Black Friday: Round Two

I’m sure most of you have had to work doubles or very long shifts at work before.  And if you haven’t, you’ve either never had a job or you just plain suck at life. 

For closing on Black Friday, our staff mostly consisted of the same people who came in to open at 8pm (or in a few cases earlier) the night before.  There were a few lucky people who were coming in for their first and only shift on Black Friday.  Wow, that must’ve been nice.  To have been all rested and full-bellied from the Thanksgiving festivities the day before.

I was in for my second.  And this time I got to pretend in my new role as a front end supervisor.  It was actually marked on my schedule and everything. You just imagine the strut I would have had if I’d had the energy to do so.  I’m still in training for that position, so it’s not technically official yet, but we’re working on it.

Anyway, I was drained.  Most of my cashiers looked like they’d been brought back from the dead.  Half of the sales floor team looked like they’d been through a war and back.  It was tragic to look at us, really.

The store was busy but not hectic, thankfully, and we finally had enough cashiers to cover our asses instead of having to call the sales floor for back up help every fifteen minutes like on a normal day.  Really, our store sucks at scheduling enough cashiers.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Monday, lunch time is always busy and two cashiers are simply not enough.  The Holidays are the only time of the year where we will have a decent amount of cashiers opening or closing the store.  It’s very sad, but very true.

Now, I was not only in my supervisory role.  One of the others was with me, too.  She’s been in the role much longer than I have and has been at the store a lot longer than I have.  So, she really knows what she’s doing and what she’s talking about.  It’s quite effortless on her part.  She does what is needed to please the guest to a point.  But boy, when a guest is raising a fit over something we can’t change, I haven’t seen anyone more stonewall than she.

Both of us were exhausted.  We just wanted to go home and go to bed.  Get the night over with.  One of our bosses kept harassing us about sending a cashier over to help ring people up in Electronics, we finally sent one over there.  However, 8pm was quickly rolling around and we had 8 cashiers leaving at once.  We needed him back.  We finally managed to steal him back after we had a bunch of cashiers leave, but it was hard.  Electronics needed a cashier, but the front end did, too.  We only had six cashiers closing when the original plans, we were supposed to have 8-10.

At one point in the night, a guest approached one of our new cashiers to ask for a price check on a pair of little girls’ shorts.  They didn’t have the price tag, so I showed her how to get the numbers on clothing without a tag.  I walked off thinking it was cool.  Not but a few second later she was calling me back over.  The guest had apparently y found the shorts on a 50% off clearance rack but they were coming up full price for $12.99.  I explained to the guest that someone else probably misplaced it there and that unfortunately it wasn’t 50% off.  We don’t honor those kinds of price changes because it’s very obvious that someone placed it in the wrong spot.  Tell me how “crappy” that is later.  I’m just protecting the store’s revenue.

The guest asks if there are anymore.  So I ask if she’s looking for another size or color, because I was going to then show our cashier how to look that up on her register.  The guest says  “No, I want those.”  I stare at her for a second, trying to compute everything.  Finally I say “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand your problem.  If you want these, why are you asking if we have any more?”  I was thinking maybe she had another daughter and needed a second pair or something. 

“I want these but they’re not 50% off.” She says staring at me like I’m stupid.

“I’m sorry, but they were placed in the wrong spot, so we can’t adjust that price for you.” I stared right back at her, challenging her to say something else to me.

“Then we’ll just go to [competitor].  They always honor that there.”  She starts throwing her other purchases down on the conveyer belt.

Now, I shouldn’t have said the next part, but I really didn’t care, she was being a right bitch.
“That’s fine ma’am.  Our store likes to keep it’s dignity and money.”

She stared at me slack-jawed for a moment and as I walked away she started going off about me to the cashier.  I didn’t care.  Maybe if she had been nicer to me, I would have been nicer to her.  But once you disrespect me and treat me like I’m stupid, I will do the same with you.  There’s been many cases at the service desk where I helped a guest find what they needed and bent over backwards for them and approved larger-than-I-should-have price changes.  Because they were polite and patient with me.

