Coupon Policies Are Not Always Enforced

Have you ever looked at store coupons and seen rules and stipulations a mile long, and said “Forget it” to the whole thing?

Not so fast!

At least if you’re shopping at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

We’ve had a couple instances of very good luck using coupons that, according to the rules on various coupons, shouldn’t have worked.

Two Bikes

Last year, my wife was in the market for a new bike.  I think this was prompted by the fact that my sister-in-law had just got a new bike, and while usable, the aqua green 10-speed from the 1990’s just wasn’t alluring.  We do quite a bit of bike riding during camping trips, so she used birthday money to get her bike.

My sister-in-law actually came up with the suggestion to try to use our Entertainment Book coupon, where Dick’s has a few entries.  I looked at the coupon and it had some brand exclusions, one of which was the bike my wife wanted.  I asked my sister-in-law and she said that they took hers without a problem, even though she bought a bike from the same manufacturer.

Sure enough, when I went to the store to pick up the bike, they took it without so much as a second glance.

We saved $15!

Two Canopies

Last year when we had my daughter’s first birthday party, we borrowed a couple of 10×10 canopies from my aunt and uncle.  They worked great.  So much that we thought it would be a good investment to buy a couple for ourselves.  We knew we’d have parties and gatherings at various points, plus we also figured it’d be good to take one on camping trips, as it could be good to add covered space in addition to the awning on the camper.

They typically retail for $100, but we saw one for $80 and were thinking about getting at least one.

Then, my wife hit the jackpot.  There was a coupon in the Sunday insert that allowed you to buy one for $50.  That’s half off!  We asked my parents for their coupon, and went in with the age old strategy of deciding to buy one each, since the coupon clearly stated ‘One per customer’.

Then, I remembered what store I was working with.  I looked in this year’s Entertainment Book and saw that they had two coupons that we might be able to work with.  One was $10 off $50 and the other was $20 off $100.

I looked at the coupon and it also said ‘Cannot be combined with other offers’ but what harm did it hurt to try, right?

We took all the coupons with us, and walked up to the register.  Our first option was to use the $20 off $100 coupon, so I asked if we could put both on the same order and use two coupons.

“Let me check,” the cashier said.  She scanned both items in, scanned one of the coupons…and both of the items immediately went to $50.  So, they don’t even program their computers to match the written policy.

We then asked if we could use the coupon from the Entertainment book.  She looked at it, scanned it, entered the value, and we got an extra $20 off.

All told, with tax, we paid slightly over $84 for two canopies.

Earlier in the week, we had been prepared to go get one for a sale price of $80.

So, even with what we were prepared to pay, we got two for the price of one!

Just goes to show that the fine print which is written on coupon policies might not always be enforced, so next time you think about tossing that coupon, think about giving it a shot.  You might be surprised.

Readers, have you ever had luck using coupons that you didn’t think you would be able to?  What deals did you score?

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14 thoughts on “Coupon Policies Are Not Always Enforced

  1. Most cash register people (if they are not the owner) are just looking for the easy way out. It takes extra effort to call over someone to do something. If no one will questions their receipts is another reason to let it slide through. That is the reason you are more likely to be successful.
    krantcents recently posted..Congratulations Class of 2013, Now What?My Profile

  2. Ahh, the “Your Mileage May Vary” situation!

    Yes, even online ocassionally – a few times I’ve been able to stack store coupons with store deals (BOGO, BO Get One 1/2 off) with credit rewards with cashback. Some sites are pretty vigilant with the multiple bonuses (bonii?) , but you can sometimes sneak it through.

    My favorite is when my Discover’s category rotates to something I want, heh. Ripe for stacking, and ignoring fine print!
    PK recently posted..Are You in a Female-Breadwinner Couple?My Profile

  3. As a online coupon scavenger myself, I completely agree with the “it doesn’t hurt to try” approach. Good side, the coupon works and you save some cash. Bad side, it doesn’t and your back where you started. Some online stores releases coupons to ramp up sales during certain times of the year or to clear inventory. While some coupons are open ended, many do have expiry dates. Usually 30 days or 1 year. Just because the coupon is listed as expired I would still encourage you to click on it or enter the coupon code at checkout before completing your transaction. Sometimes the stores extend the coupons and you wouldn’t know unless you try it. So, give any coupon a try and happy saving!

    • I usually check Retail Me Not for any online ordering I do and they’re pretty good about noting coupons that work, and many times I’ve found supposed expired coupons that have worked just fine!

    • That was the way I looked at it, the worst they could say was ‘No’. Luckily, they didn’t 🙂

  4. Results are entirely on the hands of the cashiers I guess. I have bad both good and bad luck with coupons. But that has never stopped me from trying. I have given up on grocery couponing but for anything else, I still try. I have some success asking the cashier for any coupons. That works most of the time too. They always have a copy next to the register and if I ask nice they usually just scan theirs. I will take it!
    Suba @ Wealth Informatics recently posted..Long distance moving on the cheap: Part II, Moving with Amtrak and GreyhoundMy Profile

    • I wouldn’t give up on grocery coupons, they might only yield a little bit per week (which you can do with minimal effort…no ‘extreme’ couponing required) but that adds up to a decent chunk of change.

  5. I recently had a coworker print off about 20 Facebook coupons that would give you $1.50 off of an organic frozen burrito that normally costs about $1.99 . She was only supposed to use one per visit (even says it right on the coupon) but they accepted all 20 of them from her at once. I am 100% sure the company is going to seriously regret this promotion but the damage might have already been done.

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