Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Coupon Ethics Discussion

As we delve deeper into the world of coupons, we run into more and more


There is plenty of money to be saved and a plethora of deals to be had, all without crossing the line or being a dishonest couponer. No one wants to compromise their integrity all for an extra $0.50 off a bottle of dishsoap!
The purpose of this post is to make you aware of some of the gray areas and allow you to hear each others' opinions on these topics.
  • Buying Coupons Online: Technical illegal to sell and "void if transferred", but WIDELY held to be acceptable.
    My Opinion: I buy coupons online often.
  • Peelie Stealer: Taking a peelie for your binder? Taking a peelie off one sized product to use on a smaller size product (still allowed by coupon)?
    My Opinion: I use peelies on smaller size of same product.
  • Returning Items purchased with coupons: What if you buy 4 deodorants for your husband and you take them home and he hates them. What to do with the other 3? Is it okay to return items purchased with coupons?
    My Opinion: NEVER okay to buy with intent to return. If you have a legitimate reason to make a return, I'm not so sure. I returned items purchased with coupons when I was new, but now I try to buy carefully so as not to ever have to return items. My opinion is there are still exceptions: I had a case of All laundry detergent purchased with coupons and I just got a new washer/dryer that requires high efficiency detergent. I took my unopened detergent to the store and did a return/exchange for the different variety of detergent. The bottom line is, once you purchase an item and use a coupon- the store submits the coupon and the reimbursement process begins. If you take your receipt to return the item, they can clearly see you paid with a coupon, but they can't give you the coupon back- so that coupons becomes as good as cash.
    My opinion: Purchasing with intent to return= fraud. Otherwise, if you have to make a return, tell the store you purchased with coupon and let them sort out how they want to refund you.
  • Using Expired Coupons: This one has some gray within gray, how expired is it? I am sure I have used a coupon without realizing it's expired, but it's not something I will ever knowingly do.
    My Opinion: Bad, don't do it!
  • BarCode Decoding: Learning how a cash register reads a coupon in order to sneak coupons past the register by using them for products for which they were not intended. There is value in learning about barcodes as long as your knowledge is used correctly. Decoders justify their actions by insisting the stores will be reimbursed anyway.
    My opinion: BLACK- this is not okay!
  • Photocopying Coupons: Actually an easy mistake for a new or uneducated coupon lady, but this is illegal!
    My opinion: BLACK- Don't do it!
  • Making and selling fraudulent Coupons: Have a nice life- in jail!
Have an opinion or another gray area to discuss, like tearpads, etc? Leave a comment. Please keep comments & responses toward each other respectful.

60 comments:

amyandbobjohnson said...

Waht about pdf coupons? How to decide if we should print/use them?

Joanie Demer said...

Great question!! When I find a pdf or a reader emails us a pdf, I go to the site of the manufacturer. If I can navigate myself to the pdf coupon, then I'll print it. If I cannot access the pdf in any other way, I will not print. Many pdfs are meant for one individual, through an email or for redeeming rewards points or even playing a sweepstakes-style game on the manufacturer's website. Always be leery of pdfs. If you can access it through the manufacturers site, when you print, don't clip the coupon. Stores don't like to accept pdfs. If you have the entire sheet of paper with the url of the site you printed from, it might convince the store to take your coupon.

Idaho Lucas Fam said...

I have a question about buying coupons. Where are the people who sell the coupons, getting them? I understand the whole things about me paying them for their time and effort and not the actual coupons, but I wonder how they are acquiring that many coupons. Are they doing it legally and ethically?

sharlaprior said...

Ok, so what about using a coupons that is for diapers, to buy baby wipes insted? The codes match but the coupon says for diapers. Is that bad?

Declutter Your Life said...

Thanks for the post! I've wondered about these areas before.

makana bahama mama said...

I have to say that I don't agree with selling coupons online. They clearly state "void is sold...". That seems pretty clear to me. Most of the pdf are meant to be used as "per household".
I agree there is a lot of gray area when it comes to couponing but I also feel that .50 or even $3 or $1,000,000 is not worth me being totally honest with myself and others. If in doubt, its probably not OK.
This was a great post and it addressed some questions that my readers had as well. Keep it up!

Heather said...

The WORST one that gets to me is STEALING the coupons out of the newspapers in the machines and off lawns. I can't even count how many papers I've bought with coupons mysteriously GONE! Who does that?! So tacky.

