Sunday, September 9, 2007

Coupon Confusion

Is it me, or are coupons getting more complicated?

I am an avid coupon collector. Every Sunday, I clip coupons for items that I normally buy. I save at least $5 a week at the grocery store with my coupons. That's more than $250 a year.

There is nothing worse than checking out in a grocery store, having your coupons scanned, and hearing a loud "ehh, ehh" noise coming from the register, instead of the familiar and friendly "beep". The cashier studies the coupon, and tries to figure out why the coupon was rejected. Typically, it's because I bought the wrong number of items or the wrong size. Instead of running through the store to get another item, or the right size, I just tell the cashier that I'll use it next time. I don't want to anger the person behind me, who is already annoyed that my coupons are causing them to wait. Believe it or not, some people are actually anti-coupons!

Is this what the food companies want? For us to make mistakes, so we have to buy a full price item? Why can't they make a 50 cent coupon for one box of cereal, instead of $1 off of two boxes? Sometimes, I won't even cut out a coupon if I know I have to buy 2 of something. Especially, if it is something that would go bad before I could consume two. Sometimes this results in that company losing my business, because their brand is not the cheapest without the coupon. Not smart on their part.

I also do a lot of rebates. These typically entail saving UPC codes and receipts for large quantities of items. You mail it in, and get a check back for $5 or more. I think most people don't bother, because it is time consuming, and you have to remember to get the UPC code before you throw the item out.

A few weeks ago, I saw a $10 rebate for Kellogg's cereals, if I buy 10 boxes. Well, I eat Kellogg's everyday, and $1 off each box is a pretty good savings. So, this seemed worth the effort for me. I read the fine print, and it said I had to make all my purchases before Sept. 30. Plenty of time. I buy 2 boxes a week. I peeled off the UPC labels when I unpacked my groceries, and put them in an envelope with the receipt.

I just bought my last 2 boxes today and was preparing to send off all the receipts and UPC labels for my $10 check (expect to wait 2 months to get it). I decided to reread the fine print just to make sure I had included everything. I was horrified when I read that "all products must be purchased in a single transaction"!

How does purchasing all 10 boxes on the same day, rather than several trips, benefit Kellogg's? The prices haven't changed, and I'm still buying their product. Don't I deserve to save some money?

Who buys 10 boxes of cereal at a time? If you are buying 10 boxes, you should be shopping at a warehouse store, and buying your cereal by the barrel.

All my effort and diligence was for nothing. I am tempted to mail all my receipts and UPC codes with a nasty letter and a link to this blog. We'll see what happens.

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