinos and 6 bottles of Sunsilk at my local Acme.

      Sunsilk regularly $4.29 on sale 2/$5. I had $2 off any 2 coupons. So… $1.50 each.

      Totinos, regularly $2.69/box on sale $1/box. Acme doubles coupons, so I paid $.30/box.

      Before coupons and sales it would have been around $80. I paid less than $16

      My local Superfresh was tripling coupons for one weekend only… I walked out with a full cart of groceries for $53.00 (original shelf price was $217)

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      @Applekid:

      Update: went to our local Kmart tonight, bought $170 in groceries for $90. It wasn’t my best trip but I splurged on a couple of items, and bought a couple of things to be put away for birthdays later this year. My Kmart had no issues with my coupons whatsoever. Yay for double coupon week!

  20. DarianAlcestis says:

    Sick Roy Cooper on that store. It’s absolutely illegal and Mr. Cooper just loves to do this kind of thing!!

    KMart isn’t the same down here as it was up in NY. Or maybe it’s just the people. But since Cary is considered ‘the corral for renegade yankees’ I’d think y’all would demand better service.

  21. Mr. Guy says:

    somebody should make a movie about this OP.. maybe something called “Coupon: The Movie”

  22. savdavid says:

    Wow. write K-Mart corporate headquarters please! What a jerk to not ring up your coupons.

  23. Chris Valente says:

    I work at a CVS, and a lot of regulars stack coupons like crazy! The most popular technique is to buy items that give you extra bucks (basically an in store coupon for any item in the store) and pay for them with extra bucks they already have, along with mfg coupons and other store coupons. most of the time the totals for 20-40 dollars of items goes down to under a dollar, or free if they get lucky. of course, MORE extra bucks print out on their receipt for the next time they come in. There’s also the usual using mfg coupons on big loos leader sale items, making a bottle of dawn about 20 cents sometimes, or a bottle of tide under 5 bucks

    • JamieSueAustin says:

      @Chris Valente: The manager at my local CVS is awesome about extra care bucks and coupons!! I actually apologized because I was paying so little one day (I really needed the items and had to work coupons and ECB’s to get them) and he said “No worries, corporate catches us back and I’m happy to have you come to the store! Bring those coupons any time!” That made me feel great about shopping at that CVS, which I do now weather I have coupons or not.

  24. enthreeoh says:

    The manager was wrong but I can see why he wouldn’t want to give items away for free. The store is taking a loss on the double coupons to get people in the store to buy other items which they can make money on.

    I think it was his goal to aggrivate the shopper and really anyone else she would vent to, why wouldn’t he want to push away the people who screw with the bottom line?

  25. scoobydoo says:

    And somewhere in a board room in Hoffman Estates, a bunch of overpaid managers are brainstorming why the K-Mart brand is so tarnished.

  26. Mike8813 says:

    I don’t begrudge this woman for getting so many free items with those coupons, she’s obviously very smart. But am I the only one that would feel like a bum walking out of the store with a cart full of items I didn’t pay for?

    Hell, I feel guilty using that free-Monday Redbox coupon.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @Mike8813: After a while, you get used to it. I picked up over $1000 in groceries over the last week for $6 out of pocket and I ended up with a $10 coupon to use on my next order. I’ve lost all sense of shame.

      • Mike8813 says:

        @RandomHookup: Wow, that’s insane!

        (I got a good chuckle out of that last sentence)

        • RandomHookup says:

          @Mike8813: Of course, most of it was the form of cans of soup (something like 300 of them…not all at once, 10 at a time). I ended up sharing most of them with my neighbor and his big extended family (he does repair work in exchange for food). Some will end up at the food bank next time I volunteer.

  27. Myownheroine says:

    I’m actually on K-mart’s side on this one. K-mart’s already in financial trouble. I don’t feel sorry for her. It’s not like K-mart was making money on that transcation, and K-mart is a business, not a charity.

    *My opinion would differ if the coupons were not doubled by K-mart.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @Myownheroine: They are the ones who ran the ad and put together the promotion. This isn’t the 1st one they’ve done, so it’s not like this is a surprise. They get to set the rules and they could easily have set rules to prevent this from happening.

      • Myownheroine says:

        @RandomHookup:

        Well, there’s a difference between getting the random person who is just going to use it for one or two things but also buy things normally and those who intentionally spend 45 minutes picking out everything that they can end up getting for free and nothing else.

