"If a coupon says "do not double or triple" on it, will it not triple if I take it to Bloom today? I'm trying to plan out my first big triple coupon shopping trip(s). Also, if I have two coupons for, say Pillsbury breads and I want to buy 2 do I need to do 2 transactions or can I use both in the same transaction? If I do need to do 2 transactions, should I stand in line twice or separate out my stuff and ask the cashier nicely to do two transactions?"
Let's go through these, keeping in mind that Bloom typically triples all coupons up to $0.99 in value, limited to 20 coupons of any type per transaction.
If a coupon says "do not double or triple" on it, will it not triple if I take it to Bloom today?
Check out the bar code number on your coupon. The first (separated) digit will be either a 5 or a 9. If your coupon has a 5 on it but says, "Does not double" or some variant, you should know that it should automatically double or triple when scanned. In fact, it would take the cashier approximately 5-10 seconds to correct the computer via a series of entries, so most cashiers do not elect to make a fuss about "5"-labeled coupons that say, "Do not double" - and in fact in our experience we have never had a cashier correct a "Do not double/5" coupon that scanned and doubled automatically. However, note that if your coupon has a 9 as its first digit (whether or not it says "Do not double" or some variant) it will definitely not double or triple. This applies to any stores that do doubling, like Giant, Safeway, Shopper's Food Warehouse, Harris Teeter, and so on.
Remember, though, that there is always the very miniscule chance that a cashier may elect to take the time and correct your "Do not double/5" coupons back to the single-time discount.
Also, if I have two coupons for, say Pillsbury breads and I want to buy 2 do I need to do 2 transactions or can I use both in the same transaction? If I do need to do 2 transactions, should I stand in line twice or separate out my stuff and ask the cashier nicely to do two transactions?
In the past, we have gone through Bloom checkout with up to 4 same coupons for the same items, with no fuss. However, to avoid any trouble, if you already know that you're going to make more than one trip, go ahead and split up your copies of a given coupon, just so you're not acquiring 246 cans of Ragu in one go (though several of something in one transaction really isn't a big deal). This strategy also is a winner for your fellow couponers courtesy-wise, because you don't end up cleaning out a shelf in one go, giving others the chance to get the discounts.
We have heard about folks doing consecutive transactions at one go with cooperative (thank you!) cashiers, but we don't recommend trying this at a busy time - like Saturday mornings, or 4-7 p.m. on weeknights. In other words, if you think that you'd like to try multiple transactions in one trip, try to do so during a lower-customer-volume time frame. This way, no one has to wait longer behind you in line, and the cashier doesn't feel pressure to get the line going.
Another way to strategize it is like this: if you have a bunch of a single coupon, but the expiration date is 2-3+ months off, and your deal with the coupon isn't on a weekly sale price, you could always use a few this time around, and wait for the next doubling/tripling round of deals to come! This is especially useful if the coupons are for some refrigerated product that is hard to freeze or otherwise preserve.
Once, A. asked the cashier at a Bloom if she could use more than one copy of a Pepsi 20-oz. coupon that she had from a tearpad (from another store). The cashier called the manager over to answer the question, and he said that the managers are getting increasingly wary of multiple Internet coupons because fraud is rife within the Internet printable coupon system - and thus managers and cashiers are hesitant to accept multiple copies because there is less and less chance of the stores being reimbursed by the manufacturer (he was nice enough to let me use two coupons anyway). Of course, A.'s question was about black-and-white tearpad coupons - which should not have mattered under the manager's argument, but the experience still brought to light four principles:
- Internet printable coupon fraud ruins it for everyone, so keep your coupon printing honest, please, folks, and respect the print limits per computer!
- As far as it is possible (and to not call negative attention to yourself in your own local stores) - avoid massive "hoarding" trips. Split into multiple transactions or save some for future deal-running.
- If you're using Internet printables, moderation is key. Two of a given coupon per transaction may be a good rule of thumb.
- Remain unfailingly polite and gracious to cashiers and managers when checking out and/or asking about coupon policy. In an ideal world, coupon fraud and suspicion wouldn't even be a part of the dynamic, but a cheerful, honest disposition goes a long way to representing the couponing community well and sustaining our chances for future deals! Remember that your reputation (and the reputation of fellow couponers in general) is not worth sacrificing for those frozen waffles! :)