Thursday, May 5, 2011

Frugality: Publix Coupon Policy Change?

There has been a lot of speculation about the forthcoming Publix Coupon Policy, but here's the thing: it's best not to believe any of it until it actually comes out. I've seen two posts about it from two major blogs, and in the comments everybody claimed to know someone (or worked at Publix themselves) who heard that the coupon policy had _______ in it. And they varied all over the place to only minor changes (competitor's within a certain mile radius) to huge changes (no competitor's, only one competitor coupon, no overage, limits on coupon amounts, etc.)
Here's what we can expect:
  • It will make things clearer. Hopefully it will clear up confusion that you have from store to store, or even cashier to cashier.
  • It will be in writing. This is a good thing really. You can show it to the cashier or manager when there is a problem.
  • You'll still be able to save a lot. They'll still do BOGO's (which is an automatic 50% savings), and you'll still be able to use manufacturer's coupons saving you more. Really I'm going to bet that unless there is something really crazy in there most people won't see much in relation to their savings percentages.
  • It will stop abuse. Unfortunately a few bad apples can spoil it for the rest of us. Hopefully with a written coupon policy all cashiers will be knowledgable on what they can and can't accept, and therefore there won't be any problems with people using more coupons then items, fake coupons, unacceptable competitor's (for example warehouse club coupons to by a trial size item, or coupons for a store not even in the same state or neighboring state), etc.
  • Less poor customer service. While poor customer service is rare at Publix, there are cashiers (and customer service managers, and managers), who feel as though coupon users are "stealing" money from the store. Hopefully with a clear, written policy they won't feel so bad.
  • It will be fair. They know who their competitor's are, they know what kind of policies are out there (Walmart just released one that was surprisingly lenient in allowing overage!), so they aren't going to want to alienate their shoppers too much. If they make it too difficult to use coupons or harder to save money, people will switch stores. They like people saving money at their store (remember their motto is "Love to Shop Here. Love to Save Here. and they have commercials featuring people printing coupons). More than likely there will be minor changes, but many of us won't see many things far different then how our store currently works.
  • It won't cover everything. It just can't. All stores have learned that with written policies. There's just no way to make rules that cover everything, so there will still be things that will vary from store to store.
My best advice, until it officially comes out, I wouldn't worry about it too much. However, in the mean time I would certainly voice your opinions to Publix corporate.

What would I like to see?
  • Doubling coupons in Florida
  • Penny Item in Florida (a girl can dream right)
  • Just a written policy in general.
  • Overage written out as allowed. (After all Walmart does allow it now, which has almost tempted me to go there...)
  • Limits on number of deals you can purchase. Reasonable to the type of item, obviously, since a limit of 4 yogurts would be awful, but a limit of 4 boxes of the same cereal would be reasonable. However, I think this would be best accomplished in each ad. I dislike shelf-clearers, and this seems like a fair way to deal with it, and thusly stop the store from having a then surplus when the store finally catches up.
  • A written list of competitor's for each store. I don't care if there is a mile range or not, just that each store has to post who they accept as competitors. It's really frustrating when one week you ask CS and get that a certain store is a competitor and the next it is not, and then a month later it is. Really to me the only competitor's I care about are Target (we have a Super Target), Winn-Dixie, and Sweet Bay. I would also like Save-a-lot too, but I won't complain. They've been really lenient in my area, but really I just care about Target and Winn-Dixie as I rarely get any other competitors.
What would you like to see?
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