Being a bitch gets you nowhere with me.  Except maybe more pissy.

I managed to piss off several guests that night.  One woman had a stack of DVDs that she was claiming were supposed to be $10 a piece.  I head over to the checklane to see what the deal is.  Well, the DVDs that we had in our sale and advertised on the sales floor for $10 were just DVDs.  Nothing else.  No digital copies, no blu ray copies.  Just the plain, run-of-the-mill DVDs.

This woman had the combo packs.  You know, the ones that run at least $24.99 a pop.  Sometimes even higher.  She was mad and walked me over to the endcap where she got them from and pointed at the signs.  I pointed out to her that the signs also said in legible, bigger text that the titles that were $10 were also regularly priced at $19.99 or $14.99.  And then, to be even more of a snarky bitch since she was already huffing at me, I pointed out that the titles she got were placed over the correct label strips that said their regular prices were $24.99 and above.

She was mad.

“Well why are they here then?”

“Because earlier today the other movies were placed right above the sales signs and as you see, we are out of them now.  Our electronics team has been very busy and unfortunately hasn’t been able to get back here to fix anything.  Other guests have been putting movies back willy nilly all over the place.”

Okay, so I didn’t actually use the phrase “willy nilly” but I wanted to.

She said a few other things to me.  Something about the signs being wrong, but I’d honestly tuned her out.  I’d already brushed her off and was waiting for the next round.  I may be a small, sweet-looking girl, but I won’t budge when you push me.  There was no way I was letting her get movies for $14 and $20 off the original price.  The signs were clear and the signs weren’t placed in a confusing way.  Learn how to read, freak shows.

And to be completely honest, I think those signs had fallen off the shelves at one point during the long business day and had just been picked up and put back up randomly.  While they weren’t placed with the movies that actually were $10 (at least all of them were gone), they were still clearly labeled and anyone with half a brain would see that the blu ray, DVD, digital copy, 3D combo packs they picked up did not match the sign.

Sometimes I wish I could rub it in a human’s face the way you rub a dog’s nose in its own business on the carpet.
But, I’d rather stay out of jail for assault.  So, I keep my hands to myself.

Again came the questions on if we were price matching anything.  No.  I realize that we have Holiday Price Match signs up all over the store, but take a second to read everything that they have to say, please.  Black Friday is excluded!  I don’t care if Ding Dong City has this exact sweater vest for $3, we are selling it for $10 so either buy it here or leave.  Black Friday sales are special and store-specific.  Every store does different promotions for it.  Some stores have loyalty card pricing, too.  We don’t have that.  Those stores get paid for their loyalty cards, we do not.

I really do wish we had pamphlets available at guest service on our return, price match, and coupon policies.  It would make it a lot easier for the guests who actually WANT to know how our store operates.

The night was long and irritating.  I wanted to scream or crawl into a hole and sleep forever.  Finally, the store closed and we found peace.  Okay, we didn’t find peace until about 11:30 as we still had guests shopping and one lady just never got the memo that we were CLOSED and she COULD NOT shop anymore.  As my girlfriend tells me, this guest was told at least five times by several different team members that the store was closed, that the registers would be closing, that the registers were CLOSED and she just kept shopping.

I’d seen that woman leaving the rest room at one point during the night.  She was just strolling around the store texting without a care in the world.  Look, lady, we’re not a park.  Take your leisurely stroll elsewhere.

We stayed until 1 AM that night.  However, the last 45 minutes of my night was spent at the service desk bullshitting with several other female co-workers.  Mostly, we were gossiping about the dating habits of one of the cashiers-turned service desk girls.  Telling her that it’s not okay to be in a committed relationship with one dude and date other dudes behind his back.   Though, she was young and having fun.  Oh, to be young again…

Okay, what am I talking about?  I’m only 24.  Reality check!  Sometimes I feel and act like an old woman, though.

