15 Days of Couponing Day 13: How to Handle Coupon Rejection

15daysofcouponing copy

Day 1: We all have to shop! Why not save money while doing it?
Day 2: The Language of Couponers – Translated!
Day 3: Where Art Thou Coupons?
Day 4: Know Thy Coupon (What does that fine print mean?)
Day 5: When to Use Your Coupons
Day 6: Buy Groceries, Pay for College with Upromise eCoupons
Day 7: eCoupons the Alternate to Clipping
Day 8: Don’t Get Mad, Get a Rain Check
Day 9: Advance Your Couponing Skills with Rebates
Day 10: Stockpiling
Day 11: Organize your coupon stash
Day 12: Surviving the Checkout Lane
Day 13: How to Handle Coupon Rejection
Day 14: Ten Commandments of Couponing

So now that you’ve gotten to the checkout lane, what do you do if your coupon is rejected? For the most part, I’ve never had much trouble. There has been a few instances like at Walmart or a particular CVS in a neighboring town with a grouchy cashier. I’m not the only one who refuses to shop at this particular CVS because of one cashier! Why torture myself, ya know! Throughout the course of your coupon shopping, you will come across one of “those” cashiers. It is a given.

I like to scout out my favorite cashier. I will wait wait extra to have a favorite check me out.  I try to scout out a coupon friendly cashier before entering that lane if I don’t see one of my favorites. I have my own methods of trying to decide who will be coupon friendly by appearances if I don’t know. Nothing scientific just based on past experiences. You may also want to reference Surviving the Checkout Lane to get hints on how to stay organized so you can be confident you purchased X item which makes X coupon!

So what do you do if they say nope, can’t take this coupon. First, please remain calm. You will get a better result if you speak in a rational tone and in a respectful way. Remember, the cashiers have to answer to their managers, who have to answer to their managers, etc. They all just want to follow store policy and make sure that all coupons are utilized properly so the store is able to be reimbursed for the coupons.

If the cashier refused to scan the coupon, you should ask they try to scan it. If it doesn’t scan, it doesn’t mean the coupon is not valid. It just may be a coding error. Make sure your language matches the coupon. Some cashiers may try to say you have to buy the product pictured on the coupon. That is not always the case. Companies usually show a higher priced item on the coupon but many of the coupons I use state “any abc brand product.”

denied-couponsDecide if it is worth it to speak to the manager. Don’t forget your time has value. It is probably not worth my time to speak to a manager over (1) .25 coupon. I know that most deals come around again and my pantry is stocked so I don’t sweat the small stuff as much anymore. You have to determine how much your time is worth.

Be assertive not nasty when speaking with the manager. Usually managers are more informed about the coupon policies than cashiers. It never hurts to ask for a manager.

Having a corporate coupon policy is always helpful. Just remember a store has the right to refuse any coupon or change their policy at any time. You, however, have the right to contact their corporate headquarters.

Don’t be afraid to ask to remove an item off your receipt if they won’t accept your coupon. I’ve done this before for items I may not have bought at the price without the coupon before. If it is an item we need, I will still buy it and move on.

Final note, don’t be nervous about using your coupons. When I first started out, I got all clammy when I showed up at the cash register with a wad of my coupons. Now it is second nature and doesn’t bother me a bit. It also helps to arm yourself with coupon knowledge. The more you know, the more confident you will be in your couponing abilities.

The 15 Days of Couponing will guide you through the art of couponing. It is a skill that you can learn and maximize to the full potential to help your family and help others. So if you are interested in cutting your grocery budget in half or more stay tuned for the next edition!


  1. 25

    Jennie says

    I am always excited to hand over a stack of coupons. Before I used coupons, the cashiers would often ask ‘do you have any coupons?’ and I always said ‘no :(‘… I felt silly not saving any money like others in in front of me had.

    Now I use as many coupons as possible and am proud to do it!

  2. 26

    leela meema says

    I like to go shopping when the store is empty that way I dont feel rushed handing over my coupons. I go 7:30 Sunday Mornings.

    Also is it best to give coupons at the end or put the coupon with the item on the belt ?

    I agree scan out a friendly looking cashier it makes all the difference.

    Awesome site, THANKS

  3. 29

    EVELYN says

    “Offfreeprintablecoupon” is advertised NOW on TV but when I took my time to print it the web site said it had expired. Why are they able to run it on TV as current when it is expired? Do I need something to waste my time?

  4. 30

    carey says

    Ok Lady’s I’m a newbie got a question. I have a coupon for buy one get one free that cashier has to add amount to and it states one coupon per purchase since i’m getting two items can i use two coupons and get both for free? I’ve used more then three coupons at a time that read buy three for .50 off. I just get nerves when checking out cause i feel I’m trying to cheat the system. Thanks ladys!

  5. 31

    Amanda says

    Theresa, I use multiple internet coupons at two Krogers in the Richmond area, so it is not a corporate thing. My friend did say our Kroger would not let her use more than two of the same internet printable coupon per transaction. I usually have at least two printable coupons of an item and then have newspaper coupons to supplement them. I love Kroger deals, so I am fine with that. I just went in yesterday and used several internet printable coupons. I would talk to corporate about that policy!

