10 Retailers Whose Coupon Exclusions Allow You To Buy, Well…Very Little

Updated August 10, 2020 by Kyle

Have you ever entered a coupon code when checking out at an online retailer only to be foiled be some ridiculous coupon exclusions? Pretty dang frustrating, especially when you click on the exclusions and you’re taken to a list that makes War & Peace look like a fun weekend read.

Often times the coupon exclusions are brand specific as some companies do not want to be considered discounted brands. Other times the exclusions are product based like Office Max excluding all technology items. Whatever the case may be, as shoppers and coupon users, it can be really annoying when you go through the work to find the best price (with a coupon to boot) and have it all be to no avail because what you’re buying is excluded.

10 Retailers Whose Coupon Exclusions Allow You To Buy Very Little

With that in mind, I have broken down the 10 longest coupon exclusion lists so you can be a more informed coupon user from this point forward.

Guitar Center

At first glance the coupon exclusions at Guitar Center.com make it seem like you can’t buy ANYTHING, let alone a guitar, and get a discount. I dug a little deeper and discovered a cool tip that can serve as a work-around to this long list of brands.

  • First, here are the top guitar brands excluded from their coupon offers: Gibson, Yamaha, Martin, Taylor, Fender, Ibanez, Epiphone, and Jackson.
  • These exclusions were so vast that I started digging a little deeper to see what the deal was and that’s when I found this interesting Consumerist article. Turns out that Guitar Center has some wiggle room in price for almost all brands. Just hit up a Guitar Center Live Chat rep and negotiate the price with them. It appears the only guitars which they can’t lower the price on are those which are already discounted. Using live chat to score a deal is always worth trying, no matter the online retailer.


The coupon exclusions at Petco.com are quite random and include mainly heavy items like cat and dog litter (what the heck is dog litter?), aquarium rocks and gravel, and live crickets which are not heavy but an odd thing to drop in the mail.

  • It is nice to see that given the exclusion of heavy items like cat litter, dog and cat food is not excluded from coupons at Petco.
  • The last sentence of “Additional exclusions may apply” is a bit troublesome and leaves the door open for darn near anything.


I wonder if it would have been easier to list the actual products from Macy’s that allow you to use a coupon? I’m guessing the list might be shorter. Here is the skinny:

  • Top brands that are excluded from online coupon usage: All-Clad, Dyson, Armani, Hugo Boss, Born, Helly Hansen, Levi’s, Michael Kors, Merrell, The North Face, and Steve Madden shoes.
  • It’s pretty obvious that if you have a Macy’s coupon that you can use online or in-store, you’ll want to take it into your local Macy’s as the in-store exclusions are much less. In-store exclusions appear to mainly be on items that are already on sale or are limited time deals.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Similar to Sports Authority, the folks at Dick’s Sporting Goods also have a big old list of coupon exclusions. Here is what you need to know:

  • I actually think it would be easier to list the top brands not on their coupon exclusion list. Shop away and save money with these brands: Nike, CamelBak, Easton, Adidas, Wilson, Rawlings, Merrell, Timberland, New Balance, Crocs, and Keen.
  • Also, if you walk into Dick’s without a coupon be sure to ask an associate if they have one for you to take advantage of. They are known to help out if they can. Check out my post Forgot your Coupon? These Retailers Still Got your Back for all the details.

Office Max

Office Max does a great job of making you read through all of the boiler plate to figure out what the heck is actually excluded from their coupons. Here is how it breaks down:

  • The main thing that is excluded is technology products. Pretty much anything that plugs into the wall. Exclusions includes laptops, desktops, printers, monitors, TV’s, fax machines, copiers, cash registers, etc.
  • Also excludes in-store purchases of office furniture, filing cabinets and the like. Fortunately it does not exclude your standard office supplies like paper, envelopes, pens, pencils, etc.


These days JCPenney also has some decent online and in-store coupon offerings. I’d have no problem updating their coupons to “great” status if it weren’t for their brand specific exclusions.

  • Top brands excluded from JCPenney coupons include the following: Nike, Levi’s, Royal Doulton, Hunter Douglas, Disney, Sephora, and Converse.
  • Things then get a little more general with the exclusion of these products: Kitchen (all kitchen products?), baby gear, floorcare items, food items, and in-home custom decorating services. I’m guessing if you can afford in-home decorating services you aren’t much of a couponer anyways.

Sierra Trading Post

I love the monthly coupons at Sierra Trading Post.com and they can typically save you 25% off your entire order. But like many good coupons they have some exclusions.

  • The coupon exclusion list at STP is pretty darn random. The one that sticks out is “Clearance” items as that will limit your savings to regular-priced items only.
  • I was extremely disappointed to see the “Saeco Odea Espresso Machine” on the list as it’s the only reason I would shop at an outdoor gear website like Sierra Trading Post. WTH. In case you were curious I’m going to be stuck paying the full-price of $489.95.


The coupon exclusion list at Golfsmith is fairly long and excludes some fairly popular gold brands like Titleist, Ping, and Mizuno.

  • I think the most helpful thing is to list the popular golf brands that allow you to use a Golfsmith coupon. They include the following: Cleveland, Cobra, Adams, Maxfli, and Adidas.
  • Top brands like Callaway, Nike, TaylorMade, Odyssey, and Bridgestone have some restrictions on specific products.


The folks at Staples recently gave me a coupon for 20% off your order and I was disappointed when I saw the list of exclusions. Here is my take:

  • Similar to Office Max, the coupon exclusions at Staples include tech products and computers. Brands include Apple, Chromebook, Bose, Amazon Kindle, Nook, HP, Keurig, Epson, printers, fax machines, copiers.
  • Unlike Office Max, Staples coupons can be used on office furniture like chairs, desks, filing cabinets, and the like.
  • Also, their coupons are valid on clearance items which will help you maximize your savings.

Ask the Reader: Have you ever been stoked to use a coupon only to find out what you’re buying is excluded? Did you go postal like I typically do or find other ways to save money on the item?

By Kyle James


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
DC @ Young Adult Money

Haha oh my gosh the Guitar Center one is so ridiculous!

Money Beagle

This can backfire on the store. Two times in the past two years we used a Dick’s coupon. I’m pretty sure it was on items that were both ‘excluded’, but the cashier took a look at the coupon, saw the fine print, decided that they didn’t want to figure it out, and entered in the discount.

So, the moral of the story, is you might want to give it a shot regardless of what the coupon says.


Ugh, I hate when the list of exclusions is a mile long. Who has time to read through that? And what’s the point of even putting the coupon out in the first place?


I’ve had the same experience as Money Beagle at Hibbet, (Hibbit?). I have used coupons for Nike or Under Armour when it says it’s excluded. I had one cashier who denied me, but most of the other ones don’t even look.


I have experienced this with the Ulta coupons also.


You might want to update the Dick’s Sporting Goods coupon. Not only are there far less exclusions listed, but in all reality, the company actually overrides the coupon to ensure the savings and eats the discount.

Please be aware and note that the Exclusions are listed for the sake of the manufactures not wanting their brands discounted. It has nothing to do with the retailer itself.


Kohl’s would be better off just telling me what I COULD buy