When the girlfriend and I finally made it back home that night, I made the big mistake of opening my brand new DS game before bed.  Plants VS. Zombies.  I played for nearly an hour, and then upon seeing her interest in it, handed it over to my girlfriend who is now obsessed with it.  I haven’t heard from her in a few days now.  We live together.  I should probably make sure she’s still breathing, huh?

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Black Friday: Round One

In retail, there is nothing more thrilling and stressful than Black Friday.  It is the day that we work for and build up to for months.  It’s also where most of us tend to get in the only overtime hours we will ever earn at our jobs.  Our overtime sheet was six pages long last week with most people getting over 50 and 60 hours this week.

Unfortunately I wasn’t on that list.  I just barely made it in the upper 30s, thanks guys.

Anyway, most people don’t see the stress of the day until they get there that night or morning.  Until they drink in the amount of people in line.  Until they feel it in the air.  Our store is in a building with two other big stores.  The line for one of those stores actually crossed over one of the entrances of our store.  However, our line was on the other side, completely wrapped around the building.

It’s amazing how many people actually came out on Thanksgiving night to shop.  I’ve never been too much of a family person myself, but I think it’s a little… dirty to mar Thanksgiving with shopping greed.  Hell yeah stores have some wonderful deals, but I don’t think you should sacrifice your time of giving thanks and maybe actually acting human for them.

Then again, this is America.  Land of the Free and Greedy.

Our store was nicely organized.  We blocked off all access to the front registers save for a line that formed at the other entrance.  For the first hour, we saw absolutely no activity at the front end.  Everyone was worried about getting the big items set at Guest Service or in Electronics.  Then slowly they started to trickle in.  We had three front end team leads.  They were in charge of 8 registers a piece and had one helper with them.  The helper (which was the role I played—big surprise to me as I was supposed to be at the service desk) handled the breaks and ran any errands needed by their team leader.

Some people got in line for the registers and then ended up stopping and waiting on someone or something.  It was a mess.  One lady waited for almost half an hour for some stupid Xbox points card that no one could ever track down.  At least not until several hours later anyway.  She was blocking the “road” as it were and we kept trying to get her to move out of the way.  A few people got mad that we blocked the middle walk ways to the registers.  They were mad that they had to walk all the way around the store to stand in line when they only had a few items.

Hey, suck it up, so does everyone else, and unless you want to get kicked out of the store and not get the items in your hands, fall in line, bucko.

There were a few hiccups with people getting in and out of line.  Or a person paying and then walking back through the store.  I don’t even want to think about the amount of theft we had.  I bet that was pretty high up there.  Hey, don’t you look at me that way, people take opportunity where they can.  At one point after everything died down, I took a few things to the backroom and picked up a few sunglasses labels (which have security tags in them) and a few clothing tags.  I’m sure those were only the tip of the iceberg.

What made most of us cringe the most is the fact that they just left the game cases open.  Our games are locked away and they were opened for this extravaganza.  It’s scary to think that the things that we normally lock away were just free for the taking.  And there’s no telling how many dishonest people we had.

I did encounter a few guests that were quite angry that we weren’t price matching for Black Friday.  It was a special event, so we weren’t doing it since there were so many other sales and a lot of store had “Surprise Doorbusters” and all that junky jazz.  It’s not really fair to point this out, but our signage around the store even says that Black Friday is excluded from the Price Matching.  But its in the fine print, and who reads the fine print anymore?

One man even tossed his games down on the register at me.  Sorry, dude that the store you wanted to buy these games at ran out of them or whatever, but I’m not price matching them for you today.  Come back Sunday or Monday and we will be happy to assist you.  Don’t you go throwing things at me because you’re pissed that I’m doing my job.

We had these coupons print out automatically saying that if you spent $50 in home, apparel, or small appliances that you got a free $10 gift card.  And it started in large letters that it ran from 4am to noon.  You cannot imagine the amount of people I had mad that they couldn’t get their free $10 yet.  Hey, dumbass, read the coupon.  I’m tired and I don’t have time for you.

Later in the morning, when things had died from a massive crowd to just busy, one lady left 8 sweaters with me because she thought she was getting the $10 gift card.  But it was only 2:30.