Marie said...

What about the ethics behind using someone else's zip code to get coupons that aren't meant to be available in your area?

I have seen a lot of sites lately talking about coupons available only in a certain zip code (and actually giving out the zip code) so that others can obtain the same coupon. I feel like that is pretty dishonest. Any other people who feel the same?

jenny said...

I'm with Marie. I've seen that a lot lately too and I think it's kind of sketchy.

sharlaprior said...

So if I have a coupon for huggies diapers, is it ok to use it on huggies wipes? I am still a bit new to all of this...

Joanie Demer said...

Marie and Jenny,

I can't believe I forgot to add that one to the post. That's what got me started thinking about all of this in the first place! There was some discussion about this on Heather's Rite Aid post on Sunday.
We post the zips on KCL so people can know what's available nationwide. It's of course, your decision whether or not to print after entering another zip code.
Some coupons, like the dairy ones, specify states in which they are valid.
One KCL reader compared printing coupons outside you zip to buying coupons on Ebay or thecouponclippers which you did not receive in your area. I think this is the best point I've heard.
Definitely a gray area for sure! Haven't planted my feet firmly in either camp just yet.

Joanie Demer said...

Sharlaprior,
The answer is "no"; you must use the coupon as it states on diapers. Another coupon you'll run in to is: huggies "bath and body" item. These coupons, I think, you can reasonably assume are intended to be used on something like wipes.
The item doesn't need to be pictured on the coupon, but it does need to abide by the wording on the coupon. Thanks for asking!

sharlaprior said...

That's good to know. Thank you so much for clarifying. I am so glad that this topic was addressed. I couldn't live with the guilt if I were doing something I knew to be dishonest and I can't settle for ignorance. Thanks ladies!

Jen said...

thanks for this post Joanie! I loved the part where you said "have a nice life in jail!" Hilarious!!!

Niki said...

I feel that using a coupon from a different Zip code is okay and I would hope that the sites continue to offer them. I come to this conclusion this way:
Most coupons printed will not be used, it's the law of statistics, so I don't think the manufacturer is "out" anything if I print something from a different Zip code and use it...they got my money, my coupon, and the store will reorder the product.
Also, there are coupons that are exclusive, and I feel that if the manufacturer wanted to be that specific, they would print something like "Coupon only valid in California, Washington, and Oregon"...I have seen coupons list things like that.
Otherwise, I think the manufacturer may just be PUSHING that product in that area, perhaps already selling a boatload of it elsewhere and they want more buyer turnout in certain areas.
Interested in what others think about this.

the screwface shabba said...

On your Albertson's post there are a few people talking about the buy four general mills products and receiving milk, eggs, and bread (up to $4.00) for free. Some were saying that they only bought two of the items, only bread ect.. or not even buying the products at all and getting the $4.00 off. I know that the employees at my Albertson's say that you don't have to buy all three to make the computer take off the $4.00 but it was intended for you to do so. I was just wondering what your opinion is on doing this?

jennym said...

Okay, so it never occurred to me that if I have Huggies coupons that specify Pure and Natural diapers, I shouldn't use them on regular Huggies. I actually started doing that during the last mega sale on diapers at Walgreens...after a very helpful employee suggested I just apply the coupon to a similar product because the Pure & Naturals were gone. Now I'm really going to have to think about this...

As far as buying coupons online...I can't figure out why anyone would steal the tearpads from stores and sell them on ebay. They can't really be making any money, right? I do buy from thecouponclippers if it's something I can't get here or something I want to buy in larger quantity than the 6 papers I already buy.

Two other questions:
What about taking coupons from the newspapers in coffee shops/restaurants?
What about searching for coupon codes (via Google) when you're buying something online?

Terry said...

on the Albertsons ? about the free eggs/milk/bread (which I did twice, getting the eggs/milk/bread) - I wondered if I didnt really want them - I still get $4 off and the store keeps their product and can sell it, instead of me taking it? I really just wanted the milk and eggs, so they could've kept the bread - but I am a "rule follower" ;-) so, I got the bread as well. With the zipcode thing, I think I'm against it - but would love to hear from a company, what they think about it. It may not be a big deal, but until I know for sure, I wont do that.

Nina said...

