When pictures pose a problem
When a coupon carries a declaration that it's good on any variety of a product, you'd think that explanation would be sufficient. Coupon shoppers know that while a manufacturer may show a specific variety of a product on a coupon, the text contains additional information about the different sizes, kinds and varieties of the product they may purchase using the coupon. For example, a coupon might show a particular tube of toothpaste, but the small print can explain that it is good on any variety of that particular brand — mint, cinnamon and any other flavors, too.
Scanning the coupon at the register and hearing the satisfying “beep” as your discount is applied confirms to both cashier and shopper that the coupon is valid for the item being purchased. And yet, some readers still encounter problems with cashiers who refuse to scan a coupon if the product being purchased doesn't precisely match the coupon's photo.
DEAR JILL — Help! I had a $2 coupon for any men's deodorant of a certain brand. The coupon did not say “excludes trial or travel sizes,” so I went to the travel size bins and found the same brand of deodorant. It was 97 cents, so I was looking forward to getting it free. But the cashier said “No, I won't let you use it on this size because it shows a big one in the picture.” — Connie D.
DEAR CONNIE — Rest assured that if the manufacturer wanted to prevent shoppers from using the coupon to purchase a trial or travel size of the deodorant, the coupon would have spelled out this restriction. There are plenty of coupons out there that list ounces or sizes of allowed products. If the cashier had simply scanned the coupon for your deodorant, the register would likely have allowed it.
DEAR JILL — A success story for you! I had a $1 coupon for any bottle of pomegranate juice. I picked up a $3.99 16-ounce bottle, but when I got to the checkout, the cashier said there were 8-ounce bottles on sale for a dollar. I grabbed that instead and got it free! — Marisol R.
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