Thankfully, for the most part, guests were rather civil which surprised me.  Though, it got very annoying to hear them say “oh, I bet you’re tired.” 

No, no not at all.  I just had to come into work at 8:30PM to say up here until 4:30 in the morning and then come back at 5PM on Friday.  Just. For. You.  I’m not tired at all.  Why don’t you just rub it in that you’re going to go home and go to bed.  I’ll stay here.

Sometimes I wish we were able to accept tips at our store.  For realsie.  I think, though, what made that night easier to get through was knowing that I was getting paid an extra $2 per hour for it all.  And that sat quite well with me.

When it slowed down, my stomach started to rear its ugly head.  Some co-workers, my girlfriend, and I went out to eat at IHOP before going into work to fuel up and kind of zen out.  I had their sad version of a chicken fajita quesadilla and I regretted it later that night. They ended up sending me to the team leader’s office to help sort all the massive abandons because I thought I was going to puke all over the place.  I never did, thankfully, but because of it, I convinced them to let me leave a half hour early when my girlfriend got off of work.

I was so tired and pukey-feeling by then that I was crying over spilled milk.  Figuratively, not literally.

All in all, Round One of Black Friday surprised me.  I thought I’d have a lot more angry people to deal with, and in reality I dealt with so many people that the nice, patient people totally zeroed out the few bad ones that I had. 

Round Two was the killer though.  Almost every single worker in the store that night had been there to open the night before.  So you combine the fatigue with disgruntled guests and you get a nice little cocktail of badness.

Well, Ain’t That Somethin’!

So, maybe this has less to do with complaining about my job and more to do with celebrating a part of my job.

Currently, I am having training hours worked into my shifts at work for a higher position.  It’s kind of supervisory.  Higher pay, more hours.  And it’s at about the same level of what I’m doing now.

You see, I tried to put in a two week’s notice.  A hotel that is quite literally a two-minute drive from my house called me and hired me.  It would have been 40+ hours a week.  And I could work a semi-set schedule.  The only downside was that it wouldn’t have any benefits and it was almost a dollar pay cut.  It was totally enticing.  I mean, I could walk to work if I wanted to.

Part of me was enticed by the guaranteed hours (and let me tell you, some of the other girls there were scheduled for 45 hours a week), but the rest of me was wigged on the pay cut part.  I went ahead and wrote a two week’s notice.  I turned it in at my current job and waited to see what would happen.

I decided to attend my first day of training (non-paid, by the way) at this hotel.  It was easy.  Too easy.  And hearing the other people complain totally put me off.  So, my entire monetary future was riding on the hope that my bosses at my current job would beg me to stay.

Thankfully it did.  They begged me to stay and immediately offered me what I’d been waiting for for a while. What they had spoken with me about.

Maybe it was a little sneaky on my end, but I was really desperate for something that would help me pay the bills better.

So, now, I’m slowly being dipped into the waters.  They don’t want to do a lot of in depth training until after the dreaded Black Friday (which, really, should just be called Black Thursday from now on….) so that I don’t feel too overwhelmed.  Especially since they have me opening the Service Desk.  I’m to be selling TVs.  Woo hoo!

Only after the big rush of that will I get more of my training.  I’m very excited and very happy.  Sometimes patience  really pays off.  Actually, most of the time it pays off.

Now, check back over the next ffew weeks for a special on Black Friday! I can’t wait for the stories that come from it. More than likely, I’ll break it into two entries as I am technically working a double on Black Friday.  I open the store on Thanksgiving, essentially, and have about thirteen hours to myself in between, then come back to close with my official new title over my name.

Happy Thanksgiving to those of my readers who celebrate it!  I hope you are all merry and free and that you don’t have too much of a familial disaster at your respective dinners!

I Will Take It!

