Tuesday Tip: My momma always said…

BE NICE!  I cannot tell you how much more effective the couponing game is when you are nice!  I tend to think of myself as a nice and courteous person.  My parents raised me with all the please’s and thank you’s necessary to be considered as such.  But couponing requires an extra dose of “niceness” – perhaps more than what’s considered normal.

I do most of my shopping at Publix – and they certainly deserve all the customer service awards they win, because it’s true.  Publix employees are some of the nicest people I have ever met.  But I think it’s true for anyone – if you are nice and gracious towards them, they will return the favor.  Here’s where niceness wins big time in saving money:

Asking where an item is located: When couponing, you often need a specific brand in a specific size.  Sometimes these are just so darn hard to locate!  Additionally, I’m slightly “vertically challenged” and can’t reach many of the items that are on the top shelf.  When you ask an employee nicely to help you locate or retrieve an item, they are more than willing to help and are pleasant about it.  I have had employees search several aisles and the back warehouse for particular items.  Yesterday, a Publix employee ran to the cash register twice to check prices for me.  How nice!

Checking out with the cashier: The check-out line is where my niceness has paid off BIG time!  When I approach the cash register, I usually have all my items on the belt.  As the cashier and bagger go through their normal routines, I always strike up conversations with them.  About the weather, about it being Sunday or Monday, about things I remember about them from last time.  I think customers rarely engage them in such conversation, and they are so gracious for something other than groceries and prices to think about.  Not only do I enjoy the conversation, but as they scan my coupons, they are a lot less nit-picky about matching every coupon to every item.  This isn’t to say I try to sneak anything by them – but that it doesn’t take near as much time as having a grumbling cashier who thinks you’re trying to pull one over on them.  How nice!

Checking out with people behind you: As I talk to the cashier, the people behind often join in the conversation.  They also become really interested in how much I’m saving, cheering me on in the coupon challenge!  I’ve also experienced some very grumpy people behind me, but comments like “I have them organized so this won’t take long” or “I have a lot of coupons, so this might take a little longer” give them the opportunity to wait or find another check-out line.  How nice!

Reporting an error: When I unload my groceries and get into my car, the first thing I do is check my receipt.  If I see an error, I’ll take it back into the store.  This is a key point for turning on the ultimate-nice!  Though customer service wants to help, they certainly can be as stingy or grumpy about it as they want.  I try to be extra gracious when presenting the issue – and thus far, haven’t had a problem in resolving one.  How nice!

Asking for a raincheck: When you live in a city where there are a lot of couponers, a lot of items are out before you even get to the store.  You can ask for a raincheck at customer service for any of the out-of-stock sale items.  Being nice to the customer service employees has often gotten me higher quantities and attached coupons that will expire before I can redeem the raincheck.  How nice!

Underground coupon-trade: Finally, I can’t tell you how many coupons I’ve gotten just for being nice!  Many times, people in front of me in the check-out line pass back coupons they weren’t able to use.  More coupons, more savings.  How nice!

A little extra niceness goes a long way!


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