Friday, May 17, 2013

Publix: Is this ethical?

 photo 2013-05-15115557_zps9cc4e8a5.jpg

On Wednesday, before the sales week ended, I headed back to Publix to pick up two more deals. My kids tried the Arnold flatbread I bought last week, and they loved it! So I printed out two more Save $1.00 on any one (1) Arnold®, Brownberry® or Oroweat® Pocket Thins® Flatbread coupons, and I also clipped four coupons for Dial soap. Here are the deals I got:

2 Arnold flatbread @ BOGO $3.89
- 2 Save $1.00 on any one (1) Arnold®, Brownberry® or Oroweat® Pocket Thins® Flatbread
= $1.89 for two, or 95¢ each

4 Dial soap 3-packs @ BOGO $2.29 = $4.58
- 4 $0.35/1 Dial Liquid Hand Soap, Foaming Hand Soap or Bar Soap, exp. 5/25/13 (RP 04/28/13)
=  $3.18 for four, or 90¢ each

Tax: 28¢
Total out of pocket: $5.35
Saved: $9.58

So when I gave the 35¢ off coupons for the Dial bar soap, the cashier said to me, "There was a bigger coupon for the soap, didn't you get it?" She reached into the coupon pouch where the cashiers place the redeemed coupons, and she showed me a $2/2 Dial, Dial For Men or Tone Body Wash, exp. 6/8/13 (RP 05/12/13) coupon that another customer had used for the bar soap.

I said, "That coupon is for Dial body wash, not Dial bar soap."

She said, "The register took the coupon, and that's all that matters."

I said, "It's one thing if it said "Any Dial product."  But that clearly is meant for the body wash, so it's not right to use that coupon.

And she said, "Well, what matters is if the register takes it or not."

So I dropped it. Frankly, usually cashiers are too stringent on coupon use - not accepting coupons based on the picture instead of the wording, for instance - so it was nice to have a lenient cashier.  On the other hand, it goes against everything I've learned about proper coupon usage.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below!


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8 comments:

blessedx4girls.com May 17, 2013 at 10:54 AM  

My opinion is that it's unethical for a shopper to *knowingly* use coupons to purchase different products than they are meant for. I know that some people do it, but it's a matter of conscience for me. Slip-ups do happen, but if I notice that the register accepted a coupon for the wrong product, I don't go back to purchase more.

I think that your example could ultimately be bad for the store. Don't they have to show that their sales records match the coupons they submit for redemption? If they don't get reimbursed for the coupons, then they will likely tighten their rules. My usual store isn't ridiculous about coupons (like Target is, for example), but the cashiers are trained to make sure they match up, especially for free and B1G1 coupons.

Christine May 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM  

I used all 6 of my $.35/1 coupons to purchase 6 packs of soap. I thought that was an awesome price for a necessity like soap. I personally am very careful to only use coupons for the product intended. Who wants to have a reputation for trying to "cheat the system" at their local store? I sure don't!

Dana May 17, 2013 at 8:57 PM  

She is wrong. As a former Publix manager, if the register takes it, and it is for the wrong item, it is wrong, Matching family groups does not make it ok

Valerie Way May 17, 2013 at 9:54 PM  

My store had a lady come in for a while several years ago. She usually saved $200-$300 each week on her groceries and didn't have to pay but a few dollars. They got audited and got in trouble because it turned out that she was using coupons for products she didn't have. They are very stringent about checking coupons and matching products now.

Maria Z May 18, 2013 at 8:15 AM  

The cashier is wrong, the fun thing about couponing is that you can save a lot using the RIGHT COUPONS and make things RIGHT <3

Becky S,  May 18, 2013 at 10:53 AM  

I try to be very careful and pay close attention to the details. My publix is VERY strict on coupons. And I appreciate an extra eye on the details. I don't have to sit there and explain everything to them. The local bi-lo on the other hand doesn't have a clue. They don't know their own coupon policy, coupon limits, difference between store / mnf coupons, or which coupons should or should not double. I had a lengthy ordeal on the register there last week because of coupon issues and a manager had to be called over 3x's to make coupons double, approve store coupons, and then the register locked up. PO'ed all the customers in line behind me. Embarrassing.

Kirstie May 18, 2013 at 9:58 PM  

Doesn't matter if the register took it. If that is not what the coupon was meant for, it is unethical to use it. That's the kind of thing that spoils couponing for the rest of us and causes the manufacturers to limit coupon usage and give lower coupon amounts. I give you kudos for your ethics!

Diana Chastain May 24, 2013 at 7:53 AM  

Not ethical. If the person used didn't know, that's one thing. But that cashier was the one who was out of line and unethical. It does matter because the company won't pay the store regardless if the cash register took it or not. Stealing is stealing is stealing.

Diana @ Nanny to Mommy

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