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We undertook our monthly trip to Costco last week to take advantage of some coupons specials as well as stock up on some items that we needed.  It was a good trip, and we had a friendly, chatty cashier that shared some Costco coupon information that I found interesting.  Whether these are true or not, I have no idea, but it's interesting to note.

  • You only need one coupon from your coupon book – This is sort of true and has been a somewhat frustrating policy for me.  See, many people, myself included, observed a couple of years back, that all of the barcodes from the coupons were the same for the regular everyday products.  Many people, also myself included, surmised that you only needed one physical coupon, and saved clipping / tearing out.  This worked a few times, but at one recent Costco trip, the cashier insisted that she needed every one, so we had to stand there tearing the rest out of our coupon books.  Since then, I've been safe and have taken out the ones we needed.  The cashier said that it's up to the cashier and sometimes a store policy on whether they need every one or not.  This store (and cashier) obviously had a loose policy as she didn't even scan a single coupon that I had, instead scanning one she had sitting on her register.
  • You can't exceed the item limit on a coupon in a single visit – This is true.  Many of their coupons have a limit on how many you can buy and get the discount.  I learned that the hard way once when I wasn't paying attention, and bought two of something, only to see after I finished checking out that I didn't get the discount on the second product.  I returned the product before I even left the store.
  • You can exceed the item limit on a coupon over multiple visits – According to our chatty cashier, this is also true, but you don't want to do this.  If you present the coupon multiple times during multiple check-outs, she said that it will actually ring the discount through.  However, she also pointed out that their system keeps track of every single purchase (and coupon) you ever make, and that they have a solution for people that they find ‘game' the system.  They will start skipping sending you coupon books in the future!  And, to get back on their mailing list, you have to get on your hands and knees, and beg and grovel to at least two customer service representatives while singing La Cucaracha.  OK, I made that last part up.  She really didn't know if/how you got back on the mailing list.

I think Costco is great and has saved us a lot of money over the years.  I don't think it's necessary to try to scam them as I think they provide great value.  It encourages me to know that they combat people trying to scam them, because they realize that if they allowed it, this would mean higher prices for everybody, including their honest customers.

Again, I'm not sure if these Costco policies really are true, but I figure it was worth sharing.