Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pan's Foods in Oak Park; No Coupon Love

Today I filmed a segment for Oak Park's village TV station at a local kids' consignment shop called O Joy!
I stopped across the street at Pan's Foods, a local grocery I like for low prices. But I haven't always loved the staff's attitude toward couponers, and today was the worst so far.
They had a small (40 diapers) pack of newborn Huggies in a clearance bin for $4.50. I had $1.50 off coupons in my file, so I thought this was a good opportunity.
But as I brought it to the register, a woman who I assume is a manager or owner sprinted up, asking the cashier if it was clearance. Then she told me I couldn't use a coupon.
Huh? I politely pointed out that other stores taking coupons on clearance items.
"No," she said.
I also pointed out that their store would be reimbursed for the coupon just the same.
"No," she said. "It's already discounted."
First of all, I just don't get why they wouldn't take the coupon. I understand that as a small store in a mega-chain world, they have to watch their profit margin carefully. What I don't understand is how accepting a coupon for a clearance item would affect them. Am I wrong in thinking they will still get reimbursed the $1.50 plus handling from Huggies?
Second, I really do not care for the staff's attitude that I am trying to get away with something, and the lack of even a "sorry." Really, whatever reason they have for not accepting a perfectly good coupon, it's their policy and their shortcoming compared to other stores. But instead of saying that they were so sorry they could not accept it, and explaining why, they treated me like I don't understand how stores and coupons work and that I actually might be some kind of crook.
Oh well, I still got a good deal. According to the chart at Baby Cheapskate, the size 1 diapers price to beat is 17 cents each, so my pack would be a bargain at anything under $6.80. Still, getting it for $3, or 7.5 cents a diaper, would have made my week. I didn't even CONSIDER trying my printable $3/1 Pure and Natural coupon, because I already knew this store was pretty tight with the coupons and wouldn't look at that one.


Rebecca said...

yeah, that's really pretty lame - a coupon has no bearing on whether something or not is "already discounted". After all, a coupon is not a discount. They get the full value of the coupon no matter what. You know, I try to patronize local and smaller places too, and this just really stinks. Shouldn't they have a BETTER customer service attitude than the big players??

Anonymous said...

I think the chicago area, not to generalize isn't very "coupon" friendly. I shop at Walts in the south burbs and love it. It's a small chain about 5 stores and they are usually cheap. But they often have "clearance" on items that are about to expire (milk, yougurt, etc.) and they won't take a coupon on that which I don't understand, cuz it's the same product wouldn't they get reimbursed the coupon amount. dunno?

Anonymous said...

Gosh, are you sure you weren't at WAL-MART?!?!?!

I love patronizing small places, too, but if I'm going to be treated like a crook, I'd rather buy my diapers on sale at the CVS and Jewels of Chicagoland ;-)