Are you trying to redeem coupons in self-checkout lanes in your grocery store? Self-checkout or U-Scan lanes are becoming increasingly popular, and more stores are permitting customers to scan their own coupons. In theory, this shouldn’t pose a problem, especially for stores like Walmart who accept coupons only if their computers indicate that you have bought the proper products.
The problem arises from the fact that manufacturers make so many errors in encoding their coupons. So what do you do? Do you adhere to the English words, knowing that some coupons will not scan? Or do you rely on the barcodes, understanding that on some of these coupons the English product descriptions are not going to match to your shopping basket?
Common sense is your most useful tool. Common sense tells us that a $10 off Whitestrips coupon should not be used on a $.99 trial size Crest toothpaste, even if the coding matches. If the privilege of self-checkout is being abused, stores will take it away.
Some stores already have coupon controls programmed in self-checkout lanes. For example some stores limit the number of similar coupons in a transaction, limit the dollar value of an individual coupon, block certain codes from scanning, or even require manager authorization if total coupons exceed a certain percentage of your order value. Certainly other stores will follow in adding coupon controls in self-checkout lanes or else just implement policies like Kroger that have cashiers scan all coupons even in the self-checkout lanes.
If you have any doubts about your coupons, then go to a lane with a cashier. There are a number of perfectly valid coupons that just won’t scan and require a cashier override. Plus, in some stores with self-checkout, it can be a long, frustrating wait for a cashier to come help you. A human manned check-out can quickly resolve most coupon issues.
What is your experience with self-checkout lanes?