Dear Safeway…

safeway, Uncategorized / Friday, February 10th, 2012

Well, this evening I was terribly disappointed at my local Safeway. I was informed that the store will not accept coupons which make the price of the item less than 50% of it’s original price. Seriously??!! This is completely contrary to Safeway’s coupon policy.

So, I wrote Safeway a nice little letter through their website.

Dear Safeway,

I frequently shop at store #1369 located at 909 Thayer Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910. It is near my home and the employees are friendly. I am an avid couponer and the coupons allow me to stretch my meager grocery budget to help make ends meet each month. I have never had a problem with this Safeway store accepting my coupons, even when my purchase has included many free or heavily discounted items based on combining the coupons with store sales. In fact, I have always considered Safeway quite coupon friendly.

Unfortunately, this evening I was told by Tali, one of the managers, that the store does not accept coupons which are valued at more than half the price of the item. For example, I was purchasing Yoplait lactose free yogurt which was on sale for $.69 a cup. I had a $.30 cents off coupon which she told me I could not use on the yogurt. My store doubles coupons so the value of the coupon would have been $.60, making the yogurt only $.09.

I informed Tali that this policy is contrary to Safeway’s stated coupon policy on your corporate website. She told me that it is the store’s policy and she would not let me use my coupon. I frequently shop using coupons which allow me to purchase items for less than 50% of their normal price. In fact, I count on being able to use coupons to be able to buy the groceries I need.

I feel that this sudden store change in coupon policy is discriminatory to couponers. I felt embarassed and upset that I was being targeted with this unfair policy. I left the store without purchasing anything at all and I will not return to this location if this policy is in force.

Can you please tell me why this policy has suddenly changed or if this is just a single store’s policy change? Can a single store make such a drastic policy change?

I would greatly appreciate your feedback. I have been a loyal Safeway shopper for many years and am terribly disappointed at this turn of events.


Has this ever happened to you?

Looks like I need to start doing some Giant coupon matchups now….

UPDATE Feb 10, 2012:

I received an email back this morning from Safeway corporate apologizing for my bad experience. They said that they would contact the store to resolve this issue. The store manager, John, called me and we reviewed the (apparently secret) coupon policy. The problem appears to be only with internet printed coupons.

Here’s what I learned:

There is an internal Safeway memo concerning internet printed coupons that the stores have but the online coupon policy does not reflect. Apparently it is not a new policy but many cashiers are unaware of it.

This internal memo is only in reference to internet printed coupons and it states that:

1) Safeway does not accept internet printed coupons for over $5.00 in value.
2) Safeway does not accept internet printed coupons for free products, except for Buy One, Get One coupons, which it does accept.
3) Safeway only allows 1 “like” internet printed coupon per customer. (Meaning that you can only use one of that printed coupon for that product but can use multiple different printed coupons for multiple different products)
4) Safeway does not accept internet printed coupons for more than 50% of the price of a product.

Points 1 and 2 are pretty standard, but 3 & 4 seem specifically directed to deter couponers looking to get a good deal on their groceries. I informed the manager that this seemed wholly unfair and that the store gets reimbursed the value of the coupon plus an $.08 handling fee, so the store does not take a loss to accept coupons. Understandably there is concern over fraudulent coupons, but is my $1.00 off coupon really gonna be fake??!!

This new policy means that you cannot use an internet printable coupon for $1.00 off Triscuits (for example) when the price of Triscuits is less than $2.00. So when it’s on sale for $1.99 and you could get it for $.99, no can-do if you have a internet printed coupon. Those other paper coupons also issued by the manufacturer, yep, you can use those.

So, now I have to start planning my shopping trips entirely at another store or with many less internet printed coupons. Sigh.

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