For Smart Couples…Forget the Recession! Learn how to pay 1960's Prices for everything from salad dressing to dressing up for a night out!

Greetings! Awesome tidbit of news for those of you that don’t already know; Giant Eagle is now accepting all competitor coupons. This means that you can snip, cut, clip or print coupons til you’re blue in the face from other grocery stores including Target, K-Mart, Walgreens, etc. and GE will gladly accept them (but not double them). Quick warning: avoid the self check-out aisles at all costs if you plan on using these coupons without severe delays/embarrassment.

I visited Giant Eagle today, and I was super-stoked to get free Bugles, Chex Mix and frozen veggies, not to mention super-cheap cheese, dips, pizza rolls, Lipton rice and pasta sides, etc. I had one coupon that I had printed from Target’s website. The two regular checkout lanes were backed-up, so for the first time in my life I headed over to the self checkout lane. I scanned a few coupons, and everything was going great. I felt proud of myself for venturing into the unknown. I felt like a pioneer. I should bypass the cashiers all the time, I thought.  Then I can avoid that “why are you making my job a living hell?” glare that some of them tend to give you when you hand over a stack of coupons that is roughly the thickness of Webster’s Dictionary.

I scanned my Ragu pasta sauce coupon. The scanner rejected this Target coupon like a demon rejects holy water. Lights were blinking. The machine stopped working. I was sure some kind of Artificial Intelligence defense mechanism was going to override the system and scramble my molecular structure with a laser gun. I stood in silence, trying to look inconspicuous with my wad of (non-competitor) coupons stacked up in front of me. Inconspicuous is hard to pull off when the lights above your head are blinking frantically and an automated voice keeps repeating “Help is on the way!” in a tone that is bordering on panicked.

After five embarassing minutes of this, a cashier finally came to rescue. Or not. Upon seeing my Target coupon (for 75 cents off two Ragu sauces) she proceeded to SCREAM (across every single other checkout lane), “She has COMPETITOR COUPONS in the self-check aisle. You can’t use COMPETITOR COUPONS here. Only in the REGULAR check-out!!” I lowered my head, feeling much like what I would imagine a guy would feel like if he were buying tampons for his wife and they did a price-check over the microphone. Every person, in every aisle, paused simultaneously to check out the chick who had the AUDACITY to try using a Target coupon in self-checkout. Their stares were long and ominous (or maybe I’m just paranoid.) The folks behind me in the self-checkout were glaring at me, as they probably assumed the self-checkout was the quickest place to go for a roll of toilet paper and a few TV dinners. Wrong. Did I mention this particular Giant Eagle only had one self-check lane open?

Long story short, after ANOTHER long, uncomfortable five minutes (and the help of another sales associate, and after that someone who I’m presuming was a manager), they literally had to transfer my whole order to a regular lane, manually deduct the rest of my coupon savings, and warn me adamantly to never, ever try to go through self-checkout with competitors coupons ever again. Trust me, GE, I never, ever will. I promise. Lesson learned.

This is just a helpful hint, folks. All kidding aside (although the incident was very embarrassing), I realize this coupon policy is new and the employees are probably still ironing out the kinks. And the manager was VERY helpful and lighthearted about the whole situation. No ill will against Giant Eagle at all.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up. I don’t want anyone to be late for work or to pick up the kids, just to save $1.50 on pasta sauce.

On a happy note, I got TONS of food for $17, and got $7 back in Steeler’s Bucks (and 10 cents off on gasoline).

All for the price of my pride. Happy Couponing! 🙂

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