Okay so now I am really confused. I have just started this coupon thing a few weeks ago but based on the response I got from my post on the Albertsons issue I have done something very bad in the coupon world. I feel like I was attacked by others on here for doubling a 2.50 up to the 3.50 amount (2.50+1.00 for the double) and was told that I shouldn't even be doubling any type of a coupon that is over 1.01 but as I scanned the previous pages of the KCL posts I noticed that when you given suggestions on doubles there are several coupons listed that are over the 1.01. The original coupon I doubled was the Quantum Tabs which I believe was in an older post to double during a promo that Albies was doing unfortunately I coulnd't find it today. So I guess my question is Can you double a coupon over 1.01 or not?

Neva said...

I agree with KCL on most of these things except for the peelie one. I think the peelie on a product is intended for the buyer of the product, not for someone to take it off and use it on something else. That's just my opinion, though.

Jennifer said...

the zip code one? Doesn't bother me at all. the peelie one does kind of bother me. If its stuck to certain product its MEANT for THAT product. I hate to go to the store and see where people have taken peelies (the Roman bread lately). Tear pad stealers bother me too. Its fine to take a few, but to take 20 or the whole pad?! grrr!

Lady Thought said...

Another 'doubler' dilemma...I have heard ladies dish on which Albertson's will let you double one that says 'do not double', yet the corporate policy is not to do it at all.

I've done it in the past, as a confused newbie but decided that it is unethical to undermine the corporate policy and basic rules the manufacturers have set out and will not do it anymore. I figure if we all play by the rules the manufactures will be more likely to continue to offer this to us.

Lady Thought said...

Marie: About the zip codes on coupons...after much thought I have decided that I will only enter zip codes that a)I live in or b)work in OR c)an immediate family member lives in. I figure that if my mom could print it and give it to me I can cut out the middleman, but I won't go 'zip code fishing', for sure.

darlenecoupon said...

Really a great topic, Joanie!

Here is my take on a few of these topics. Please take all with a grain of salt -- just a personal take on how to walk the coupon line when shopping.

The basic rule: follow what the coupon says.

If it says DND, the don't double it. It doesn't matter what the store allows, follow the coupon.

If it says it's for body wash or diapers or tortillas, then that's only what it's meant to be used on.

If the coupon doesn't have a limitation on what state it can be used in (using a different zip code to print it), then there isn't a limit set by the manufacturer.

If you buy coupons off Ebay, then you're okay to use them. Ebay isn't going to risk it's business by allowing nefarious enterprises to sell through it. You may think this a grey area, but really you're just adding cost to the items you're trying to get a bargain on. That's why I don't do it. I like my coupons to be free.

Albs says it will double up to a $1 mfg. coupon. That's it folks. If the coupon is over $1, then you shouldn't try to double it. Sorry.

If the promo requires you to buy 6 what-its and 5 whose-its, then that's what you buy. Trying to get around it -- and telling others how, jeez! -- that's fraud. No way to shade that from black to gray. Sorry.

We've all had clerks get sales wrong, store computers allow stuff it shouldn't, and been tempted to skate the moral compass we were raised with. If you get that ticklish cramp in your stomach when you are about to use a coupon...then you probably shouldn't be using it. Listen to your gut.

If you want to be 100% sure, ASK THE STORE'S CUSTOMER SERVICE (CS) BEFORE YOU USE THE COUPON. If they give you a pass, then you're golden. If they say they won't allow it, then you know that too. Many times my first stop in the store is the CS counter to get clarification on a coupon or how I want to handle a sale.

Good luck all! Hope the coupon fates bring you many great deals!

The Barkers said...

If Albertsons wanted you to have a $2.50 coupon,and wanted to just double up to a dollar,that their computers systems would do just that. So they clearly don't want to,in any way,double a coupon that is higher than $1.00. I think that one is simple. As far as the "do not double" I think the cashiers may be confused on how that works and are just simply going by what the coupon says to be safe. Which I am totally fine with. Though I think it should be ok as long as the manufacturer isn't out anything. Which they are not. To be honest, I would imagine I may be a bit confused if I were a cashier and didn't know much about coupons,other than what is stated. Zip codes,I think we may be looking too much into that? I don't think we should go out of our way to "see" what we can find in other zip codes. If I print things here, visit a friend in Utah who was not offered the same printable,I will still use it in that state if I find a deal,even though it wasn't meant for that area. That may not be the same thing but I have yet to find a BIG deal with it. I don't remember the ladies saying anything about doubling the electrosal??? Maybe it was mis read? Maybe I read the comment wrong! ha! I think if in doubt,ask. IF it feels wrong,don't do it! We have basically just cut coupons,matched them up with sales and promos to get an even better deal. Period. I little work and basic math and we are getting tp for .10. No biggie. Online coupons I have never really thought about it! I assume they legally get a hold of these coupons, and we are paying them for their time. That is how I like to think of it. Keeping it simple is always safe! I have my husband go in line behind me to do a transaction when there is a great deal. The coupon says per family,yet I do not feel guilty. I buy things in moderation and that is how I justify having a family member in line behind me. The point in that comment was I think you can find something wrong with a lot of things! As long as we are honest and not benefiting from someones loss and ask questions I think we will do just fine!

