Ive always heard the saying, It never hurts to ask. As a self-admitted peacemaker, I struggle to ask for much of anything. I do not want to assume or to overstep when asking for things.
I have, however, come to learn that usually the worst thing that can happen when I ask a question is to simply hear the answer no.
So while it may not be comfortable to ask for things when I am out couponing, I have learned -- and now teach my children -- all they can say is no.
Earlier this month, I encountered a situation at my local Publix store. I did not have to ask anything -- I could have simply assumed the answer would be no. But because I asked the question, I left the store with more than $20 in free products. Let me explain.
Recently, my familys preferred brand of laundry detergent was on sale at a buy one get one free rate. Normally $5.99 per bottle, a bottle with 30 percent more detergent was now on sale for only $2.98.
I had five coupons for $2/2 products, so I planned to use those. I was planning to purchase 10 bottles.
With the coupons and sales plus the bonus size, I would get 13 bottles worth of detergent (which normally would cost more than $75) for about $20.
While flipping through the coupon box I noticed I had some coupons that would allow me to pick up a free box of the same companys fabric softener sheets when I purchased two of their detergents.
Knowing that I had the detergents in the buggy already, I looked for the fabric softener sheets. Unfortunately, my store did not have any of this brand of fabric softener sheets on the shelf. I walked to customer service, where I asked if she could check to see if the store carried this brand.
After she consulted a manager, she said they did not carry the fabric softener sheets I needed. At that point, I had the decision to choose to ask another question or to simply walk away. I felt as if my mouth were speaking without my head knowing what I was saying.
This is what I asked, In the past when I have had a free item coupon and your store did not carry that brand, a manager has allowed me to substitute the Publix brand. Could you please check to see if I could do that today?
I smiled widely at the customer service employee, and she looked down at the coupons, which I had already given her when she was checking to see if they stocked the product.
She asked, Are you just getting five free boxes? I replied affirmatively, and she said, Sure. No problem. Just tell your cashier that we said it was okay.
Standing on the other side of the conversation, I know it was the right thing to do -- to ask about the free box of Publix fabric softeners -- but it was not an easy thing to do. I sure do have a problem asking sometimes.
I really have come to understand that if I do not ask, the answer will always be no, and that if I will simply step out on that limb and ask the question, I will probably be rewarded positively.
In the end, I left my Publix with 10 bottles of detergent that had 30 percent more for free -- and I had five free boxes of fabric softener sheets as well. I paid just more than $20 for $100 in laundry supplies. It was a good visit to the store -- made better by my willingness to ask a question.
Do you ever have trouble asking for clarification on a coupon policy or for a reason why your coupon scenario has been turned down?
I would love to hear how you asked the right questions to get your issue resolved.
Rachael J. Mercer is a freelance writer and coupon workshop instructor living in McDonough. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.