Retail hours suck.  They just do.  They will say they hired you on for full time,  but what they really mean is they hired you to work anything less than 40 hours a week.  Because full time to them for you is really anything below 35 hours a week.  Or, they will work you to death, pay you just barely above minimum wage, and always ask you to stay, come in on your days off, then you will procure overtime.  Which is nice, it really is.  However, you shall never reap the benefits of a full time employee, which, by the way, is only the managers.  No supervisors, no one below supervisors.  Just managers and corporate employees.
                
So, if you think you have it made in retail, think again.  Unless you get lucky with a small store or a company that actually holds true to their promises.  Which, some people do, and that’s awesome.  Good for you!  If only I got that lucky.
                
Once I worked a job as a part-time employee, but I was getting anywhere from 70-90 hours per two-week pay period.  Yeah.  Did I get paid for it?  No.  I got paid my regular salary (at the time was under $7 for minimum wage).  And if I worked on holidays, I’d get time and a half (which happened every time, as it was a movie theater, those places never close down for the holidays because assholes like to come to the movies on the holidays then apologize profusely that you have to work on that day.  Seriously, butt bomb?  If you didn’t want to come to the damn movies, I wouldn’t have to work!  But since you do, thanks for the time and a half on my paycheck.  That’ll be $20.50 for your popcorn and drink, sir).
                
I was only 19 at the time and it was my first real job, I really didn’t know much better and never thought to call the Better Business Bureau or OSHA about it.  There would be days where I’d work from open at 10am and close at 3 in the morning.  Oh, and not get a lunch break because it was too damn busy and I was the only night bartender that knew anything about anything.  Which, by the way, the movie theater I worked at was also a bar and served quick-type foods like burgers, hot wings, and personal pizzas.  It was my first job, I had fun at it and I could do my job and it paid my bills.
                
Now, I feel like I have to slum it to pay my bills working for a higher hourly salary than my first job five years ago.  Since I got fully trained at the service desk, I hardly ever get scheduled for cashier shifts.  In fact, in the last month and a half, I haven’t been scheduled for any.  The ones that I have had are ones that I’ve picked up from other people quitting or calling out of work.  Sometimes my boss will come up to me and ask me if it would be a big deal if I could pick up a cashier shift.  No, of course it’s not a big deal.  He treats it like I should feel insulted to be asked to work as a cashier.  I started off working like that, and it’s not like I get paid a higher rate to work at the service desk (thanks for the non-promotion promotion?).  I like it when it gets switched up like that.
                
Don’t get me wrong, I like to have a steady schedule, and I don’t get that at all where I work, but sometimes I get sick and tired of working at the service desk.  I get sick and tired of telling people no most of the day.  Then, on the same hand, I get tired of being a cashier every single day, too.  I get tired of standing there and waiting for people to come to me and not having a job to do in between guests.  At least at the service desk, I have things to occupy myself when I don’t have a line out the door of people wanting to return this or that.
                
It helps to break up the monotony because I have found myself getting very bitter and angry if I do the same thing too often.  Working as a cashier in between my service desks shifts is perfectly fine with me.  It’s not beneath me and I wish my boss wouldn’t treat it like it is.  As long as I’m getting scheduled for under 30 hours a week, I will do what I can to pick up shifts when I can.  Sometimes they call me in and I can’t do it because I do legitimately have plans or my girlfriend has the car and can’t come pick me up to take me to work.  But usually, if I find a shift available that I can take or can stay longer on shifts I’m already working, I will do it.
                
I’m starting to think that my laptop is a good luck charm for picking up extra hours in a shift.  My girlfriend and I work at the same store (no, I didn’t get my honey where I make my money.  We met long before and I met her through a mutual ex-friend who was also her ex-girlfriend) so most times, our schedules don’t match as she works on the sales floor and I work on the front end.  If she closes and I get off of work just an hour or two before, I will stay on and bring my laptop to sit in the breakroom or go across the street to Starbucks or Barnes and Noble to surf the Internet until she gets off work.  However, I’ve found that the last few times that I’ve done this with the intention of doing my own thing after, they’ve really needed someone to stay.  So, why say no?  It’s not like I have anything productive planned.  I’m just going to bum around and do nothing special.  I’ll be hanging out there anyway, might as well be put to work and get paid for it.
               