WINK AND WHIMSEY said...

I get so upset when I go to the store and see that all of the peelies have been taken off. Or the tearpads are allgone. This is the reason why stores are changing all of their coupon policies. At this rate if this keeps up we will no longer be able to save like we have before. Let's just say that I am becoming very discouraged from couponing. I go to the store nothings there, the stores pull promotions because of all the dishonesty going on. I thought that having couponing ethics was important, but apparently I was wrong. I am from Utah and I think couponing has gotten way out of hand. That is why the stores here are changing their policies.

Keri Lyn @ She Saved said...

What a GREAT debate... that could be endless...but I love the topic. I am against buying/selling coupons because I think it will ultimately cause the end of couponing as we know and love. I think it is abuse of a manufacturers intent for coupon use. I am with Heather and am appauled at paper snatchers ... the WORST.
oh this debate could go on and on...but for me personally, I have found peace in couponing in moderation...and I have found JOY from getting great deal(s) when I am getting them the way I know the manufacturer intends me to. I decided quite a long time ago that the little feeling in my gut telling me that I was "getting away with something" was too annoying to live with ...
and since I have decided that couponing/saving money is not only a lifestyle, but a hobby that I enjoy, I have found that playing by the rules suits me best.
(and SHARING deals... that part rocks too!...so thanks!)

Gosh this is such exciting conversation (who knew, right?)... I think it is great for everyone to get their thoughts out!

Joanie Demer said...

Idaho Lucas Family said, "Where are the people who sell the coupons, getting them? "

Good question and I don't have an answer. I always assumed they had an "in" with their local newspaper or a massive distributor. I have no idea about the big ones like couponclippers. We should email them and ask! When you buy a tearpad coupon, you know you're buying from a sleaze bag. (okay, I'm kidding, but you likely are buying from someone that stole it from the store)


MakanaBahamamama said, "I have to say that I don't agree with selling coupons online. They clearly state "void if sold...".

True, true. . .
I guess we can always subscribe to a paper out of our area via mail. That'd be more expensive than buying the coupons. I totally respect your opinion though; thanks for sharing!

Heather said, The WORST one that gets to me is STEALING the coupons out of the newspapers in the machines and off lawns.

Ooooh, who could really do that?! One word- Karma


Niki guessed why manufacturers put out certain coupons in certain areas,

My guess is they're either testing out the coupons in a smaller market or they release larger coupons in parts of the country that do not double, and smaller ones in states that have stores that always double up to $0.50.

Screwface Shabba (that name kills me) asked if an Albs promo says Spend X, save X on milk, is it okay to take the savings without buying the milk?
I'm inclined to say you've got to buy the milk. . . but I would just be certain to talk to your store. I do love those promos and sure wouldn't want them to go away!


Nina,
Albertsons doublers have always been for coupons $1.00 and under. If you made an honest mistake, then that's all it is- a mistake. I made plenty of them and still make some! I'm sorry you felt attacked and I'm sorry if our posts weren't clearer.

Neva,
I'm sorry if I've been your peelie stealer! FORGIVE ME!!

Did I get all the questions? Hope so. Thanks for your input!

Joanie Demer said...

We got an email asking about coupons written in Spanish. Can we use them?

My answer, heck yeah! As long as they are valid in the US, obviously then I think you should totally use them! I would love any non-english speakers to use english coupons, so why not have an english speaker use a spanish coupon. We're all shopping in America!
Buena Suerte!

Jessica @ Alaska's Best Grocery Deals said...

