Many of these rules are simply common sense while others are ‘unwritten’ rules that couponers learn. What they all have in common is that they are the rules we follow in order to get along with stores, couponers and other shoppers. When we all get along, good things happen. When we do not get along, unpopular things can happen.
10 Rules of Coupon Etiquette.
- Do your homework before you leave for the store. In other words, don’t pull your ads out at the cash register and start tearing out your coupons. Not only will homework make you a more efficient and successful shopper, you will be better liked by those around you.
- Face it, the items on the shelves are not there solely for your benefit. That is, the world is not rotating around you. Don’t clear the shelf unless there are less than five items sitting on it and you really have no choice. If you intend to purchase a large amount, more than 50 for example, call ahead.
- Work with the stores. Follow their rules and you will get better customer service in addition to whatever you are going to shop for. You may even get a tip or two. Reference their coupon policy before you attempt to challenge it. If you cannot locate the policy online, ask a store manager or email the company.
- Be nice, smile as you hand over 50 coupons. Phrase it nicely when you want to know if the coupon was applied to your purchase. You’ll get better service in the end.
- Keep it legal. Photocopied or fraudulent coupons are not only illegal, they are often obvious. Manufacturers just don’t give away free without a purchase any more. Read here for more information.
- Use your coupon exactly as it states to be used. Using a coupon for another product from the same brand is unethical and fraudulent. An expired coupon will not get you very far in the savings game.
- Watching the coupons as they are being rung up is a lot easier and more efficient than coming back to the cashier and asking about it 5 minutes later. If there is an issue before you have actually paid, you will have a better chance of resolving it. Watch what is going on.
- Get into the correct line and be courteous to those behind you. If you have a cart full of items, stay out of the 12 and under line. If you are making more than transaction, warn the people behind you.
- Shop at slow hours if you have a lot to purchase. Not only will you get to the cashier faster, you will be able to navigate the store and find your items more successfully. The best times to shop are early morning (just after shelves are stocked and before the crowds) and mid morning. Between 3 and 6pm can be a hectic time to shop.
- Share and be shared with. It’s so much easier to save money when you work with someone else. Ask your friends what kind of coupons they are looking for and tell them what coupons to be on the look out for. It’s a win-win.
Following the rules of etiquette can make us all more successful coupon shoppers.