I should probably try this tactic more often.  Sometimes when the girlfriend goes into work before I do, and it’s only a few hours difference, I’ll do the same thing, but sometimes my managers will feel bad that I’m just sitting around or walking around and they will find some excuse to let me clock in early. Hell yeah!  More hours!  More money in my pocket!  Which is great, really, because my personal debt is growing by the day.  And in my line of work where one week I can work 36 hours and the next I’ll have 17, the more hours I can pick up, the better.  Starving artists can’t feed themselves, you know.
But hey!  Now the Holidays are arriving, so everyone will be drowning in hours.  They will be begging us to stay, to come in early, to do this, to do that.  It will be wonderful!  Then again, I won’t have much longer to complain about getting less than 30 hours a week.

Couponers: How I Loathe Thee, Extremist Part II

Now, I know some of you may be asking yourselves why we have such a policy in place.  And that’s because people scam with coupons all the time.  Since I started working at this store, the few episodes of Extreme Couponers that I’ve seen, I have realized how much people on that show are actually scamming the stores they shop at.  They may be studying the store policies and such, but you can’t not pay sales tax on items that you are purchasing, even if the total is brought down to zero.  You can’t walk out of the store with those items totally for free.  You have got to pay the sales tax.

Not only are there coupon scammers out there, but there are the shelf clearers.  The people who think that it’s perfectly okay for  them to purchase every item off of the shelf.  Okay, we usually only have limited supplies on certain items, and those are usually limited to three or four.  But other normal items have a limit, too, which means that you can’t buy the entire stock that we have because sometimes it takes us several days to weeks to get replenishment for those items, which means we will lose a lot of business because your busy body self thought you were better than everyone else not paying full price for your 80 cans of green beans.

I can always tell when I have a couponer in my check lane.  Some of them even try to hide their monstrous coupon binders and files from me, but oh, I can sniff you out a mile away.  You are the person who has four of the same few products in your cart.  You are the person  trying to buy trial size sunscreen with a coupon that specifically excludes trial and travel sizes.  You are the person buying the shampoo and conditioner that you don’t even use because the coupon was for $1.50 off or buy one get one free.

You come in with a plan set in motion.  You have sales ads from stores across the globe shoved in your purse.  You have 18 sets of coupon books from Sunday newspapers that you either stole or bought an entire store out with.

One woman in my old hometown actually finally got sued by the local newspaper for stealing copies of the newspaper every week from the same store just for the coupon books.  She didn’t think she needed to pay for the newspapers to get the coupons.  She thought it was perfectly okay to steal 20 copies a week to get the coupons and not have to pay a dime for the papers.  Okay, so maybe it wasn’t 20 copies, but it was more copies of the Sunday paper than any one individual needed.

Couponers also make my life at the service desk a living hell.  When their coupons are denied at the check lanes, these items get put in an abandons bin which is then picked up and emptied throughout the day to be brought up to the service desk to be sorted and put back on the sales floor.  This is where carts of just shampoo and body wash come from.  People trying to use coupons for things they can’t use them on.

Like for instance, people who try to apply the four-by-four rule on buy one get one free coupons on only four products.  Sorry, sweets, but I can only take two of these.  Why?  Because it’s buy one get one free.  Technically, you only bought two shampoos.  You want to use all four of your coupons?  Okay, go get four more shampoos, then you’re set.  Oh, but that’s spending more money than you wanted, huh?

Not only am I then bogged down by these returns, so is the person working on the sales floor.  You’ve just created more work for people who probably already have about six projects to get done as it is.

Then there are the ones who scam us by returning their items they used coupons for.  These people tend to “forget” their receipt (I guess to hide the fact that they used coupons on the items?) and hand me their credit card to look up the receipt with (to be clear, when I say look up the receipt, this doesn’t mean that it shows me your receipt on my screen, it just tells me whether or not you purchased that item with that card).  Our system (until just recently) didn’t take into account that you used coupons, even if they did bring in the original receipt to return with.

