What happened at Giant Eagle and tips for Ethical Couponing!


Many of you guys have been couponing for quite a while and know what’s right and wrong when it comes to using coupons, however, sometimes people just don’t know and if they did, they might do things differently.  I am in no way the coupon police and I don’t like to tell people what to do (other than my hubby and kids 😉 ), however, after what happened at Giant Eagle today, I thought I would just put this out there 🙂

I was checking to see if the Dole Crisps were still on sale for $2 today since they will only be 50¢ after the 75¢/1 coupon doubles.  I had my coupon cut to remind myself to check and I was excited to see that they were still $2 even thought I don’t particularly like these.

A lady next to me had picked up one of the dole crisps and then put it back.  Thinking that maybe she thought it was too costly, I said “here’s a coupon that I’m not using that will make that only 50¢!”  She said “thank-you” but didn’t take the dole crisps back off the shelf.  She proceeded to tell me that she will use it on this other dole product that she had in her buggy!!!  (UGH!)  I told her that  it’s only for the Crisps.  She said that she knew but that the register probably would take it anyway!!

I am kicking myself…I was just trying to be nice and share a coupon with someone and now they were gonna use it in an unethical way….however, this helps me understand why some stores scrutinize the coupons so closely!

*It is coupon fraud to use a coupon for an item it’s not intended for EVEN if it scans at the register.
Until the new barcodes are on all coupons, most likely a Suave Shampoo coupon will work on Suave deodorant, but it’s not ethical to use it on the deodorant if the coupon states Shampoo.

*It is okay to take a few coupons from a tear pad or blinkie machine within reason to use a different day or at a different store, but it’s good coupon manners to leave some for others.

*Peelies are different in my opinion.  I feel like a peelie is meant only for the product that it’s stuck to and you shouldn’t peel it off unless you are buying that product.  However, I’m sure many disagree with me :-).

*Do not leave internet printed coupons on the shelf for others to use.  We all like to be coupon fairies once in a while, but it’s a bad idea to leave ones you printed.  If an unethical couponer (or someone who just doesn’t know better) would take your coupon home and make copies, it can be traced back to you and your computer.

*Internet coupons usually have a limit of 1 or 2 per computer and can NEVER be copied.  Each one has a different ID number on it.  You can use multiple computers,phones and  iPads to print from to get more coupons.

Anyone else have any tips?  I would love to hear them!

One more thing….When I do my Giant Eagle Match Ups, I try my hardest to make sure the coupons match the item on sale.  Sometimes if I’m not certain, I’ll put “(if included)” so you guys know to check before buying.  If you ever are shopping and find one of my coupons was for the wrong size or item please know that it was an accident on my part and I am not meaning for a coupon to be used in an unethical way.

I love when you guys let me know that I had a coupon wrong and I can update the deals – My Readers truly ROCK!!


  1. I would like to say…Well said, Tammy! Thank you for the tip on the possible pitfall of leaving printables on the shelf. I know that I’ve done that before, thinking I might be helping someone out, and it could really backfire in the wrong hands. Great advice!

  2. I know several Giant Eagle and other grocery workers and they will tell you that coupon fraud is the number 2 reason that prices on products go up [number 1 being stealing products]. People need to stop the mentality that “if I throw a fit they’ll do what I want” because, in the end, if they didn’t always do that then the prices wouldn’t go up. Manufacturers do the same thing with the amount of coupons that they put out and their values. If people abuse them, they stop putting them out. I am all for using coupons as they are intended. But people who break the rules ruin it for everyone else. Thank you for bringing some awareness to a problem that most people probably think is dumb but don’t realize that it costs companies [and therefore us] millions of dollars a year.

  3. I would like to say… I love that you spread the word on coupon code of conduct! Haha I appreciate all you do and love your site! I get frustrated seeing others misuse coupons and giving those of us who follow the rules a bad name! I think what gets me most as far as couponing unethically is when someone uses a coupon to buy a product extremely cheap or free and clears or nearly clears shelves, then I find them reselling the items at flea markets, online, etc for more than it was even on sale for! That really upsets me!

  4. Thanks for the info, Tammy! A few weeks ago I was accused of photocopying printable coupons because they wouldn’t scan, and the cashier and manager looked at the wrong numbers that happened to be the exact same. I have never been so humiliated… I had JUST printed the two seperate coupons an hour ago, and I KNEW they weren’t photocopied. I insisted that they were wrong, and that I would NEVER do something so unethical and dumb. I pointed out that the actual numbers were different, and they said “oh, ok, nevermind.” Not even an apology… I don’t think most cashiers understand how seriously me take our couponing and our ethics. UGH!!

    Also… you talked about printing from phones and ipads… how do you do this??

    Thanks again for everything you do, Tammy! We would be lost without you!

  5. Tammy, thanks for your post. I don’t know what I would have done if she would have said that. I’ve had some really happy people when I give them the coupons. Wish I would have been with you today!! Just keep spreading the correct information. You are doing a great job!

  6. SMH… 🙁

    The other day I had 10 up2u gums at giant eagle (the $1/1 pack, making them free) and the girl scanned one and then observed the other 9 and and finally said “we can’t accept these, they’re photocopied because they have the same number” and me and my sister looked at each other trying not to laugh in horror. The manager came by and we had to explain how insert coupons have the same numbers and IP’s are the coupons that don’t. OMG right!


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