Hi Joanie,
I just wanted to thank you so much for doing this post. I live in Alaska where we get VERY few coupons in even our biggest paper. I spent months being very frustrated about this because our grocery prices are soooo high to begin with. Then I found a lifesaver in a lady in Florida who sells whole inserts. Now that I run my own blog I would love to be able to offer these same inserts to my readers but I am a little leary of the whole fraud thing. Should I be...I have had some intrest in it and I have explained to my readers that they would be buying my time and shipping not the inserts. What about the whole "void if transferred thing"? What exactly does that mean? Thanks for any help you can offer.

AliSmith13 said...

Boy, oh boy, where to start with this one...

I have to say that I am in pretty much total agreement with darlenecoupon. Follow the rules, plain and simple. If your gut tells you something isn't right, then trust it!

It is so saddening that coupon shoppers have been bending rules and abusing coupon shopping privileges. I, like many others, am afraid of what the future holds in the world of coupons if so many continue to not abide by all of the rules. I wonder how much longer we are going to be able to continue shopping the way we've all grown to love and count on to make ends meet if people don't learn to grow up and be adults! (This gets me a little heated if you couldn't tell. Lol)

As for buying coupons online, ILLEGAL. I truly believe that. I can't believe it continues to be an accepted practice and hasn't been banned. I believe it truly is taking advantage of manufacturers. I would love to believe that at least 99% of the people who sell them obtain them legally, but I can't, in my gut, believe that is true. And even if it were...the coupons clearly state "Void if sold or transferred" How can that possibly be misinterpreted? It seems pretty darn clear to me. There must be a reason the manufacturer included that on the coupon, and it is not up to us to choose which rules we abide by and which not to...

I like what you said about pdf coupons and going to the company site itself and personally locating the coupon, if possible. I never even thought to do that! That's a great word of advice.

As for using different zip codes to obtain coupons...I do not personally do it, but I am inclined to agree with Niki, who said that it could be that a manufacturer is simply trying to push it in that location. BUT, since I do not know this to be true, I simply take advantage of the great deals posted in my area...as if there isn't enough already without having to go snooping around other zips! Lol.

Well, I guess I could probably continue rambling for quite a while, but I'll spare you all! :) I'm getting down off of my high horse now. :) Have a great night ladies! Great discussion!

Jessica @ Alaska's Best Grocery Deals said...

I'm sorry I have one more question to ask. On the bottom of Targets printables they have changed the wording to one per transaction, but they very rarely enforce this (in our area, at least). I am having a hard time deciding whether or not is it ethical to post deals that require the use of more than one. Any thoughts?

siva37 said...

Can someone address their opinion about money back guarantees? I saw a deal on a blog that said the item would be free with a money back guarantee but those are for if you don't like the item. I could always find SOMETHING that I didn't like about an item but be pleased with it as a whole. I wouldn't submit for my money back unless I didn't like it at all. Any thoughts?

Joanie Demer said...

Ali Smith,
Thanks for sharing your point of view! I still love hearing how everyone feels on this. I have tried to speak to manufacturers with limited success to address the selling of coupons issue. My experience has been, if you speak to an individual manufacturer like Post Cereal, they will tell you it's fine to acquire and redeem their valid coupons in any way you want. When I've spoken with Smart Source, a marketing company that distributes coupons, the answer is "it's not legal to transfer coupons". What's a coupon girl to do?
Jessica,
I post deals that include Target coupons stating "one per transaction". I try to add a disclaimer at the bottom.

Heidi said...

I specifically asked my Albertsons manager if I HAD to buy the milk, bread, and eggs for the general mills promo because I wanted 1 milk and 2 eggs (costing a little under $4.00) and he said that was just fine. When in doubt...ask!

Kecia75 said...

I think selling coupons on Ebay is fine. I mean, the law of percentages comes in to play, when a manufacture puts their add in say, 10 million newspapers. To me, it makes perfect sense to get coupons into the hands of people who will actually use them. So in my opinion, selling my unused coupons on Ebay is no differant than trading them in a coupon club at church.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... RedPlum used to mail out an insert of coupons to everyone in my area, that went out with the weekly ads. Whenever I would stop by the post office in town, there would be literally these 2 huge trash-cans, about 24" across, and as high as my waist, and they would be full of mostly the newspaper ads, WITH the coupon insert. So I would effertlessly fish out about 10 of them. There would always be one really good coupon, like for a free 6 oz. can of dog food.