  6. 32

    Theresa says

    I went to Kroger here in Southeastern, VA for the first time last week and they told me Kroger only takes 2 internet coupons per transaction. I removed the other three items from the belt. I was only getting them because I had a coupon. She said that is why she asks for coupons first now. I asked if that was a corporate policy or just this store. She said corporate. Up to now, I have only used internet coupons. First thing Monday, I subscribed to our Sunday paper. I really love Kroger deals, so I will have to play by their rules.

    • 33

      Andrea says


      I’m not sure if that is truly a corporate policy. I use multiple internet printables at my local Dillons (which is Kroger owned), and they never blink an eye. If you are willing to change your process, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it. But I would try another Kroger store and see if they have the same policy.

  7. 34

    Amy says

    I like my local Kroger and Walgreens, not my local CVS. I love it when the cashier asks, “Where can I get this coupon?”

  8. 35

    Michelle says

    I too feel odd when I hand over a bunch of coupons in the checkout. There are lots of accounts of bad coupon experiences (and I could add a few of my own) but last week when I handed over a stack the cashier cheered for me! She was talking to my son (who is 2) and said, “wow! Hooray Mom!” I won’t feel shy about coupons at that store again!

  9. 36

    Linda says

    Hello! I read the first 13 of your 15 days of couponing. That one was May 1st. Have you done 14 and 15 and they are not up? Just wondering. It is all very informative. Thanks.

  10. 37

    Amanda says

    Haha. I am getting better about it slowly, but I always get nervous at the register with my coupons. When I get nervous my hands get shaky and my stomach gets nervous. I guess I feel bad about getting stuff for free and sometime making money on deals, but it is all legal so we shouldn’t get worked up. Once a deal works, it is a natural high for me when I walk out of a store knowing how much I got and how little I paid (as I am sure is with all couponers). I love coupons!!!

  11. 38

    Katie says

    Thanks! I’m anotherone that breaks out in a sweat when it comes to checkout time… so funny how nervous I get! thanks again… it helps! :)

  12. 39

    Jill G -Kokomo says

    Ladies ….does anyone in the Kokomo area have any problems using the internet coupons in any of the stores…? I’ve never tried using them….I’m new to them I’ve aways just used the ones from the sunday paper….so I’m anxious about them turning them down cause I have some really good deals….


  13. 41

    Julie says

    I haven’t had many problems at my usual stores. If I go to a store where I don’t shop often and I have a coupon that might present a problem, I usually go to Customer Service first and ask. Every time I’ve done that, CS okayed what I wanted to do so the cashier just put the potentially problematic coupons through.

  14. 42


    Actually, I almost had my free Speedstick coupon denied at Meijer yesterday. The cashier said it came up ineligible. So, I volunteered to take the deodorant (after she took it off my order) to customer service, and I had them ring it up there. They had to ask the manager, but I was OK with that, since there are a lot of fraudulent free item coupons. I was able to use it in the end.

    The only thing that made me a bit concerned was that the customer service girl at Meijer told me they don’t take internet printables. What? I’ve always used them there (and this was the first time I had problems. I plan on e-mailing corporate about that.

    • 43

      Kari says

      I don’t have any problems at all with internet printables at Meijer or Kroger in Southern Indiana. I haven’t tried to use one at Wal-mart in about 2 years so I don’t know how it is there in Southern Indiana.

  15. 45

    Shannon says

    Thanks for your encouragement, Briana! It helps to know that I’m not the only one that gets all clammy when the cashier looks at me cross-eyed.

    Just the other day I had a bad experience at Target. I was buying 12 of the same items with 12 Target coupons. She refused to take more than one coupon per transaction, even though I knew she could (the coupon says only one per transaction, but most cashiers don’t hold to that rule). So, I calmly said that I understand and that I would be making 12 separate 53-cent transactions. It made her mad, but I didn’t think it was fair that she was singling me out. If they are going to start holding to that policy, they should do it for everyone, every time. Needless to say, I was all worked up after that!

    • 46

      Angie says

      I, too, had a bad experience at Target a couple of months ago. I had two $4 coupons for Glade candles, and when you purchased two, you get a Target gift card for $5, making this a money maker. The cashier rang up both candles; I handed her the two coupons and she proceeded to activate the $5 gift card. She scanned both coupons and the balance showed $2.14. Then she called a manager over and the manager said that I could only purchase 1 candle and use 1 coupon per transaction. I was ready to do two transactions, but to get the $5 gift card, you had to purchase both in the same transaction. So I said bye bye to this Target and walked away.

  16. 47

    Bargain Briana says

    I’ve done separate transactions like that before at Walgreens when they try to say you can’t use more than X amount of coupons. Golly gee, more work for you! Or I can just go to my car and come back in 10xs!

    I try to have more patience anymore, though, because I know some people are just lacking in coupon knowledge and/or I get so many deals it isn’t worth getting upset!

    I don’t do much of Target because I had a bad experience there one time…lol…I don’t give stores much a chance. he he!

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