EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

May 24, 2013

Does policy equal uniformity?

Have you taken a few minutes to familiarize yourself with your favorite store’s coupon policies?

Most stores have a written coupon policy, which you usually can find on the store’s website or at the customer service counter inside the store. Coupon policies are invaluable tools for coupon shoppers, as they contain the answers to many common questions.

Can I use two coupons on a Buy One, Get One Free sale? Will my store accept a competitor coupon? All of this is spelled out for us in the policy.

The coupon policy is an excellent tool for clearing up confusion in the checkout lane. Imagine this: You have an issue with a cashier refusing to accept a coupon, but you know that according to the store’s policy, they should accept it. Simply pull out the coupon policy and show the cashier, and it becomes easy to resolve.

Over the years, many readers have told me that they like to carry a printout of the policy in their coupon wallets, or pull up the policy on the store’s website using a smartphone.

But what happens when your store doesn’t have a coupon policy? It becomes more difficult to plan shopping trips, because you don’t know what your store will accept. And, in the case of cashier confusion, you’ve got nothing to refer back to in order to support your argument that your usage is correct.

Here’s an email from a reader with a coupon policy dilemma:

Dear Jill,

Here’s a question I haven’t seen in your column before. What do you do when your store has a great coupon policy but is threatening to get rid of it completely?

Here is what happened: The biggest chain of stores in our area recently got sold to a new owner. The new owner announced they are going to take away the corporate coupon policy and let each store decide what kind of coupons to take and what not to accept.

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