By Jill Cataldo, Coupon Queen, Published August 31 2012
Couponing at the world’s biggest grocer
But when they send email and ask questions about coupons, my readers name names. And I receive more questions by far about coupon policies at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. than I do for any other chain. So, this week and next, I’ll set aside my “no names” policy to answer the most-asked questions about the world’s largest grocer.
Using coupons at a Wal-Mart shouldn’t be much different from coupon-shopping anywhere else: use coupons, save money. Simple, right? But Wal-Mart’s coupon policy has some differences that are worth exploring.
Q: Is it true that you can get cash back for a coupon overage at Wal-Mart? I’m afraid to try to do this but I’d love to! – Glenda F.
A: Absolutely! Coupon overage occurs when the value of your coupon exceeds the cost of the item you’re buying. Here’s Wal-Mart’s policy: “If coupon value exceeds the price of the item, the excess may be given to the customer as cash or applied toward the basket purchase.”
Just this week, I purchased a 32-count bottle of aspirin at Wal-Mart for $2.22. I had a $3 coupon for any aspirin of this brand, 20-count or larger. Since the coupon exceeded the cost of the aspirin by 78 cents, I was entitled either to receive that extra money back in cash or to apply it to another item in my trip. I bought a pound of apples for 98 cents, and the register automatically applied the aspirin coupon overage to the bag of apples. I paid 20 cents for everything. Don’t be afraid to use coupon overage at Wal-Mart. It’s a great way to bring your total down at the register and apply that “free” money to other items you wish to buy.
Q: I heard that you can use Catalina coupons at Wal-Mart, but they don’t have Catalina machines in the checkout line. How does that work? – Sandi W.
A: While Wal-Mart does not offer the instant coupons that print at checkout, it does accept this type of coupon issued at other retailers, with a few restrictions. This is also covered in Wal-Mart’s coupon policy. Wal-Mart will accept Catalina coupons offered by a manufacturer for a specific product. The coupons must have a scannable bar code, remittance address and an expiration date.
So, for example, Wal-Mart would turn down a Catalina coupon issued by another store for $5 off your next order. However, Wal-Mart would accept a competitor-issued $1 Catalina coupon for a name-brand box of pasta.
Q: Cashiers at two Wal-Marts refused to accept my printed Internet coupons on the grounds that the product vendor won’t repay Wal-Mart. Has this ever happened to you or any of your readers? Is this true?
– John R.
A: “Does Wal-Mart accept printed Internet coupons?” is the single, most-often-asked question I get from readers about Wal-Mart. I have a plethora of reader emails detailing various instances of a Wal-Mart store turning down printable coupons. Once again, the answer can be found in Wal-Mart’s coupon policy: “We gladly accept print-at-home Internet coupons.” The policy goes on to state that the printable coupons must be valid, scannable and legible.
I’ve never heard of a Wal-Mart employee explaining that the store would not be reimbursed for Internet coupons. In fact, walmart.com even offers printable coupons. Why would Wal-Mart offer printable coupons online if it doesn’t accept them in stores?
To avoid problems redeeming printable coupons at Wal-Mart, print out a copy of the coupon policy from the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. corporate website (walmartstores.com) and carry it in your coupon wallet. It is Wal-Mart’s corporate policy to accept printable Internet coupons, and its stores should follow the policy.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.