This week I’m tackling some of the questions I get asked most frequently.
Today’s question is a rather meaty one:
Can you use a buy 1, get 1 free coupon AND a cents-off coupon (both manufacturer) toward the purchase of the same items?
If I’ve lost you, let me illustrate.
Suppose you wish to buy 2 bars of soap. You have a “buy one, get one free” soap coupon you clipped from your Sunday paper. You also have a $1-off-1 bar of soap coupon you print from an online coupon site. Can you use both at checkout?
Coupon gray: it happens
Before I attempt to address this question, a quick couple comments. First, if you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of gray areas in couponing. While there are some fundamentals we can all agree on (such as we shouldn’t copy coupons or use them for items other than stated) there are just situations where you’re left going “huh?”, and written coupon policies may not bring clarity.
In these gray situations, my advice is to: 1) see what you can find out and 2) let your conscience be your guide.
I also want to acknowledge that not everyone agrees with my stance on these things, and that’s OK. I’m truly not here to judge anyone for making a different conclusion than me (provided it’s not one of those fundamentals!). I do feel a special sense of duty, though, as a coupon blogger. I am personally responsible for teaching many, many of you how to use coupons. Therefore, I am far more likely to skew to the conservative side of things. I want to make sure I’m teaching couponing in a responsible way that not only benefits you, but helps keep the good deals coming from manufacturers and stores, too!
I also want this to be a safe place for you to discuss your feelings on these things – and even debate them!
Well that’s clear as mud!
So back to the topic at hand.
I have to be honest. I don’t know that I have a definite “yes, this is OK” or “no, it’s not OK” for you today. Here’s why: there is conflicting information out there. And I can completely see why this scenario is confusing.
Consider this, for instance. I recently posed this question to P&G’s Facebook wall, and here is the response I got:
Later that same day I got a response from P&G via an email contact form I’d filled out:
Buy One Product, Get One Product Free coupon cannot be used on the same purchase as a $ Off coupon.
I tend to go with the email answer as there is something in the Facebook response that made it feel they were giving me a pat answer to be done with me. But even so, you can see why this is confusing, right?
If you attempt to stack a “buy one, get one free” coupon at Albertsons with a cents-off coupon, the register will beep and state you are using too many coupons.
But at Rite Aid? They actually say it’s OK to do this, per their coupon policy.
It’s clear that there needs to be more clarity on this scenario.
What you think, what I think…
I decided to pose this question as a Facebook poll, because I was very curious to know what YOU felt on this topic.
So here’s the part where I tell you what I think?
I think it’s like stacking manufacturer coupons. Here’s why. In order to get the “free” product, you have to buy a product. That means that the manufacturer coupon must “attach” itself to BOTH products. Using a cents-off coupon on top of that feels very much like stacking coupons to me.
We can all agree this scenario is wrong:
2 bars of soap
$1/2 manufacturer coupon
$1/1 manufacturer coupon
And I see the “Buy one, get one free” very much like a $1/2. I’ve arrived at this opinion after careful consideration, and that’s why you won’t ever suggest you use both towards the purchase of the same items. The only exception is if one of the coupons is a store coupon.
If I come to learn something that changes my opinion on this matter, I will gladly and graciously share it with you.
What do you think? Correct use, or incorrect use of coupons?