What these people are trying to achieve is getting back full price for items that they never paid full price for anyway.  This sometimes can be two, three, or four times more than what they actually paid for the item.  And basically, this screws the store out of money. 

Soon, though, we are supposed to only be able to return the value of the coupons to the guest on a store gift card.  This is how we are trying to stop coupon return scams.  Rant about how unfair it is all you want, but these people are returning sometimes a couple hundred dollars worth of merchandise that they may have only paid $40 bucks for.  It’s a form of theft.  Plain and simple.

I’ve seen it in a few cases.  What I’m hoping for is that the system will tell us exactly what the guest did pay for it after the coupons were applied.  However, I’m pretty satisfied with these losers only being able to spend this money back in our store.  Because, you know what?  Even if they are getting refunded back the full amount of the item without the coupon, they can’t go spend it anywhere else, it has to get recycle back into our store.

Though, I’ve seen this blow up in our faces, too. 

There’s one woman in particular that I’d like to drop kick for this.  She comes in at least once a week to return her coupon items which she has purchased at our sister stores in the area.  She always has a gift card to put the money back on.  And this gift card has been known to have up to $500 or more on it.  We suspect this is all from full value coupon returns.  She will then use this gift card to purchase (usually) the exact same items that she just returned with more coupons that she has clipped.

 The woman acts like she speaks absolutely no English, but we know that she does.  Not because this is ‘Merica and everyone does, but because we know the game that this woman is playing.  She’s scamming us for hundreds of dollars a week.  Which, I suppose in reality isn’t much of a dent to a national store’s finances, but she’s not the only one that does it.

So, next time you’re cuddling down to watch Extreme Couponers and thinking “I could do that.” Just take a sec to check your local store’s coupon policies.  Don’t be a dick.  Don’t try to make a store room that you really don’t need.   Don’t get up in the cashiers face because they wouldn’t take your coupon for Olay Regenerist Cleanser on your plain Olay facial cleanser.  That shit don’t fly.  Save face and move on.

Couponers: How I Loathe Thee, Extremist Part I

Extremists of anything are irritating.  Religion, causes, coupons.  They are also very good at instilling much rage in people.
                
There are your normal Joe couponers who clip what they need to save a few bucks for the household.  They only clip what they need and tend to stick to what they will actually use.  These people usually have less than 10 coupons unless the coupon books in the Sunday paper read their grocery lists in advance.
                
Then there are the Extreme Couponers.  Those like on the TLC show.  The ones who will clip anything and everything.  These are the people who have store rooms in their houses or basements full of shit that they will never, ever, ever use, but boy! Did they save a bundle on them or what?!  Or, they are the people who have little corner stores around town and are trying to resell these items for full price, I suppose it’s how they see wholesale instead of actually just buying wholesale themselves?  Whatever.
                
These people get really, really frisky with their coupon use.  Every store has a different coupon policy.  Some grocery stores will do double and triple coupons.  Since the store I work at is a general merchandise store, we don’t do crap like this.  We also have a very strict, yet fair coupon policy.  You can couple one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon for every item you have up to four items and coupons.  After that, we cannot accept any more like coupons.  Also, the coupon value may not exceed the value of the items purchased.
                
So, for those of you who keep trying to get the 97 cent eye drops with a $1 off coupon, please kindly go the hell away.
               
                
We offer printable store coupons on our website, this is awesome.  And we take printed online coupons from sites like coupons.com. 
                
However, don’t go and photocopy the coupons, because we can tell. Those are the ones that don’t scan.  Those are the ones that have the watermark almost totally faded off because they’ve been copied so many times.  Copy of a copy, if you will.
                
I once had a woman fight me over three cents.  Three. Pennies.  She had bought six economy sized bottles of Head and Shoulders and had coupons for buy one get one free.  In our system, the bottles were $4.99, so when ringing up these coupons, that’s what I typed in as the value to take off. 
                
