As a couponing rookie, I have made a few blunders that have made my totals double or triple what they should have been. This past Friday (see Mega Sale entry) my total was over $16 with tax. I was confused how it could be so high (yes, $16 is great for all that product but I knew it should have been less; all my items were free or 50 cents) yet I walked out of the store. Actually, I walked out of the store...walked back in thinking hmm maybe they did not take off for my Mega...and walked back out. It was not until I seriously went over my receipt calculating how much I saved that I noticed a glaring $6.79 for Motrin PM when it was supposed to be 49 cents after coupons and the sale! I could have bought twelve 20 counts for that much! Half my purchase was medicine, the other half was dog food, chicken, etc! Ouch.
Usually there IS a magic eraser for these mistakes. They make you sick when they happen; you try so hard to save money, clip coupons, watch for sales, and then a mistake like this costs you, literally. Luckily, there are customer service stations at every store and so far, I have yet to experience someone who would not help me. Today I went back, explained that I grabbed the 40 count and not the 20 count, and asked to return the medicine. They asked if I used coupons, I said "yes, this $2 one" and pointed it out. I received my $5.49 back in cash and felt much better. My total out of pocket was less and I saved much more. Had I needed the medicine and it was an emergency, I may pay that, but I was just using it to stock up. Stocking up at $6.49 is not acceptable. :) 49 cents, yes, $6.49, no way.
These mistakes will happen when you are new. I am 2.5 months in and clearly still make these mistakes. Last week for example (Mega Lessons) you can see I had another mistake happen. To fix it? I waltzed to customer service and got my $5 in cash. I just asked politely with a smile. It does take away from the excitement of your total when these mess up, but sometimes you need to be burned to realize fire is hot.
These two mistakes have happened at Kroger because I am not as familiar with the store as I am with CVS and Publix. I really only shop Kroger for extreme sales like the Mega sale. But I have had similar whoopsy's at Publix as well. I remember 2-3 weeks in to couponing I had $1 off 2 Ken's Steakhouse salad dressing. They were BOGO (buy on get one- meaning they were half off each) so I thought- WOW! That is amazing! I stocked up on 12 of them! I got home and realized my total was so high because I had calculated wrong. I thought the dressing would be 30 cents each, it was more around $1.30 each! Still cheaper than normal, but I did not need that much dressing and the expiration date was May 2011. It was overwhelming at first, but my husband mentioned I could try and return the items. Embarassed I went back to Publix; it was my stupidity, not theirs. (90% of the time the mess up is me, not them). The customer service rep happily gave me around $18 back in cash. I was confused because I had not spent that much. She explained she could not return my coupons, so they would refund me for my price before coupons. I ended up making money! I felt even more guilty, but she said it was ok because they get reimbursed for the coupons plus 8 cents so each one of us would be ok. I still never want to mess up again like that, but I learned!
So do not worry if you get that occasional high bill becuase you grabbed the wrong item for the sale or the wrong quanity count or you just calculated wrong. In the end, I have always been able to undo my mistakes. All it takes it a little double checking your receipts, some patience, a little bit of gas back to the store, and a smile with the customer service rep.