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Ask DSM Readers: Keeping Track of Scanned Coupons

by Tara Kuczykowski on July 1, 2010 · 74 comments

Grocery Shopping

Every week I'll pose a question for you to share your experiences and tips. If you have a question that you'd like me to post, I'd love to hear from you!

On the Deal Seeking Mom Facebook page, Janet asked:

I'd love to know how you keep track of "scanned" coupons! I'm finding more and more coupons were not scanned at the store, but of course [not until] I get home! I just realized that $6 of q's were not given to me at Meijers today I really thought I was watching the cashier!!! I need a better system to follow.

I know I have trouble with this too, especially when I'm trying to keep track of five kids while watching to make sure everything rings up properly. And some stores' receipts (ahem...Target) are nearly impossible to decipher after the fact.

So do you have a system for making sure that all of your coupons are properly scanned? How do you check them? What do you do if you discover that one wasn't scanned?

Join the discussion -- add your two cents to previous Ask DSM Readers questions too!

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tom July 2, 2010 at 10:43 am

re Wal-Mart Neighborhood Stores: learned (the hard way) that when the cashier is confronted with a $1.00 coupon they must scan it (like any other coupon it will beep) but then they must press enter into the keyboard to verify that the coupon is really a $1.00 coupon rather than a .10c coupon before the $1.00 is deducted from the running total. So if you just hear a beep it doesn't mean that the coupon was deducted. On that trip I had 6 $1.00 coupons for 6 of the same items but found that only 2 took, a $1.50 coupon was rung up at .50c and 2 of 3 .50c coupons actually took. So out of 10 items with related coupons the cashier messed up 6. As I calmly explained her errors and explained how to handle the "verification" process for the $1.00 coupons, she retrieved the missing coupons from TWO different locations. I suspect she was from the one-for-you and one-for-me theory of cashiering. If this sort of things happen on a 10 item order that is as easy to follow as it comes, imagine what they can get away with on a large order and they do seem to know that. (So, if you have a"good" coupon for something they like there is a better than even chance that your coupon will get lost.) But when we finally got it right I did end up with a bag full of 10 items for an out-of-pocket of $1.37. (So count the $$ (if there are $9 worth of coupons there should be a $9 deduction or there is going to be an audit at the register. lol)


2 Brian July 3, 2010 at 12:02 am

As I am getting ready to check out, I will count my coupons (sometimes adding them) and when I get my reciept will double check and see if the number I had was the number of coupons deducted.


3 Dona July 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm

This probably sounds like a lot of work, but so is finding the coupons and the sales in the first place! As I shop, I have a list (on a clipboard) that I write down the price of each item and beforehand have written in my coupon amount. When I have finished shopping, I find a quite place in the store and add up my items (including sales tax where applicable) and then deduct my coupons. I know exactly how much I am paying before I get to the register. I lay my clipboard on the counter as I am watching the cashier scan each coupon. It is a lot of trouble but I haven't had a cashier "loose" any coupons since I started this approach. It is more work and I don't expect everyone to do this, but I was so frustrated when I would get home and realize all of my coupons had not scanned. :)


4 Jenelle July 6, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Ugh! Target! I just left from there and I could not read the receipt! I was checking because the price seemed off and the cashier definetly lost / did not scan in my $4 off airwick coupon which was the whole point of my trip!

My strategy in keeping track of coupons is to go over the prices before I go find out what the oop will be. Then I make sure I count how many coupons I will be using and be sure to check the receipt and make sure this is what was used.


5 carrie July 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm

at target i have noticed that if it's a target coupon the value with not show up on the screen but a normal mgnft. coupon with show the amount off. On the receipt : when using the target coupon it will show the discounted price to the far right and coupon amount off under the item. If it's a mgnft. coupon the discount will show at the bottom.


6 Marlene July 10, 2010 at 9:12 am

Even though this may seem quite annoying to cashiers I always hand over coupons one by one. Especially at Target.


7 Dina July 11, 2010 at 11:55 pm

I've actually laid my coupons out on a shelf and taken a picture with my camera phone to match them up later at home. Usually I just count how many I give the cashier and check the receipt to make sure that many were scanned. Just the other day I almost lost 3 $1+ Qs because I think they stuck together. For the first time I checked before I left the line and saw they hadn't scanned. I was in a hurry so I just asked for them back. I don't mind so much most of the time if they don't get scanned, I just don't want to lose them.


8 Lisa July 21, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I tried couponing at Target for the first time two days ago and could not believe how hard it was to read the receipt. I also wondered if all of my coupons were scanned, but had a really hard time figuring it out from the receipt. From now on I will start adding it all up before checking out.


9 Dani August 10, 2010 at 11:53 pm

I'm so happy to see these posts!

I feel as though some of the checkers at Target are actively attempting to cheat me. Many times I have found that some of my coupons were not scanned and when I mention it, the unscanned coupons are retrieved from some random place. Now I watch like a hawk--and still sometimes miss the shenanigans. I've caught checkers just putting the coupons to the side of the register if they beep (instead of entering the info the register wants) and dropping some coupons on the register ledge and not picking them up (at least during the transaction).


10 Lisa August 26, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with concerns about Target. I too have encountered the butter-fingers cashier who drops more than she keys in. Sooo frustrating!


11 Michelle November 6, 2010 at 11:13 am

It is frustrating! Like others, I will do a quick ad before I get to the register. At Tom Thumb last week, there were multiple errors. I went to the Customer Service Desk with my receipt, showed the error to the clerk & she refunded the money. I've done this MULTIPLE times at Wal-Mart, too. I've been having trouble with them getting the advertised sale price correct, compounded by a coupon.


12 krupa January 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm

A bit of advice for future Target trips from an ex Target employee...

If the check out lanes are super busy do not wait in those line because that is when they call us over the annoying walkies to come help check out and the people that come to help have most likely been trained on the register in a matter of an hour on their first day. They probably work the registers 3-4 times a month and during those times they probably complete one or two transactions.

Just a tip to maybe prevent Target from stealing coupons!



13 Carolyn February 3, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I always hand over the coupons one by one and watch the register to make sure the amount is taken off of my bill for each one.


14 Kim August 24, 2012 at 6:00 am

I love the self-service checkouts.

I process 5-10 items at a time, finish transaction, and begin again.


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