Well, this just wouldn’t do for this woman because dammit! Those were $5 a piece!  They were not $4.99!  They were five!  She fought with me for five minutes over this.  And I explained to her and even pointed out to her that I couldn’t do it for $5 as that was over the amount of the item.  But she still fought with me.  So, rudely, I said to her “Fine, I’ll give you your three pennies. This is ridiculous.”  I changed the value of the coupons and told the lady her final total, then shoved her receipt at her (which fell onto the floor) and didn’t say a word to her after that.  The guest behind her told me that I had been right and she was just being petty.
               
  These people hold up the lines.  Those who know the policy, and know how it works typically go faster and their coupons match their products just fine, no issues.  But then there are those people who try to use the Crest 3D White Strips coupons on plain Jane Crest toothpaste.
                
Uh, honey, did you read it?  It says Crest 3D White Strips.  Not ANY Crest item.
                
Almost always when this is pointed out to them, they want the items taken off of their transaction.  Of course you do, because you were trying to get your plain toothpaste practically for free with this $3 off coupon when the toothpaste is about $3.29 or some such business.
                
Next come the coupons for Swiffer WetJet starter kits or Glade Diffusser Kits.  It clearly states that it has to be the kit.  Not the refill.  Not any Swiffer or Glade product.  The kits.  Which means they are more money.  No, I cannot use it on this Glade Plug-In, it’s not even a difusser.  Scrubbing Bubble Toilet Bowl Wand Kit coupons cannot be used on the wand refills.  The coupon even says so.
                
The Norelco coupons were a big hit just around the start of the year.  $10 off the Norelco SensoTouch Razor $50 or more in value.  Said so right there on every single coupon that came through the store.  Yet, people still got angry when we wouldn’t let them use them on the $10 dollar Norelco razors or blades.
                
“What do you mean this isn’t the right product?!  It’s Norelco isn’t it?”
                
“Yes, but it has a specific Norelco product on it.  And it says that it has to be $50 or more.  You can’t use a $10 coupon on an item that is $9.99.  Especially when it’s not the one listed on the coupon.’
                
“Well, I want to speak with your manager because people here have taken it before.”
               
  “Obviously that cashier had no idea what they were doing because this coupon isn’t valid.”
                
The manager always gets called and they get told they can’t use it, and the guest leave the check lane angrily, but making sure to yank their coupons back from me as they go.
                
Also in our coupon policy is that you can only use the four-by-four rule per household.  This means that you can’t do several transactions with the same items and same coupons.  If these things are going to Cousin Millie’s house, that’s cool, but since you’rethe one buying them, we can’t allow that to happen.  Your limit is four.  Deal with it.
                
I’ve even seen people park their shopping carts full of items with coupons off in Cosmetics and send their kids through the lanes with the money and coupons and then finally take themselves through the check lanes once their kids are done.  Good job teaching your kids how to cheat the system.
Check next week’s entry for Part Two of this entry on Couponers!

This Next One’s a Doozie

I want to take a second to thank all of you who have been following me and reading my blog.  I know there aren’t very many of you and that none of you have made any comments, but I know that you are reading.  Thank you so much.  I really thought this might be a big, huge flop, but I’m glad that it’s not a flop.

The next entry is about couponers.  It’s a big entry.  I wrote it several weeks back and it is very long.  I’m going to split it up into two parts for the simple fact that I doubt any of you want to read an entry that long about couponers.  I will probably never stop writing about them in all honesty.  They are part of my job that can really, really make my blood boil.  The extremist really do go out of their way to try to “get a deal” when in reality they are just a pain in my ass and cheating stores out of money every where.

Let’s just say there is a big difference between misinterpreting a coupon and plain ignoring that what you are trying to use the coupon on is NOT the correct product.

Since I wrote it, a lot of our policies at our store have changed, which makes me feel a little bit better, but at the same time, these people are getting more for their money in a pretty dishonest way.  I know that I am not exactly the most honest person on the planet, I’m not.  No one is, but I don’t try to cheat a business out of money because I want to get a good deal on something.

So, keep your eye out for Part One of my Couponers “series.”