        • RandomHookup says:

          @Myownheroine: Yes there is a difference, but Kmart makes the rules. They could have set a required amount to pay after coupons or set a lower number that 25 (that could be $100 right there…only half of which they are reimbursed for). They have done this promotion at least twice before…they must assume they come out ahead (or they are just stupid).

          The deal is like Denny’s free breakfast deal…some people ordered water only. They didn’t deny them service. It’s the price of doing business … some people are going to walk out with your stuff paying 1/2 price all in the form of coupons.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Myownheroine: How is this any different than a loss-leader sale? Stores, including K-Mart, set up promotions all the time on which they lose money, in the usually justified hope that people will buy other stuff while there to offset it. If someone just takes advantage of the loss-leader, they just have to eat it.

      Unless you’re suggesting that K-Mart shouldn’t honor their current, advertised sale prices because they are in financial trouble…

    • scoobydoo says:

      @Myownheroine: For starters, they’ll get money from the vendor. Secondly – it is their promotion. They have to be pretty damn stupid to not realize how the market works – anyone with Google can find coupon sites where people describe their freebie hauls.

      It is typical of K-Mart/Sears – they want people in their stores, but don’t want them to get any deals.

    • orlo says:

      @Myownheroine: Don’t forget that giving stuff away keeps people from shopping at your competitor. You might lose money, but if the competitor goes out of business first, you win. And then you stop the promotions.

    • grumpygirl says:

      @Myownheroine: With all due respect, Kmart would not run a double coupon promotion if it didn’t make them some amount of money. And after all, no one forced them to run it.

  28. adamczar says:

    “I definitely won’t go back to this Kmart again.”

    No disrespect, but this made me laugh because usually what makes this threat so threatening is because companies hate to lose money. But the total on her bill was in the negative, so they’re probably totally fine with her never coming back.

  29. jkinatl2 says:

    It’s a great thing that we are not in a serious recession/depression, and some folks use coupons NOT to “get away with anything” but to make certain that they are not homeless and that their kids are fed.

    For the poster who agreed with KMart because of their financial crisis, um… didn’t KMart themselves instigate this promotion? You think the noble thing for the public to do would be to not take promotion of that promotion for the good of the company?

    Wow. Seriously. Wow.

    As for the customers who are annoyed. I get that. I get annoyed when a customer waits until everything is rung up before languidly reachign into his/her purse/wallet to procure means with which to pay for their purchases. Yes, in this country, we actually do pay for goods and services with means normally found in th wallet. And a check can be written during the entire ringing-up process. You don’t have to wait until the end. Also, I am certain that the very important phone call can either be put on hold or the party can be called back. That’s my rant.

    If I am annoyed, I either xone out, or find another line. Usually, with my luck, the line I move to is the one that takes the longest.

    Thing is, we passed “tough times” a while back. Many of us are in desperate times. And those who are flush with the Benjamins would be appreciated if they exhibited a touch of patience for those … at the KMart line … who are not.

    Seriously.

    as for the OP, I hope she takes it to corporate and/or the media. People with limited means endure soul-murdering things all the time. Being berated and denied at the line at a KMart when all the rules are followed should not be one of those times.

    • t0ph says:

      @jkinatl2: jeebus man…Well said. Perfect. Especially the “soul murdering’ part.

    • Myownheroine says:

      @jkinatl2:
      I don’t think that a “sale” that would end up costing K-mart $1.46 is actually “for the good of the company.” I think this sale was meant for normal customers who don’t play the system quite so much.

      • annexw says:

        @Myownheroine:

        From the post, she offered to buy cough drops which would have brought the total over the negative.

        The promo might not have had this customer in mind, but if they intend to offer it one person, they need to offer it to all of them. If they want to protect against ‘gaming’, they need stricter regulations.

        The OP was following the game to the letter. There is no fault in that.

      • e.varden says:

        @Myownheroine:

        So?

  30. PLATTWORX says:

    First I applaud Nicole for having the presence of mind to get this manager’s first name and manager code and remaining polite, which must have been hard to do.

    Joseph probably broke the law. At the very least, Kmart now has this highly embarassing post on the Consumerist with a manager’s first name, number and the location of the store. I betcha Joseph never expected that.

    Certainly, Joseph is full of it. Kmart does not just come up with policies “per store” based on Joseph’s imagination on any given day. He should be immediately fired for his behavior. Of course, Kmart managers are not exactly the shining stars of retailing today.

