Friday, January 22, 2010

Standing My Ground

Free Shopping ain't always easy, but I learned to stand my ground last night.

I started off the evening at CVS. That trip was actually pretty fine. Other than me being a doofus and misplacing a crucial coupon. I sat out in the car until I located it. Naturally, it wasn't raining when I parked. By the time I found the coupon, it was pouring. So I'll take responsibility for that one.

Rite Aid and Walgreens, not so much.

I headed to a new (to me) Rite Aid since I'm just starting to learn their system to finish purchasing enough Proctor and Gamble items to earn a $35 gift card. I had the perfect scenario planned out.

4 Nyquil - 15.96
2 Puffs - 4.98
Total - 20.94

$5 off $20
$8 Nyquil mq
$4.98 Puff mq
$2 Wellness Q

= $.96 oop.

Get back the Nyquil $1 SCR and the $20 purchase puts me over the top for the $35 P&G rebate.

Then the State of California had to go and screw up this perfect shopping trip. It would seem that in the War on Drugs, they have limited the quantities of over the counter medication a customer can buy at one time. In this case, the limit was 3 small bottles of Nyquil.

Okay, I understand that some folks are out there making what have you with the ingredients found in cold medicine. However, my coupon stated that I needed buy 2 of them to get my Puffs for free. And darn it! I want my Puffs!!

Now that I'm an inch from panicking because not only does it screw the Puffs deal, I didn't want to burn a $2 coupon on a 3rd Nyquil if I'd need it later to get my Puffs, so I had them take off the 3rd Nyquil completely which left me with a new problem. My total was now $9. It needed to be $20 before I could use the $5 off $20 coupon.

So back into the store I went. I had $11 dollars to fill with items that I had other coupons for so I could keep my out of pocket low. Since I've changed my organization method a bit, it meant that most of my current coupons were in the car and it was still pretty rainy out.

Deals were pretty hard to spot. Mostly because there weren't many. Even the clearance makeup, my old standby, was gone. I had coupons for Hefty bags, but the didn't even sell Hefty. What is that about? I thought about getting some Tide, but my coupons were in the car.

Then I remembered that I still had my $3 off 2 Pantene coupons with me that I hadn't used yet. Granted, I have tons of shampoo already, but I will eventually use it. And it was part of the P&G deal, so I went for it. Four more bottles brought my total up enough to use the $5 off $20.

After all was said and done, the replacement transaction only cost me 2 pennies more than the original so overall that was fine. It also pushed me over the top for my $35 gift card. I was a happy camper.

For two seconds.

Currently, Rite Aid has a sweepstakes going called the Game of Life. You earn game pieces with every purchase. Unless you are purchasing certain items. Then you get bonus game pieces.

After that final transaction, the cashier only handed me 1 game piece when I was supposed to get 5. She pointed to the receipt that indicated only 1 piece had been earned. I pointed to the ad that clearly indicated bonus pieces would be earned for the shampoo and that I had 4 bottles.

We stood there and went round and round about it until another manager came over. I showed him the ad and he agreed with me. And she still wouldn't give me the pieces. He explained it to her then went to check out another customer. Finally she understood that she was supposed to give me more, but not how many. He held up four fingers and she handed them over.

A totally simple shopping trip went completely awry. And the evening was not yet finished.

After Rite Aid, I went to Walgreens to do the Pepsi deal one more time. The 12 packs were on sale 5 for $15 and the 2 liters were 4 for $5. When you buy $20, you get $10 back in register rewards. Pretty good deal. Especially when combined with diabetic meters that were free after a manufacturer coupon and giving a $5 overage when stacked with a store coupon.

Even though it sounds complicated, it was a pretty simple transaction. Unfortunately, this store didn't have the meters on the floor. They were in the pharmacy. So that's where I checked out.

Neither pharmacist realized that the manufacturer coupon needed to be adjusted from $10 to $9.99 because that was the sales price of the meter. The store coupon came off fine. So did the other register rewards. The problem came at the end.

After I paid, the register reward didn't print. The pharmacist who'd helped me was already walking off. I stopped him and told him the problem. He gave me this look and said, "just for that?" Uh. Yeah. There's no reason for me to shop here otherwise. He tried to tell me the standard lie that it didn't print because I'd used register rewards to pay for the purchase.

Except, I didn't use the RR I'd gotten from the Pepsi deal when I'd done it on Sunday. That would have stopped a second from printing. He called the manager over. He tried to tell me the same thing. I pointed out the other RR that I'd gotten from doing the deal in the exact same way and he tried to ring it up again. Nothing printed.

Still, I wasn't leaving without my RR. That was the whole purpose of the trip. The manager switched to another register and rerang the transaction without the meter and the coupons. The reward printed fine. I wanted him to do everything so they could see that the coupons didn't effect the printing.

The paper actually came out a little bit from the first machine. It was just blank. Then they had to change the paper. Seriously? And you guys still think it was because of the coupons?

The manager just handed over the RR that finally printed and I left. I still have the feeling that my out of pocket was too high. I'm going to try to let it go, though. After all, I'm going to be selling all this stuff to earn money for my trip to Sweden this summer. Time to move forward with the plans and quit looking back.

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