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I had a few extra minutes on my hands one evening and sat down to skim through Instagram. I stumbled across a few couponing pictures and clicked on a few hashtags. Within a few minutes I found a place that could be amazing to help people save money, but instead it was stream of pictures filled with greed, fraud and and whole lot of other things.
As folks found an awesome deal they shared their pictures of clearing the shelves, or if they found a glitch (read: a deal that is ringing up amazing but is incorrect) they shared their haul with the note “don’t tag the stores” “don’t ruin this for everyone” the one that caught me by surprise “it only takes one person to ruin it”.
This is where I stopped. Yes whoever you are, you are right. It does only take one person to ruin it for everyone else, but you are so misguided you can’t see that it’s you. The Instagram coupon world was ablaze over some lady that told a store about a glitch allowing people to get hundreds of dollars in free products from Macy’s. Seriously people, because the deal may work at the register and you walk out of the store doesn’t mean you didn’t just steal. It’s still wrong whether the register let you do it or not.
This same issue holds true in the grocery world. Last night I got an email from a fellow Southern Saver and Publix cashier. I want to share her story with you:
“I have worked for Publix for the past 6 years full time, but am fairly new as a cashier. I so wish someone would talk about coupon ethics for tonight I was “hoodwinked” by a young mother who seemed so normal and sweet. My line was backed up and I couldn’t get my department manager’s attention when this young mother gave me a Smart Source coupon for $9.00 off Tide detergent. At first I thought, “If this is a scam it will not scan” but it did. When I tried to get my department manager’s attention, he had gone to another cashier and no other managers were around. At Publix we try to do our best for the customer. When I queried the young mother about the coupon I was informed that she normally does not shop at Publix but was in the area, etc. Then, she told me that a co-worker had given her the coupon.
Now, I have been disciplined and the coupon she gave me hangs on the bulletin board by the time clock. We cannot take coupons with a value of over $5 without manager approval. Her coupon was fraudulent and I am now counseled with fear losing my job. When people present fraudulent coupons they jeopardize an honest cashier’s job!”
Sadly even in sharing the story, I know there are folks who think “I don’t care if the coupon is fraudulent, where is it? I want it”. Is it really worth it folks? In the end this one shopper had three effects. This particular store just created another rule that shoppers will have to get used to, waiting for manager approval on high value coupons. They are also on a higher alert with coupons in general, as you would be if someone recently robbed your house. And lastly you took someone that is working hard and almost made her lose her job.
This isn’t the first email I’ve gotten like this. Not even the first this week. Three Rite Aid cashiers lost their jobs in a store across town last week for pushing through coupons that customers demanded they key in. Honestly, it’s no wonder many cashiers do hate couponers.
After 7 years of couponing, let me tell you something… you can save a ton of money and play by the rules. If a coupon seems to good to be true.. it is. Making copies of coupons, using a coupon for something it’s not for… all of this is fraud.
Head over and read an article I wrote on spotting fraudulent coupons. Sometimes we may do something never knowing that we were wrong, so educate your self and try harder next time to do the right thing.