This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure here.
Most of us see a coupon and look for two things: the product on the coupon and the value of the coupon. However, the fine print on the coupon contains information for the retailer AND the consumer (you!). It’s really helpful to understand the fine print, especially since you may find yourself having to explain it to your cashier! Here’s a breakdown of some of the more common terms:
One Per Customer
The manufacturer intended for each customer to only use one coupon per visit (or transaction). We also see coupons with limits per customer like Procter & Gamble coupons that limit 4 “like” (meaning same exact coupon) coupons per customer.
One Per Purchase
This one can be confusing. Think of each item as a purchase. If you are buying 5 bottles of shampoo at one time, that’s 5 purchases and you would be allowed to use 5 $1 off coupons if you had them. I will warn you, this is the most commonly questioned wording by a cashier.
One Per Transaction
Each time the cashier totals your order, you’ve completed one transaction. To use 5 coupons for those 5 bottles of shampoo, you’d have to go through the line 5 times. Or just not buy 5…
Some manufacturer’s coupons include wording like “redeemable at CVS.” They may even have a store logo on them. However, since these are manufacturer’s coupons and not store coupons, they can be redeemed at any store. That said… some cashiers may still reject them. My recommendation is to ask the cashier to just try to scan the coupon. A true CVS store coupon will not scan in another store since their register wouldn’t know how to read it. A true manufacturer’s coupon will work just fine.
Redeemable Only At
If you spot the world “only at” on any manufacturer coupon, then these coupons should be used only at the store whose name is printed on the coupon. If you use them at any other store, it’s likely that the store won’t be reimbursed for the coupon.
The Picture vs. The Description
Sometimes you’ll notice the picture on the coupon is for a specific item, but the wording indicates otherwise. For example, “$1 off any Cheerios” with a photo of Frosted Cheerios. The photo will often feature the most expensive or newest product that the manufacturer is hoping you’ll buy. Remember, the wording is what matters, not the photo.
Understanding all of these terms is really only the first step, if you have a cashier that is not accepting a coupon I would recommend first to get them to try it. If they won’t scan the coupon at all, you can try to explain the correct answer to them, but many times they won’t care. In the end don’t argue, yell, etc. just tell them kindly that you want the coupon back and do not want to buy the product. I would like to hope for most of us that with the GS1 databar we will see less cashier difficulties, but it will take time for the cashier to learn that you aren’t out to get them.
To learn even more, check out the FREE online coupon class and complete workbook.