This morning I went to our Manchester Dollar General store to use up the last of my $2 off an Olay body wash coupons that expire tomorrow. I was glad to see they had restocked the shelves and I dropped 12 of them into my cart, then headed to the Stayfree pads that are marked down to $2. With my Buy One, Get One Free coupons, they were only $1 each, a big savings. Then I picked up another 4-pack of their own brand of toilet paper and headed to the checkout. The woman at the register was friendly, but curious when I kept getting body washes out of my cart.
“Are these on sale, or something?” she asked.
“No, I just have coupons to use up that are expiring tomorrow,” I explained as I handed them to her.
“$2.00 off?” then she checked the screen and saw that the body wash had come up for $2.50 each. “Where did you get these?”
“Off a coupon-clipping service on the Internet,” I replied, fully ready to write down the www.thecouponclippers.com web address when she asked, because so many cashiers in this small town have asked me.
“Oh, we can’t take Internet printed coupons,” she said, then tried to hand them back to me.
There ensued a rather unpleasant ten minutes as I tried to explain that they were from a Sunday newspaper insert, and they were not Internet-printed, but when I noticed her hands as well as her voice shaking slightly, I realized she was scared; scared of the crazy coupon woman who was paying way too little for her order, scared of coupons she hadn’t seen or dealt with before, scared of the word Internet~ I don’t know what exactly scared her, or if she was instead shaking with rage at my audacity. Whatever it was, I asked her to call the manager to clear the whole thing up. She did just that, and another woman I had never seen before took the coupons from the other woman’s hand, eyed them for a few seconds, pulled a body wash from the bag and looked at it closely, then looked at me. “Where did you get these?”
I patiently explained that they were Sunday newspaper inserts (turning them over to show her) and that when I noticed the Des Moines Register had them I went online and ordered more from a coupon clipping website. She warily eyed them again, then said to the other woman, “If they scan, take them.” Which they did, and she did, but I left that store feeling like both those women wondered if I was trying to pull a fast one on them.
I have had more of this type of reaction since moving to Manchester last year than I ever did. Doesn’t anyone in this town use coupons? Evidently not to the extent that I do. When Tone’s spices put out a $1 coupon on any spiece, any size, I really stocked up on cinnamon, pepper, chili powder, minced onion, and other spices, but I picked up the small containers, which sell for 99-cents. Apparantly, after my 2nd or 3rd shopping trip the manager of the local Fareway posted directions in the back room as to how to take this particular coupon, adjusting the cents off to 99, instead of the $1. 00. That note freaked out the cashiers enough that each and every time I used it, a manager was called. At first, I waited until I went to Dubuque to use any more, but then I finally decided that this town needs an education on valid coupon use, and I am here to give it to them. I just hope I can keep my patience (and my sense of humor!) intact while they learn.