I get this question quite frequently, so I thought it would be helpful to deal with it on the blog.
QUESTON: Can you use a “Buy 1 Quaker Oatmeal, Get $1 off produce” coupon along with the $2/1 Quaker Oatmeal printable available right now?
ANSWER: Think of coupons like stickers. The register requires a manufacturer’s coupon to “stick” or attach to a product. In most cases, the “Buy Product X, Get $1 off Product Y” coupon is coded to attach to the free product, leaving the product you paid for open for a cents off (or dollar off) coupon. This is why a scenario like this works:
Yoplait Yogurt on sale $1
Use BOGO Yoplait coupon — attaches to the “FREE” product
Use $1/1 Yoplait coupon — attaches to the product you are paying for
FREE after coupons
Now, some stores specifically forbid using both coupons, but all stores will be reimbursed by the manufacturer for both deductions.
But the scenario listed in the question poses a problem when the two coupons are scanned.
Quaker Oatmeal on sale $3
Buy 1 Oatmeal
Buy $1 worth of produce
Use $2/1 Quaker Oatmeal coupon
Use “Buy 1 Quaker Oatmeal, Get $1 off produce” coupon
FREE after coupons
Here’s the problem: It’s impossible for the manufacturer to code the “Buy Quaker Oatmeal, Get $1 off produce” coupon to actually attach to the produce since it’s a generic item, so it’s coded to attach to the Quaker Oatmeal.
The first coupon you scan will work fine (regardless of which coupon is scanned), but the second coupon will “beep” when scanned because there is not an item in the transaction for the register to assign it to. Unless the cashier “pushes the coupon through” you won’t be able to use both coupons.
You will run into this problem every time you try to use a dollar off coupon along with a “$ off a certain generic item” coupon — eggs, produce, meat — anything that cannot be specifically coded. If you want to use both coupons, your transaction must look like this:
Buy 2 Quaker Oatmeals = $6
Buy $1 worth of produce = $1
Use $2/1 Quaker Oatmeal coupon (-$2) — attaches to one oatmeal
Use “Buy 1 Quaker Oatmeal, Get $1 off produce” coupon (-$1) — attaches to the other oatmeal
$4 after coupons
Now you have a “beepless” transaction.
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