Despite planning purchases ahead of time, you may find yourself, like I did, stuck in a store with a kid begging for a new toy from the “holiday shop.” As you can see from the pic above, Big Boy fell in love with the stuffed penguin at Whole Foods. Normally I would say no and move on, but I acquiesced when he found a coupon for 20% off in the Whole Foods holiday shop and calculated that he had just enough allowance money to cover the purchase.
Imagine my surprise when we hit the register only to hear the check-out clerk tell us that the coupon had expired the day prior. Sure enough, there it was printed clearly enough for all to see—except this harried Mom with two kids in tow.
When I asked him why the coupons were on display in the shop, he apologized but said the coupon would not ring through his register because it was expired. By this point, Big Boy’s smile had disappeared and he was sobbing. A happy occasion was ruined.
Never one to give up, I explained to Big Boy that this was an opportunity to learn about customer service and consumer rights. One of the many reasons I shop at Whole Foods is because their customer service is uniformly excellent. When I explained the situation to the customer service rep, she put the coupon through the register, and gladly offered Big Boy more than $5.00 off the purchase price.
Take our experience to heart, and remember this:
1) If a store is promoting in-store coupons next to a display, they owe you the reduction – even if the expiration date is past. It is their responsibility to end the promotion when it expires.
2) If a clerk cannot resolve your problem, take it to customer service, where the workers are typically more empowered to help frustrated shoppers. Yes, it will take a few minutes of your time, but you’ll be saving money and passing along important lessons in money management to your children.
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