Have you ever been in the checkout line and the person in front of you whips out a coupon and you think to yourself, “Now why the heck didn’t I think of that!” Other than maybe getting your purse or wallet swiped it may be the worse feeling possible when shopping.
But fortunately there is a silver-lining to this little tale as there still are ways to collect your discount at many stores if you forget your coupon, or simply don’t have one. The one thing that all of these retailers have in common is they want their customers to walk out of the store thinking they got a fair shake and saved some money. Here are the top retailers to employ this culture along with what you need to know about each to ensure you always get a discount.
Almost every time my wife shops at Michaels she does it with a coupon in her purse. Typically good for 40% or 50% off any 1 item and occasionally good for 25% off your entire purchase. On the rare occasion that she forgets to bring in a coupon, or doesn’t have one on her smartphone, she’ll politely ask the checkout clerk if they might have a coupon she can use. I’d say 90% of the time they’ll open a drawer under the register and pull out a coupon and scan it. Bravo Micheals. I know you have many loyal customers because you’re willing to do this for them.
I have witnessed it first-hand at Old Navy. A shopper walks up to the checkout person with an armload of cargo shorts, signature polos and colorful tanks, plops them down, wipes the sweat from their brow, and asks the employee if there is a coupon available they can use. Seriously. At this point the dealio usually ends with an employee pulling out a coupon to scan. From conducting my own research with some of my savvy shopping friends, success with this method varies by store and employee but it is always worth a shot. If you are shopping coupon-less at Old Navy you should give it a try or at the very least pull up the Old Navy Facebook page on your phone and check for a coupon. They are constantly updating it with in-store offers.
Similar to Michaels, the craft and fabric store Joann is known for their great coupon offers. If you don’t use a coupon at Joann’s you are clearly paying way too much. If you forget to bring in a coupon be sure to ask any employee for one as they tend to hand them out freely. Also, if you see one of their sales flyers laying around, and you will, just open them up and they almost always have coupons in the back. Expect to find coupons good for 40% or 50% off any 1 regular-priced item and sometimes ever better.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Just a couple weeks ago I was in the new Dick’s Sporting Goods store here in Redding, CA and I was blown away with the great “coupon” customer service I received. I was at the checkout register with three squirrely kids when it hit me like a ton of bricks that I had a Dick’s coupon on the Rather-Be-Shopping iPhone app. So I’m fumbling through my pocket looking for my phone, I finally get it out, and am pulling up the app when the gal behind the counter says, “What was the coupon good for?” I tell her it’s a $5 off $25 or more coupon, and she says, “Oh, I can do better than that!” At this point she reaches down and whips out a $10 off coupon and says we can use this. As a coupon nerd I darn near jumped the counter and kissed her. Luckily I contained myself and choose to just thank her incessantly.
Moral of the story: Always shop with squirrely kids as store employees will feel sorry for you and give you great coupons. But more importantly, when shopping at Dick’s Sporting Goods without a coupon, always ask the checkout employee if they have some coupon goodness up their sleeve. I think you might be happily surprised with the result.
Bed Bath & Beyond
Oh, how I love the famous “20% off any 1 item” coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond. The $5 off $15 or more are great too. These things are like Gremlins at my house as they seem to multiply by the day and end up in every kitchen drawer within a weeks time. But what happens if we actually forget to take it with us when we shop? A couple tips to ensure you’ll still get your discount. First, keep an eye out when you walk into the store as I often see a coupon or 2 laying around the checkout area. Secondly, it can be as simple as asking the person behind the register for one. I have had a lot of success doing this. Just try it. It’s free money for crying out loud. Also, most BB&B stores will still accept an expired coupon so if you find an old one laying around try and use it anyways.
Kohl’s is known for their great coupons, both online and in-store. But what happens if you’re shopping in their store and you forget to bring in your Kohl’s coupon? You actually have a couple options. The first is to look on your smartphone. If the coupon was delivered to you via email and you can access your email via your phone then just bring it up and the cashier can simply scan your phone. Your second option is to politely ask the cashier if they have any scratch-off coupons behind the counter that you might be able to take advantage of seeing that you left yours at home. I think you’ll be amazed by how often this strategy will work as Kohl’s really does a great job helping consumers “get a deal”.
After the the big JCPenney coupon debacle of 2 years ago when they deiced they would stop using them and instead have an everyday low price which turned out to not be very low, the chain is trying to make a comeback. Part of the JCPenney comeback is the reintroduction of coupons. But what happens if you enter the store sans coupons? Fear not my loyal JCP shopper, you can still save some money and it is as simple as finding weekly flyer as they almost always have a money saving coupon in them. Just look for them as you enter the store as well as at the checkout register. If you can’t spot a flyer just politely ask an employee and 9 times out 10 they’ll hook you up.
Ask the Reader: What retailers do you always shop at with a coupon in hand? What happens if you forget your coupon, do you A) pay full price, B) run out of the store cussing at yourself for forgetting your coupon, or C) get creative and figure out how to save some money anyways.
By Kyle James