EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

March 1, 2013

What becomes of a coupon?

Dear Jill,

You recently wrote about stores getting reimbursed by the manufacturer. As a long-time couponer, it’s interesting to learn about couponing from the store and manufacturer’s ends.

I am very interested in how this reimbursement works. Do the stores hire people to submit coupons to each manufacturer? How many people do this per store? How often do they submit? Consumers never see this behind-the-scenes process and I’m very interested. I hope you know the answers!

Kaori B.

Kaori makes an excellent point. Consumers don’t often get to peek behind the curtain of how coupon redemption actually works. We cut our coupons, hand them to the cashier, enjoy saving some money on what we’re buying and then ... what happens next?

If you’ve ever looked at the fine print on a manufacturer’s coupon (and if you’re a serious couponer, it’s likely that you’ve perused all of those legal details in the nearly-microscopic print at one point or another), you may have noticed that there’s a physical mailing address. Your coupons can be sent back to the manufacturer and the manufacturer will reimburse the store for the value of the coupons.

But does someone really sort through the thousands of coupons a store receives each week and mail them to each individual manufacturer? Usually not. This would be a labor-intensive process that would necessitate the store devoting its own staff to sorting and redeeming coupons on an ongoing basis. Instead, most stores utilize the help of a coupon clearinghouse or redemption center.

Stores collect their coupons and box them up. If the store is part of a chain, each individual store may send their coupons to the store’s corporate office first, which combines each of the stores’ coupons together into a larger shipment. Then, the coupons are sent to the clearinghouse.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle

Photos of the Week