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Costco saves me from my own stupidity

So I'm at Costco today for my regular weekly run. It's just down the hill from me and I use it like a regular supermarket. Today I have with me the coupons they send me monthly, which I've carefully clipped and neatly arranged in the order in which the aisles are when I go around the store in normal counter-clockwise fashion. I have them perfectly arranged in my shirt pocket and as I hit each aisle I make sure to carefully check each coupon to make sure I am buying exactly the right quantity of each item so as to maximize my savings. When each item is in the cart in the correct quantity, I rotate the coupon to the back of the stack and move on.

After I've checked out, I make sure to double check my receipt to make sure I have been given the correct discount, amount and quantity, for each and every item I've bought. As usual, the receipt reflects that the Costco computer system has been flawless, but you never know. Dishwasher tabs, -$3.25 x 2, check. Mayonnaise, -$2.25 x 3, check. Et cetera.

It is not until I get home that I realize: *I have not given them the coupons at the checkout. They have given me the discounts automatically.*

I knew that their system gives you all the coupon discounts for all eligible items in your cart once you scan the first coupon in your stack. I didn't know that the systems is now in "Aw, screw it" mode, where you now just automatically get the discount price with an implied virtual coupon. Nice.

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  1. Every single coupon in the book has the exact same barcode on it anyway. On one visit I had an item with a coupon but didn't have the actual coupon with me. Someone had left a random coupon from a previous use at the checkout, and I just had them scan that, and it applied the discount just fine.

    1. Makes shopping so much easier!

      1. I never get coupons from them! : (

        5 Replies
        1. re: Leepa

          Maybe it's an Executive Membership thing?

          1. re: acgold7

            No - It's on all Costco members. I don't have an Executive account and it's the same for me.

            1. re: JerryMe

              Actually, there are Executive Membership only coupons sent out a few times a year in addition to the regular ones.

          2. re: Leepa

            Check at the membership desk about the address they have for you.

            1. re: Leepa

              The membership desk is where to check.My sister wasn't getting anything,when they looked her account the reason was somehow she had opted out of the program without intending to.They fixed on the spot.

            2. sams does the same...
              they send us coupons/deals or u go to the kiosk...but they give them automatically at checkout ...all u have to do is buy the product thats on the deal....

                1. So then I guess the question is... why bother to mail out the coupons? Why bother to print them at all? Why not just send out an email or have something on the website saying these things are on special this month if the discounts are automatically taken at the register?

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: acgold7

                    That's an interesting point. Maybe by printing the coupons to you, it will prompt you to go into the store. Whoever buys just one thing when they go into Costco? Not me. If one item is on sale that I want, I'll go in and in the process buy other stuff Idon't need. So, the coupons are a ruse to get you into the store... which works on us, I hate to say. Our Costco is 30 miles away and we don't go unless there is something on sale that we need... and end up spending quite a bit more on other things.

                    1. re: velochic

                      My thoughts exactly. Although I live much closer to a couple Costcos than you do; I think I'd suffer withdrawal if I had to plan my trips like you must ;)

                      1. re: velochic

                        Ah... marketing at it's best, yes we really don't need coupons to be mailed out but, then we need them to remind us that there's a deal to be had.

                      2. re: acgold7

                        ... because you're only allowed to use the coupons Once, even if it's "buy as many as you'd like" (look at the backs, it's valid on one purchase). Sometimes they're stricter than others.

                        My costco coupons fell out of the ceiling last week. We had been wondering where they had gone. No Idea how they got up there.

                        1. re: acgold7

                          The coupons are dated information and they don't post it in the store.Unlike the mfg rebates right at the item,deducted at checkout.If you ask it's never a problem to get a copy and get sucked in.Happens I'll buy some stuff early and then I am next to ? and it wasn't on the list.

                          1. re: lcool

                            >>> they don't post it in the store<<<
                            Well, they kind of do. Coupon items have a bar code next to the price on the shelf tag, while regular items don't. At least in my area stores. So if it's true that coupon discounts are now taken automatically at the register, that might be a secret code to look for.

                            1. re: acgold7

                              no shelf code here except for reg price and or rebates
                              Perhaps the computer system isn't the same everywhere.Older vs newer or something.It's fairly recent that here we don't need the coupon,wasn't automatic all that long ago.

                        2. If you scan one coupon, them any item you purchased that has a coupon will deduct. It just speeds up the process.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: cstr

                            Yes, it wasn't like that before so this must be something new they do now. I noticed taht even if you give them one coupon, everything else gets deducted automatically which is great because I always forget or lose those darn coupons.
                            If you don't give them coupons, depending on cashiers, they don't deduct them...I had to go to the help desk to get refunded.

                            1. re: cstr

                              Right, but as I noted in my OP yesterday I didn't give them *any* coupons at all... none. Yet everything got discounted (automatically?) as if I had. From the explanations below maybe I just got a great cashier....

                            2. They don't "automatically" give you the discount - it depends on whether the cashier remembers. On my last visit, I forgot my coupon, told the cashier, and she said she'd take it off, no problem. When I got home and reviewed my receipt, no coupon deduction taken, so I had to make a return trip to get my $3.00.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: HeyImBack

                                They do here in the Washington DC area.

                              2. Application of the coupon policy varies from cashier to cashier. Some cashiers want to see them, some want you to surrender them, and others don't even bother to ask, they just apply the discounts automatically. I had gotten in the habit of not even taking the coupons with me (I make a list and note on the list which items are on a coupon special). Up until last week, every cashier has given me the coupon discount without fail. Last Saturday, however, I mentioned as I was buying a box of Drumsticks and a package of the sliced Jarlsberg cheese that I'd left the coupons at home. The cashier told me, as he totaled my order and handed me my receipt, "Bring the coupons and the receipt back to the Member Services desk to get the discount refunded."

                                1. In northern San Diego county, and we also got all the coupon discounts without handing over the coupons--as I was starting to hand 'em over, the cashier said "don't bother, it automatically discounted your amount," so seemed like he didn't manually do anything to get us the cheaper price.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: pine time

                                    There's a coupon button on their panel. If they hit the button, you get all the discounts to which you're entitled. Some cashiers hit the button whether you have the coupons or not. Some will hit the button if you ask. Some will make you fork over a coupon.

                                    Alternately, they can scan a coupon, too...works the same as hitting the button.

                                  2. I just got new coupons in the mail today. Nothing to scan on either the front or back. I wonder if it's just like this in Canada.

                                    1. I get the coupons in the mail, but then forget to take them with me - no problem, there's a stack of flyers at the service desk so can just pick one up.