Yes, removing peelies off of an item is wrong. When it comes to tearpads, I admit that I have often taken more than one. But I would never take the whole thing - too crazy. I usually take 2, and then might take more later if there still seems to be lots. And sometimes I see the same coupon at differant stores. Or the same store, at differant locations. That $1.50 coupon on Kraft Salad Dressing, yup I have lots. (hanging head in shame)

This thing about expired coupons though, gets me. I read an article somewhere a long time ago (ya, I know that's vague - LOL), where someone was saying that oftentimes the stores take months to get around to turning in their coupons to the manufature. Ergo, accepting a coupon a few days the past the expiration date, is no big deal. I am trying to be much more organized, but there is no bigger disapointment than missing out on a $1.50 coupon, 2 days after it expired.

On the online coupon sites, it never occured to me to go zip-code trolling for better coupons. I guess I just thought coupons in other states might be for product that are location speficif. Like if XYZ Salad Dressing wasn't sold on the west coast, there'd be no reason to be offering it - would just be a waste of advertising dollars.

I have not tried to diliberately misuse a coupon except when I was absolutely broke one time. I bought Huggies diapers and wipes. I had a .75 coupon for wipes, and a $3 coupon for TWO packs of diapers. But they went through with no problem. I would not ordinarily do this, but I have bought lots of diapers with NO coupons too.

rattriffic said...

hey NINA...no offense towards you at all about the 2.50 doubler I was just trying to clear up that they are not supposed to do it and you were so mad at cole rd for doing it the way they were supposed to ....this posting clearly shows there are tons of Q's so no worries and happy couponing:-) no personal attack from me...k SMILES!!

rattriffic said...

FYI....ya all do not double means th manufacturer that issued the coupon will not reimburse for more then face value, albertsons doublers are their choice to bring in business and its from their banks to the issuers:-)

sharlaprior said...

All in all, I think that if you know the rules and trust your gut feeling then you should be ok. There are a lot of grey areas and it is important to not abuse coupons and "they system". So, when in doubt, ask or just don't do it.

Megan Elise said...

I'm new to coupons (or rather to actually using them after I save them) - is it allowed at all stores or at any to use a coupon for say $1.00 and a BOGO? Can you ever use 2 manufacturer coupons if they are different?

Neva said...

Dear KCL,

I seriously doubt you have ever been my peelie stealer, and I can honestly say that by using the ideas from this site you have saved me much more than you have taken. Just expressing my opinion. Thanks for all your hard work!

makana bahama mama said...

You have gotten so many comments on this! Really, what a great post. I have a coupon/food storage/stockpile blog for Houston. So speaking of honesty, can I copy and paste the article and link you to it and give you full credit? I think my readers would really learn some new things.
www.thegrocerygeek[dot]net

n8vspud said...

I totally love Coupon Clippers.I have used them for years. I did just e-mail the owner about how they get all of their coupons, so as soon as I hear, I will post an update. Personally, if I can get coupons that I will actually use, I am willing to pay the 10-15 cents per 5 coupons. The companies do post coupons based on region and who they are trying to target. I figure between KCL and Coupon clippers.... I can save quite a bit of money.:)

n8vspud said...

I love Coupons Clippers and have used them for years and saved money with them. I have an e-mail into Rachel to see how they do get so many coupons. Since companies post coupons based on regions and what they want to see sell, I don't see a reason why I shouldn't find coupons I would really use versus ones that I can't or won't use. But between KCL and CC, I have been saving even more money, so the 10-15 cents per coupon is worth it to me :)

alysia said...

Gotta post on the peelie...I totally think that it's okay to take a peelie off a product and use it on a different product that is within the specifications of the coupon. Would I ever go through and take the peelies off all the products? No, definitely not. But, why not assume that if the peelie is gone from a product, that the person actually USED the coupon?....what does it matter what they used it on as long as it was intended by the coupon? If peelie's were only allowed to be used on the specific product they were placed on it would say something to the effect of "$1 off THIS purchase of "X", or "void if removed from product"...(both of which I have seen).

Joanie Demer said...

Anything for the makana bahama mama! Of course you can use any info you want! Thanks for the link!

This has been great discussion! Thanks everybody! We'll have to break it into specifics and do it more often.

Jennifer said...

alysia, don't you think if the manufacturer wanted you to use the peelie on a different product, they would have stuck it on THAT product? Or perhaps just used a blinkie or a tearpad? When you take a peelie off of a product then the person who BUYS the product doesn't get the discout--you do. Is that fair?

jon, lara + lydia said...

