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Saturday, August 30, 2008

I may never go to Wal-Mart again....

I decided to use Friday's lunch hour to snag some of the freebies and almost-freebies that I'd been reading about on other people's blogs. I was armed with my stack of coupons as I walked into Wal-Mart. I was on a mission, because this Wal-Mart is notorious for long lunchtime waits at the checkout.

I all but sprinted through the store using the list that I'd organized according to the store's layout. I figured I'd make it through the list as quickly as possible and allow a full 20 minutes for checkout wait time. (Pretty sad, eh?) I did make it through the store in record time, but I wasn't able to find all of the prices that other Wal-Mart stores seemed to be offering.

My Wal-Mart didn't have the new Cajun Uncle Ben's Ready Rice, so I'll save that coupon for a later date. Maybe our area will catch up to the rest of the world before it expires! I also couldn't find Visine for $3.62. I wasn't willing pay more than the allotted 62 cents for it (after coupon), so I left it behind. I also couldn't find the 10-packs of Schick razors for $1.99. I've looked for these twice now with no success. Maybe they're hiding away from the rest of the razors somewhere? Our Pert Plus was much more than the $2.97 I'd read about, so that stayed behind too. Hubby's tried it, and it makes his hair oily. This was for donation, and I was looking to get it free. Our Wal-Mart also didn't have the Rimmel eye shadow on sale buy 1 - get 1. I was REALLY disappointed with that, because I had 3 coupons. I thought that I might be able to get a couple for myself and share the other 4 with the teenage girls who intern in our office. They would have LOVED it!

Everything else on my list was available, and I also picked up a few *****GASP***** regular-priced items. Disappointing, but true. Actually, Wal-Mart has the cheapest saline solution I can find, even with my coupons and CVS deals. So I do buy saline there. They also had the newest All You magazines, so I snatched up two of those. My daughter adores Goldfish crackers, and it's usually most efficient for us to buy the gallon-sized box that they have at Wal-Mart. I also found two tees for my daughter... marked down to $1 each!

Now enter my cashier. She was the main character in my Wal-Mart drama. Now I have to tell you that I'm usually very friendly with my cashiers. I try to make polite conversation, as I'm sure they get plenty of grouchy customers through the day! This time, I talked with my cashier about how they were renovating and rearranging the store. She seemed friendly enough...

... until I handed over my stack of coupons. It was a decent sized stack, as you'll see in my summary below. But usually a cashier would take a few minutes to scan them all through. Not this cashier! She literally read the fine print on every single coupon I gave her! I have no problem with cashiers checking any questionable coupons, but she acted like I was trying to scam them with my coupons. And she made me feel like a heel for even using them.

The first major coupon problem came with the Glade Plug-In refills with the free warmer. I was pleasantly surprised to find the display that another blogger had described. But my cashier searched my receipt (which she printed in part several times during the coupon inquisition) for them, and found that they were only $2.97. The coupons were for $4, and she couldn't possibly adjust them down to match the price. Grrr.... I politely told her to please remove them from my order, and she returned the coupons.

She proceeded to scan through the Post-It coupons ($3 off 2) for Post-Its that were only $1.24 each. (Do you think she realized that the coupon was worth more than the Post-Its?) She did the same for my cat food, Preparation H, and Gold Bond trial sized lotion (I had an older coupon). She never even blinked on those (after reading the fine print, of course), and they were all worth more than the price of the products. I didn't have the time or energy to tell her about this!!

Then came the Kraft coupons from last month's All You magazine. I still had a few laying around and figured I'd better get them used on this trip. I was getting the South Beach Tide Me Over drink mixes, and I was using those as two of the items toward getting the Kraft dressing and Wheat Thins free. I supplemented with Kool-Aid. In fact, I miscounted and picked up 7 Kool-Aids... more than necessary.

My diligent cashier read the fine-print and told me that I hadn't bought 3 Kraft/Nabisco items. I politely explained that I had purchased 2 drink mixes and 7 Kool-Aids. She argued that the Kool-Aid was single-serve. We went back and forth, with me telling her how I'd used multiple coupons like this before. She panicked and thought I meant during this transaction. (OH MY!) Then she said she'd need to call someone else to ask them. I encouraged her to do so. When the manager arrived, my cashier took her aside and explained the situation to her in a conspiratorial tone. The manager simply said, "That's fine." I thanked her, and the cashier finished my order.

By the way, while we were waiting for the manager to arrive, the cashier did tell me that she also liked to use coupons. She mentioned that you can save a lot of money with them. I don't think she quite had a grasp of how efficiently I was using them this time. I have a feeling that she was baffled by the number of coupons I had.

As I was swiping my debit card, the lady in line behind me asked the cashier if there was a time stamp on the receipt that would show the start time of my order. She assured the cashier that she had clocked us standing there for 30 minutes. I didn't doubt it. The cashier shrugged her shoulders, made a face, and pointed to my stack of coupons!!!!! I couldn't stand it any longer. I told the cashier that I had NEVER had a cashier take that long to process that many coupons. I apologized to the kind lady behind me, but she assured me that it wasn't my fault.

On the way out, I happened to pass the manager who had helped me. I politely let her know that we had stood there for 30 minutes and that she should be prepared for the lady coming after me. I figured that lady would stop the manager as well. The manager apologized and said that they'd speak with the cashier about it. She assured me that the cashiers should be able to simply scan the coupons. The system will let them know if there's a problem.

I ended up being 10 minutes late getting back to work, so I stayed after to make up for it. When I explained to my boss and co-workers what had happened, they each had horror stories similar to mine! And they were all talking about the same Wal-Mart store! How sad that a store known for helping people save money can't seem to help them save time too.

Well.... After all that, below is what I did end up with. My hubby saw how stressed I was when I came home, and he was sweet enough to put everything away for me! I don't have pictures of everything I got, but I was blessed by his kindness.

2 Ronzoni pastas $1.50 each (2 $1 coupons from recent newspaper insert)
1 Kraft dressing $1.59 (FREE with All You coupon)
7 Kool-Aids .20 each
2 boxes South Beach Tide Me Over drink mixes $2.00 each (2 $2 coupons from ???)
1 box Wheat Thins $2.50 (FREE with All You coupon)
12 Post-It page markers (I use these on my CVS runs every week!) $1.24 each (12 $3 off 2 coupons - here)
2 Prep H wipes (donating) $2.94 each (2 $3 coupons - here)
1 Gold Bond trial size lotion (donating) $.99 ($1 coupon - here - now excludes trial size)
2 packs Kotex pantiliners (donating) $1 each (2 $1 coupons from recent newspaper insert)
3 Purina cat food 3.5 pounds each $3.93 each (3 $4 coupons - here - must take a "quiz")
1 massive box of Goldfish crackers $6.46
2 tees $1 each
1 double-pack saline solution $4.36
2 copies All You magazine $1.77 each

Subtotal $61.36
Total OOP (including tax) $18.84


Sarah Z said...

What a horrible experience! I hate going to Walmart, and found it best to only go early in the morning, and NEVER on the weekend. I'm glad you spoke to the manager. Coupons are there for consumers to use, and cashiers need to get over it!

The Taskers said...

Hi Jennifer,
I've been following your blog for a few weeks and love it. I am also always on the look-out for cheap saline and stock up when I find it. If you have a Rite-Aid near you, they are having B1G1 on Renu and there were $2 off coupons in an insert lately. If you combine the MC and B1G1 it's about $5.00+tax for two, and each pack includes a new contact case and small thing of eye drops.