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Sunday, October 17, 2010

sunday shopping 10-17-10

Today's drugstore shopping adventure was unexpectedly draining and a good reminder of why people get frustrated and fed up with couponing.  That said, it was also extremely successful, and when all was said and done, frustrations aside, I still saved over $220 for about 5 hours of work (including making my lists, gathering coupons, and going to multiple stores.)  For the math challenged, that is $44 an hour!

Here is what I got:

The evening started out very promising with one of my most successful trips ever to CVS--pretty much all I ended up paying for was the sales tax.  I was especially happy that the Oral B Vitality toothbrushes had finally come back in so I could take advantage of my rainchecks.  I regularly shop at several nearby stores, but my very favorite store is also the closest, and the whole staff there is wonderful.  One of the managers tonight actually complimented me on being such a smart shopper.  

Anyway, at CVS I spent $8.58 for $175.70 worth of groceries and drugstore merchandise, a savings of 95%.  

Coupons Used:
$35.50 Extra Care Bucks (split into different transactions)
(3) $10 off Oral B Vitality Toothbrushes (Proctor &Gamble insert, 9/29)
(3) $1 off 2 Nutri-Grain Bars (Red Plum insert, 9/29)
(10) $1 off Mentos Gum (Smart Source insert, 10/3)
(1) $.50 off Huggies Wipes (Huggies mailer)
(1) $2.50 off Huggies Little Movers (printable here)

Walgreens, on the other hand, was a different story.  The Walgreens registers are notoriously fickle, and although the Walgreens Corporate Office made an attempt to alleviate the problems recently by posting a new corporate coupon policy, the implementation in the stores has been frustratingly inconsistent.  

One of the (many) problems is that Walgreens registers won't accept coupons that have a higher value than the sale amount.  This week CoffeeMate creamer is on sale 2 for $2.69 (normally $2.49 for one), and I just happen to have 2 coupons for $1.50 off 1 CoffeeMate creamer that I printed a couple of weeks ago.  Even better, Nivea for Men body wash is on sale for $2.50 (normally $5.99), which is a great deal, made even sweeter by the coupon in today's paper for $3.00 off Nivea for Men body wash.  At any other chain, both items would be a money maker.  But not at Walgreens.   

I had read a few of the comments on this week's Walgreen's page on SouthernSavers.com so I was aware that there might be a problem.  I decided to drive a little further to my favorite Walgreens, where I figured my favorite cashier Krista would be more patient and understanding.  As luck would have it, she was on her break when I got there, and the other cashier (and her supervisor), while both very nice, absolutely refused to push the coupons through.  When I tried to explain that the official Walgreens coupon policy allows it to work, they called their manager, who said I couldn't use the coupons.  I was frustrated and tired and a little irritated, but I didn't want to cause a big scene.  The employees were just trying to do their job and follow their manager's instructions; it wasn't their fault she wasn't familiar with the policy! 

So I asked for my coupons back and had them void the transaction and left without incident, and as soon as I got in the car, I called Walgreens customer service (1-800-Walgreens) and headed towards home, stopping at a second Walgreens on the way.  The customer service woman was very nice and apologetic, and when I told her exactly what coupons I was using for which products, agreed that the coupons should work, and then asked to speak to the manager on duty in the new store, to give him authorization to push the coupons through.  He told her he would, and he was very nice, and I thought my problems were finally over.

Unfortunately, when it came time to check out, he still said he couldn't push the $1.50 CoffeeMate coupons through.  I still don't really understand why.   By that time I was so exhausted that I just gave up on the creamer.

Despite the saga, at Walgreens I ended up spending $9.86 for $67.40 worth of drugstore merchandise, a savings of 85%.  And I learned a valuable lesson:  Always carry a copy of the Walgreens coupon policy!

Coupons Used:
$11.80 Register Rewards (used in multiple transactions)
(6) $3 off Nivea for Men Body Wash (Smart Source insert, 10/17)
(1) 3/$1.00 Scotch Photo Mailer (Walgreens in-ad coupon, good for up to 6)

Altogether, I spent $18.44 for $243.10 worth of groceries and drugstore merchandise, an average savings of 92% for the day.

P.S.  Don't forget to enter this week's share-the-wealth giveaway, a fabulous box of drugstore goodies worth $85! It will be the LAST share-the-wealth giveaway until after the holidays.   Click here for details!


  1. Man... I just read the corporate coupon policy for Walgreens. I had the Nivea and coffee mate coupons too. They would not adjust them so I purchased 3 Nivea and 3 coffee mates in order to use 2 coupons of each. Don't get me wrong .50/ea for the Nivea and .34/ea for the Coffee mate is AWESOME in the land of retail pricing.. but they are picking and choosing policy it seems store to store..

  2. Gayla, I'm sorry you had trouble too! I ended up calling the customer service number again today, just to explain what had happened because it doesn't seem right. The gal I talked to was very sympathetic and again agreed that the store didn't handle it correctly, and supposedly someone higher up is going to call me back later today or tomorrow. If they do, I'll be sure to post a response.

  3. WOW this is amazing!!! i just became a follower through the blog hops :) i'm excited to read more of your posts! i love a good deal!

  4. awesome deals!

    but my oh my! this is why i can't stand shopping at walgreens. i will go there for 1 or 2 things, but that's it. i prefer rite-aid hands down.

  5. This is awesome! I need something like this right now so this is great! I'm glad you shared your site with me!


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