@jennym
have you tried seventh generation diapers? I found them SO much cheaper than Pure & Natural through Amazon subscribe and save.
i was shocked that even on sale @ target, with a $3 off coupon, it was still cheaper to buy 7th gen. online.

Tanya said...

Peelie Opinion - If I am buying an item (say, ziplock bags) and the package that I pick up obviously had a peelie on it that was ripped off by another shopper, I will take a peelie off of another product (different size of ziplock bags) and use it on my package. I figure I'm just getting what I was supposed to get in the first place. I will also search through all the packages on the shelf (and put them back after) to find the two packs that have peelies on them that are way in the back. But I don't feel comfortable taking peelies off of packages otherwise.

Tearpads + Blinkies - I'll take one or two, but I try to be reasonable.

Other zip cods - heck yeah I use them!

Buying coupons online - I don't like to pay for coupons.

nic said...

Wow! What a great discussion. I am glad to hear of so many honest people out there. Just have to put my two cents in... go with your gut. If you have a question about anything, there is a reason you are questioning yourself! Your integrity is not worth 50 cents!

Arin said...

does peelie theft include tearing a peelie off of a strawberry poptart to use it for a chococolate fudge one--then I am guilty--I have done that. Sorry.

thecouponproject.com said...

Hi! This is Angela from The Coupon Project. I was the one that triggered much of the Rite Aid discussion last week! ;)

I am actually trying to contact Coupons.com and CIC for a direct answer to this becuase this is a newer gray area that needs addressing. I truly DO believe there is a reason for restricting to zip codes, and I don't want to play around and guess why that might be. So...the jury is still out on that one for me!

Ebay. I took some time and found this link which outlines Ebay's policies on coupons. While I've never purchased coupons this way, I think it would be OK so long as you are following their guidelines (no more than 20 coupons for one item, no more than 100 coupons total, no more than 2 coupons for a free item). Here it is in case anyone is interested. http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/manufacturers-coupons.html

Peelies. Did you know some peelies now read "save $1 on THIS item?" Guess what folks? I think there's a reason why we're seeing some of the fine print changes on coupons lately. Personally, I only use peelies on items I intend to buy right then and there. While it might be *ok* to use them later, I think it's just tacky. I have had the unfortunate experience (as many of you had I'm sure) of going to look for items with peelies only to find someone had helped themselves to every last one! Worse, I've seen TAMPERED PACKAGES before where someone was obviously looking to fish out a coupon. Poor, poor form.

Glucose Monitor coupons. Many of the newer coupons now have limit one per household in the fine print, and some even go on to restrict usage for diabetic patients. While this may not easily be enforced, I believe in doing the right thing and adhering to the offer on the coupon.

BTW, ITA with the coupon decoding, expired coupons, etc. etc. You're right. Other obvious no-nos: using more than 1 MC on an item or using a coupon for a product other than stated in the offer (even if it doesn't beep). There's no question about those scenarios: they're wrong!

Thanks for bringing this up, and I sure hope my comments have only been used to spark good conversation on your site, no meanness intended! As a newbie couponer (I'm still less than a year in), I'm working hard to learn what's right, what's not, and how to clear up the differences. I appreciate your willingness to tackle these tough subjects head on.

KUDOS, KCL!!! You guys rock!

alysia said...

Ah, I do love this topic...and I think that everyone has been respectful in their opinions. So, thanks for that.

Jennifer, I actually don't think that the manufacturer cares if you take the peelie off a certain product to use it on another of THEIR products that meets the coupon specifications. I think that if they only wanted me to use it on the product that it was stuck to, it would say (as Angela from the Coupon project stated) save x on THIS item. I think that peelies are just another way of getting coupons out there in addition to tearpads and blinkies. I think they do it because people are more likely to notice that there is a coupon on the item if it's physically stuck to it. As far as fair goes, you're right, if you get to the store after me and I've taken a peelie off an item and used it to buy a different item you won't get that coupon...but you wouldn't have gotten the coupon anyway if I'd have used it on that item anyway though, right? I say who cares if you use a peelie from a strawberry pop tarts to buy chocolate, or if you use a peelie for a 16 oz product to buy a 12...as long as the coupon allows it, why not? I just don't think that it is at all unethical to use a coupon for a product and size the coupon says you can use it on...

AMBER said...