    Nicole, for the sake of yourself and others, I urge you to:

    1. Write Kmart (Sears Holdings) corporate with a similar accounting of what happened.

    2. Write the Attorney General in your state as suggested as laws certainly have been broken.

    3. Write the BBB and Consumer Protection in your state.

    It’s all one letter, just need to change a few words and who it goes to. I am certain you will receive something from Kmart for your trouble, the state will look into this for the future and Joseph will be dealt with.

  31. tbonekatz says:

    At the Kroger where I shop they triple up to 39 cents. If I have a 35 cent coupon (who has ever seen a 39 cent coupon) and the item is 99 cents, I still get $1.05 deducted. I just have to make sure I have something else for that extra 6 cents to come off of.
    Also, when I have a coupon to get something free and that item is on sale, they usually subtract the regular price rather than the sale price. It’s kind of like getting paid to take stuff out of their store.

  32. emis says:

    OP:I definitely won’t go back to this Kmart again. I may or may not return to the other one when double coupon days roll around again. I’ll tell you one thing: I will not spend over $3 per transaction at a Kmart ever again-I’ll make sure I have coupons or I won’t shop there.

    You know what? My guess is that they certainly won’t have a problem with that! :^)

    You were trying to get a bunch of items for free and then leave, without buying anything else…

    YES, I understand that that is what they offered, and so YES, they should have honored that…

    But reality is that they expect that these loss-leaders and free items will help bring in customers who will also buy other items. In this case you were not one of those customers, you were one who wanted to walk out with merchandise without paying anything, or extremely little.

    So I suspect that K-Mart will probably not be heart broken over the loss of you as a customer because you are a customer who uses every offer they make to get yourself the most for as little as possible, and those are the ones who cost them money–I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, or anything of the sort, I’m simply pointing out that the store doesn’t want the customers who actually take full advantage of these offers w/o buying other items.

    • annexw says:

      @emis:
      Indeed, a better threat would be “I’m going to come back here *every* *day* and use coupons. And I’ll bring a copy of company policy with me with corporate on speed-dial.”

    • e.varden says:

      @emis:

      Legally they have to, you corporate apologist.

      And it is their marketing-department that is supposed to factor in these advantage-taking anomalies.

      There is a science to this: Perhaps it is because K-Mart has no MBAs on staff that they are circling the drain? – You can’t fly a corporation nor a branch franchise by the seat of yer diapers, silly people.

  33. SoCalGNX says:

    Years ago, I did the double coupons/free coupons a lot. You need to contact the corporate website and/or CEO about this. I think they may offer you rainchecks or something along that line. The store manager is an ignoramus.

  34. CrissyT says:

    I am amazed at how many people think the store was in the right here, altho I shouldn’t be. [consumerist.com] Those are the comments people made about me when a story was published here. The thing is, K-Mart has been running this promo for several MONTHS now, and have added rules. At first, there was no 25 coupon limit. They could add any rules they want, but they don’t. And I can guarantee you EVERY participating k-mart has couponers who come in & only get the free/extrememly cheap items. If you have the means to pay for my items, feel free. Until then, I will continue to use coupons LEGALLY, and to my benefit. Just went shopping today as a matter of fact, and grand total would have been $322 and change, I spent $21, can feed my family, and still pay my bills. Shopping smart does not make me a bad consumer. Or maybe I can just pay retail for my items, then you all can support me when we are on food stamps and welfare!

  35. jamesdenver says:

    I’ve been hunting around online and finding coupons too – but I just searched “free after coupons,” found a site, and this one again requires me to install a garbage 3rd party app just to print.

    This annoys the hell out of me, and I want the coupons.

    [www.futuregringo.com]

  36. Erik Bagby says:

    K-Mart…you mean they are still in business? Who shops at K-Mart anymore? “tell em’ Ray…K-Mart sucks”

    The K-Marts around here all closed except for two, one in Mableton and one in Marietta, Ga. They both suck, are overpriced, have a poor selection, and are poorly staffed. Why bother when there are only a dozen WalMart’s who have three times the merchandise and half the price?

    But I do have to concede that any store can refuse to honor a coupon or serve a customer if they choose. Is it bad business- absolutely. But at the end of the day, a business does have the right to refuse service to anyone if they choose to do so on the basis that the sale is not profitable. A zero sale ticket sure doesn’t help there numbers for the day.

