Saturday, January 10, 2009

Typical Saturday Night Catalina Frustrations

I have read on HotCouponWorld that some Jewel employees are telling people that the "glitch" that allowed people to get Catalinas without spending $30 out of pocket in previous offers has been "fixed," so that now you do have to spend $30 oop. People on HCW said this is not correct and not to listen to these employees. Tonight I found out that those HCW people are absolutely correct -- staff members are saying that, but the deal STILL WORKS off register, not sale prices, and you can still use this to get stuff free or almost free.

After my first two Catalina deals on Thursday, I haven't been able to get back to Jewel because of snow, car trouble and schedule. Epu got the car running again this afternoon (he had to take out the battery and lug it on the bus to a dangerous neighborhood in order to take advantage of the AutoZone warranty), so after bedtime tonight I carefully drove the two blocks over to Jewel. (I know, driving two blocks? It's so not me. But I was planning to buy the big-butt packs of paper towels and toilet paper, and hopefully many other things that I could not really haul through the snow even if I had brought an empty stroller.)

As I gathered my coupons I actually felt my stomach tighten because I have had so many problems at my nearest store with these Catalina deals, especially with the staff that works Saturday nights. When I got to the store, I swung my cart past the aisles to see who was checking and watching the self-checkout (good people) and who was manager (the same lady who, although not rude, has given me endless difficulties in the past). That's ok, I told myself, because I had a plan: If I don't get my Catalinas, don't bother to try to return anything. Just soldier on and take any issues to the other Jewel in town with the excellent customer service.

I rang up my first transaction at the self checkout, and the Catalina machine ran out of paper after printing just one coupon (for 75 cents off 3 boxes fruit snacks). When the attendent changed the roll, nothing came out, and I told her I was expecting coupons so she ran for the manager. Great, so much for staying out of this manager's hair. The manager very politely and slowly explained to me that she knew I had been there for the previous promotion, but that the "glitch" had been fixed and now I would have to spend $30 OUT OF POCKET AFTER ALL COUPONS HAD BEEN DEDUCTED. She looked at my receipt and said, "You spent $7."

At my request she took my coupons back out of the machine and we went back to the service desk to try a return. She said the system "wasn't letting her" give me my coupons back. I begged and stood there looking at her. Finally she did something about it and refunded my $7 and gave me back the coupons, both Cats and MQs.

Because I had been warned about this, I did not believe her that the policy had changed or that a "glitch" had been fixed. The consensus online seems to be that Catalina and Jewel purposely mean to run the deals this way. So after thanking her, I quietly grabbed a Bounty ($14.99 register price, $10 sale price) and a Charmin ($17.99 register price, $12.99 sale price). Since the manager was over at the self checkout, probably explaining to the attendant that customers are supposedly not supposed to get Cats based on register prices, I went to the one open checker and waited in line. I used two .25/1 coupons, so my total was $19.50 before tax, but my register price total was $32.98. I did NOT use the Cats I had just gotten back, because I did not want to have to risk not getting a full refund if the manager was right.

But, you guessed it. The three $5 Cats printed out just fine. I'm pretty sure that the only reason they didn't print out the first time is that the print job was interrupted when the machine ran out of paper.

After that, I didn't have the heart to do any more transactions. I felt too self conscious. Yet vindicated, because I was right! So if any managers try to tell you the promo has changed, be dubious.


Anonymous said...

Was your OOP $9.25 or $19.25? I think it should have be 19. Thanks for all your info! I have successfully done this deal 3 times and am going back for 2 more today!

Carrie said...

Anon -- You are correct, thanks for pointing this out. Fixed.

Anonymous said...

No problem. I was wondering how you bought TP and PT for so cheap :)