What about "limit 8 -12 packs of dr pepper per person"? (or similar scenario)

I took my daughters (age 7,6,6,4 1/2) with me to albertsons, gave them each a few dollars, and had them each get 8- 12 packs.
The store manager told me of the limit of 8 when he saw our family with 2 carts. I told him that my kids were getting some too. He said "that's good enough for me."

I do take my children shopping at times(like if they have $ and want to buy something), and I am teaching them to use coupons. I dont want to be a good deal hog, but I also have a larger family and go thru things faster than a smaller family would.
Should I feel guilty? I am following the letter of the law, but what is the intent of the law?

thecouponproject.com said...

I just wanted to share that I got a response from the CIC about the zip code thing. Please folks, don't do it. According to them, you could potentially be engaging in a form of coupon fraud when you input false information.

Now that I know that, I've formed my opinion. It's wrong.

luvelyhazeleyes said...

Coupon Clipper said:

I just wanted to share that I got a response from the CIC about the zip code thing. Please folks, don't do it. According to them, you could potentially be engaging in a form of coupon fraud when you input false information.

Potentially a form of coupon fraud??? Either it is or it isn't.

Personally, I think you can print away. It is the same premise as trading with others to get coupons that are regional & thus not available in your local paper. I often do this as, of course, some of the best coupons seem to be missing. The person who is sending those regional coupons is not doing anything illegal by sending them nor am I by accepting them. I much prefer the convenience of being able to access those regional Qs myself as opposed to having to resort to trading in order to get the benefit of a great deal...just MHO here.

luvelyhazeleyes said...

Sorry thecouponproject not Coupon Clipper.

Will put my glasses on now.

Cathi said...

voicing in on the Peelie/Hang Tag ideas...I have the RULE OF THREE. There are THREE in my home. I NEVER take more than THREE of anything..... And they are always used. If I know I won't use it...I don't take it. If I THINK I will but find I won't ... I pass it on, or leave it by the display as a gratis for another shopper. Wrong? I don't know...

I do KNOW that recently I was PEEVED that someone went INSIDE all the Glade Candle Tins at Target and scammed off with all the $1.50 coupons for the candles... I ONLY do that if I know I am buying that product right then and there.... peeling is one thing, but going IN the product and taking it out...well...I think that is wrong....

Cathi said...

Ok... I have a question too....maybe it was approached earlier in this stream...
But anyhoo....

Recently I recv'd an EMAIL coupon from Bath and Body Works. It was for ANY Travel Size Signature item with ANY...ANY purchase. So I printed it and bought a $1 lotion. Well, it dawned on me that this is a FABULOUS way to get the teacher/coach/etc. gifts done for our son. So I printed a BUNCH out ... BBW is on my way home every day....and so I started going...not every day...but like every few days with my $1.06 in hand. Well after a couple of trips over a week the staff did NOT like me. They were rude, patronizing and not happy to see me.

This coupon did not say ONE trip. It was one sale per customer and that is what I did. Gray?? I don't know. I mean, I bought an item each time... I didn't scam them. I was pleasant and polite. But they were peeved at me.

I wrote corportate and they said that it is for ONE person ONE time only. But their coupons DO NOT SAY THIS. And the ones that they give out at point of purchase to get you to COME BACK to the store, i.e. Free Anti Bac Any Kind with $10 purchase doesn't have any stiputlations. What would be the difference if I used a bunch of those and hit BBW with $10 every few days....Betcha they wouldn't be as mad, huh???

Am I wrong here? Did I cross the line? I mean if they want to put rules in place, well, then they ought to have them in print, or teach their sales people, or something right?

Am I gray here?

Cathi said...

Ok last question....

Why do they .. retailers...seemingly NOT teach their cashiers and staff about allllll the couponing rules for a store. Example...my husband is in MANAGEMENT for PUBLIX and he had NO idea or TRAINING that they stack Publix Q's with Manuf. or that they took every local competitor Q.

It's like they really don't WANT you to use them...so they make you do all the work and digging for it....

Wouldn't it be better for a retailer to just put it alllllllllll OUT THERE for us shoppers? Not just put it in the 'fine print' or keep it all squirrelled up at customer service??

What's up with that.... ? I mean, that's where I feel like, "I don't care how gray this area is...you do me ... I do you..." I know that is so WRONG...but that is just not respecting the power that us shoppers have...especially in this economy, right?