Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kmart: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

First, the GOOD news.
Once again tomorrow (8/30-9/5) holds the promise of $2 doubled coupons, where a $2 coupon magically transforms into a $4 coupon in the land of Kmart Super Doubles.

Yes, there are rules for shopping...
1. Kmart allows coupon spenders to use up to 10 coupons per day/ up to 4 identical coupons.
2. Coupon spenders must purchase at least $25 worth of merchandise before coupons to be eligible to have your coupons doubled.
3. Internet printable coupons are allowed.

My suggestions...
1. Shop early in the week before the shelves are cleared of all of the goodies... Kmart does not restock well.
2. Check out for an extensive list of coupon matched items... keep in mind she is using prices from another region.
3. Bring a friend along... shopping is more fun with companions!

The BAD news:
Sadly, the entire blogosphere claims that this may be the last Kmart Super Doubles for 2009. I talked with a customer service rep. at a local store several months ago and she shared this very same info with me... although, at that time it was strictly speculation.

All of this info leads me to the UGLY:
This same customer service rep. let me know why Kmart had been continuously tightening their Super Doubles list of rules and exclusions. It seems that too many Kmart customers were purchasing carts brimming with awesome coupon deal items- only to return to the store the following day to return most (sometimes ALL) of the items purchased just to get the cash!

Let me explain. When you purchase an item with a coupon, the coupon becomes the store's property- which they then are reimbursed by the manufacturer for. After your coupons leave your possession you may NEVER have them back.

So when you return an item, the store is obligated to give you the cash value of the coupon that you spent since they are unable to return your coupon to you... do you see where I am going with this?

Kmart has been experiencing extreme coupon fraud, and FYI, Kmart is prosecuting local shoppers.

I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a few thoughts about returning items since not all returns are fraudulent in nature.

An occasional return for a justifiable reason is OK. It's human to accidentally pick up the wrong item, or to decide that you don't care for a particular item. One return in a 'Blue Moon' is fine. If you find that you are constantly retuning items ask yourself if it is really worth it!

Unfortunately many couponners are taking advantage of the 'get cash for your coupons' in returning items. This really is an addiction for some and it can lead to court, hefty fines and even jail time... yep it is happening here in Oakland County MI.

I'm asking each of you to be aware of your intentions in returning items to the store in which they were purchased.

Here is how I personally handle unwanted/unneeded items that I have purchased.

1. If I have purchased 6 bottles of shampoo on sale and with coupons, and the shampoo makes my scalp itch like crazy-then I would return it to the store. I would bring my receipt and I'd let the store know why I was returning the shampoo AND that I had spent coupons as part of my payment method. The store will still have to give me what I had spent plus the coupon value back to me, but I will offer to take store credit- so I can respect that store by keeping the money with them.

2. If I have purchased 6 bottles of shampoo on sale and with coupons and I just don't care for the shampoo since it makes my hair flat... then I will either find a friend who likes that shampoo and give it to her, I may use the shampoo as a substitute for shaving cream on my legs or I will donate the unopened bottles to my local food pantry.

The difference between the two scenarios above is whether or not the item can be safely passed on to another person or use in your home.

I think that if you were NOT a 'return items kind of shopper' before you began using coupons, than you really need to take a moment to evaluate why you are returning now that you spend coupons. Could you find a new home for the product? Or do you just want your money plus the additional coupon money in your wallet?