  37. halo969 says:

    I was just reminded of the time I tried using coupons @ at my local Super Target that I had printed from their website. The cashier made me wait for a manager’s approval to accept them. Not really sure where else she thought I could redeem a Super Target coupon, particularly for food items. She must have been confused by the heading on the coupon that states “Target Web Coupon” and thought I should be purchasing my celery online. ;)

  38. Tresa Rivers says:

    I’ve been to that K-mart, and it’s a bizarre hellhole in the middle of a fairly affluent area.

    I went in ONCE and it was so depressing I never went back.

    Can’t even fathom how it stays in business!

  39. Anonymous says:

    when I go to K-mart for the double and triple coupon sales I always print a copy of the K-mart policy. Once confronted about a purchase that added up to &0.37 I politely took the official policy from my purse, believe me there were NO further issues.
    I do actually have the policy for Walmart and other stores too. I believe it’s rather difficult to have management argue that “their” policy isn’t whats stated.

  40. goodywitch says:

    Sorta same thing happened to my mom and me when we were shopping at kmart a few years ago. We were purchasing jeans (buy one, get one free), and the store manager didn’t want to do it. There were signs, balloons and streamers, dates were proper, the jeans were in the proper place, but she still had an attitude because it wasn’t programmed into the register yet. She stated “they want it for free, we have to give it to them for free.” NO, you have a display with a certain price, we purchased an amount based on that price, and we expect you to honor the deal. We’re not taking it directly from your pocket, what’s with the pissiness of the employees? They’re not even on commission.

  41. baristabrawl says:

    I always have to say it. It’s K-Mart. Seriously? Stop shopping places where the management has a third grade education.

  42. cupcake_ninja says:

    Kmart.com advertises that when you sign up for their newsletter, they’ll send you 2 coupons, so one time, I did just that. Signed up for the newsletter so that I can get their coupons for a purchase I’d planned on making there. I get the coupon via email within a few minutes of signing up to discover that the coupon expired the week before. When contacting customer service about it, they just said, “sorry, S.O.L.” Thinking it was a fluke, I signed up for it again using another email. Same crap. Considering, this person’s coupon snafu with them is not surprising.

  43. Justin Linett says:

    i cant believe the kinda of service he gave you for not spending any money at his store.

  44. tc4b says:

    @2719: “You don’t like it? Take your business somewhere.”

    That’s what she did.

  45. Subsound says:

    As long as the coupons are legit, they are non expired, and they are for the right items…it’s perfectly right to be mad. They need to keep better track of them, and if they aren’t it’s their own fault.

    I’ve had it happen where I take coupons in and the person will say “We don’t accept this”…when I ask why (Legit item, SKU’s match, right date) and there is no answer I take my business to another store, usually which has no problem accepting it.

    People who try and scam or bully people into accepting it are annoying as hell, and should be shot down…but this all seems to be perfectly reasonable.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I live in Cary, NC and my understanding is that the Kmart on Kildaire Farm Road is just a Kmart, not a SuperCenter. I believe the doubling of coupons up to $2 is for SuperCenter locations (we have one in Garner, NC not far away). The assistant manager probably got confused because they don’t double up to $2 at their location since its not a SuperCenter.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Amount of credit from doubling a coupon cannot exceed the current retail price of a single item. No cash or instore
    purchase credit will be awarded for any amount exceeding the retail price of the item. Limit 1 coupon for
    each item purchased. Only 1 coupon will be doubled per item. You may only purchase 4 of the same item using
    double coupons. Buy One, Get One offers, Kmart Savings coupons and Kmart Store coupons are excluded from
    this promotion. Coupons do not apply to sales tax. Limit 25 coupons per customer per day. Internet coupons or
    copies of manufacturer instant coupons are not valid. Offer excludes products prohibited by law, including but not
    limited to alcohol, tobacco, and prescription medication. Not valid on non-merchandise, federal or state regulated
    items, prior purchases, Lands’ End, Sears merchandise rung on Sears registers within Kmart and Kmart.com. In
    the event of a return, coupon savings may be deducted from refund. Exclusions apply. Please see store
    associate for details.
    Sears Holdings (Kmart) reserves the right to modify or cancel this program at any time.

  48. albert pinto says:

    Well, it’s amazing. The miracle has been done. Hat’s off. Well done, as we know that “hard work always pays off”, after a long struggle with sincere effort it’s done.
    ——–
    david wilson

    Credit Card