I hate coupon shoppers....when they're in front of me

Today was a true test of patience and, more importantly, my belief in our system.

I was in line at Office Depot to purchase a scanner. The woman in front of me had a cart full of office supplies and a purse full of coupons. She meticulously went through each coupon and item. She grouped her items to get the best deal and paid for each group before proceeding to the next (e.g., $10 off $50 so she had multiple independent $51 purchases). It was a beautiful process but, as the next person in line, I was frustrated.

I said to myself, “Can’t she use those coupons later!”, “How much could she really be saving.”, “You must be kidding me….this is taking forever.” Yes, I had all the thoughts (and more), as did many others in the line.

But, the lady’s response trumped our collective frustration. She never glanced back at the line. I could tell she was thinking, “unless you’re paying for this, I’m taking my time.” She was incredibly polite to the register clerk. She was well organized with her coupons and items. In reality, the only reason it took her so much time (which was probably ~10 minutes) was the sheer volume of items she was buying.

A few things I liked about her approach:

  • Well organized – she knew how her coupons worked together and the restrictions
  • Divided her purchases –she had ‘groups’ of purchases ready in the cart to take full advantage
  • Forewarned the clerk – she told him that she had multiple purchases with multiple coupons so the manager was nearby
  • Stayed polite – There was lots of ‘huffin and puffin’ in the line but she didn’t care. She saved a ton.

In the end, the woman walked out with ~$250 of items for under $100! She didn’t worry about how she looked to others, she played by the rules and stayed focused. Her benefit far exceeded my irritation. Not to mention, I had a few coupons for my purchase as well.

Have you been held up by a fanatic couponer? What’s your approach to using coupons in the store?