Sunday, January 22, 2012

Family Dollar Surreal Coupon Experience

The Family Dollar stores have a DESERVED reputation for being hostile towards coupons. Some of the stores accept coupons with no problems but others act like they absolutely HATE coupons...and couponers. One Family Dollar store in Broward County, at the corner of Broward Blvd. and State Road 7, is especially notable for their hostility towards coupons and I normally avoid it like the plague. However, on Friday, I was looking for some easy laughs so I went to that particular store more for entertainment purposes than to get the product, Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Kits. Yes, I did get my comedic entertainment but at the same time I also entered a surreal Twilight Zone.

I came up to the cashier with four Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Kits and this is what happened after the cashier stared at my coupons as if they were radioactive objects from an alien planet:

ME: I believe those strange things are called "coupons."

Then the cashier left her post and rushed over to the manager in the back office for consultation.

The manager comes over to me with his "sincere" regrets:

MANAGER: Sorry, we can't use those coupons because they expired.

ME: Read the date on the coupons.

MANAGER: December 31.

ME: Right but what year?

MANAGER: December 31, 2012.

ME: So what's the problem?

MANAGER: They're expired.

ME: What year is this?

MANAGER: 2012.

ME: Right, so what's the problem?

MANAGER: They're expired.

ME: Not until the last day of THIS year.

MANAGER: Oh, I see now. They aren't expired. I'm sorry for the error.

Okay, so cashier is about to scan the coupons when ANOTHER manager comes up to us.

NEW MANAGER: I have to check these coupons first on the computer.

ME: For what?

NEW MANAGER: I have to make sure they're not fake.

ME: Ma'am, these coupons are printed on both sides on cardboard. Not printouts from the Web.

NEW MANAGER: I still have to make sure.

(Five minutes goes by while New Manager checks on the computer.)

ME: Can I use my coupons BEFORE they expire at the end of this year?

NEW MANAGER: Sorry. Okay those coupons aren't on our list.

ME: Good. Let's finish this purchase.

MANAGER: But first, I need to call the corporate office.

ME: What for?

NEW MANAGER: To make sure these coupons are okay.

ME: Right because obviously the North Koreans could be taking a break from forging hundred dollar bills by switching to forged $3 coupons. One just can't be too careful.

(New Manager talks on phone for several minutes.)

ME: Why do I feel like I am trapped in a rip in the space/time continuum?

NEW MANAGER: Okay, they couldn't find anything wrong with the coupons.

ME: You mean we can finally complete this purchase?

NEW MANAGER: Yes, but first I have to double check with someone else at corporate.

ME: Why do I feel like I travelled back in time 70 years to a train checkpoint in Occupied Europe? Achtung! Papieren!

(Confused look on New Manager's face.)

(Minutes go by)

NEW MANAGER: Okay, I think I can let you use the coupons.

ME: Are you sure you don't want to completely waste another 15 minutes of my time?

NEW MANAGER (to cashier): Go ahead and check him out with the coupons.

ME: Gee! I finally get to see what life is like on the other side of Checkpoint Charlie.


Some of you might have seen the 60 Minutes interview last Sunday with the founder, Andrew Mason. I've been using GroupOn for over a year and maybe it isn't a great business model for them but for us customers, some of the deals are absolutely spectacular. For example last week I got myself a propane tank refill for absolutely NOTHING using my GroupOn coupon that I "purchased" last summer using my GroupOn bucks which means the propane cost me NOTHING. Perhaps the GroupOn business model might ultimately fail which was hinted at during the program but for now the deals are fantastic for us so I'm not going to worry much about the future.

If you haven't already signed up with GroupOn, you can do so by clicking HERE. It's FREE to sign up and the deals are tailored to your geographic area.

After you use GroupOn the first time, I earn more GroupOn dollars so I can continue getting FREE stuff. You can do the same via referrals.