IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD! Okay, not really. But here are some changes that you need to know about if you shop at Rite Aid:
1) Starting Sunday, September 2, +Up Rewards are set to begin loading electronically onto your card instead of printing at the end of your receipt. This is a bad thing. Couponers repeatedly ran into problems with this program when Rite Aid tested it in select markets last year. They had problems both with rewards not loading onto their cards correctly, as well as rewards applying to the transaction prematurely, before manufacturer/store coupons could be scanned! (The latter problem was somewhat fixed when the card was scanned AFTER the items and manufacturer/store coupons were). Also, you will have no choice as to which rewards are used (such as the ones that expire sooner) over others while you're IN the store (though you can go onto their web site and uncheck rewards that you don't want used on your next shopping trip. But most people won't be able to do that while IN the store after they've planned their transaction and are waiting in a long, long line).
But there's good news! You can OPT-OUT! This way your rewards will print onto your receipt as usual. You reportedly can do this two ways: either in store or via 1-800-RiteAid. I suggest the latter, and I suggest doing it next Thursday or Friday, as the store is claiming it may take a day or two for the opt-out to take effect. Also, by calling in, you will more quickly inform corporate that you too think this is just a TERRIBLE idea. Damn you, Rite Aid.
2) Unfortunately there's nothing we can do about this one: You will no longer be able to use +Up Rewards the same day as you receive them, even if you have them printed out instead of electronically added to your card. They now will not scan until the following morning.
This just means you will either have to buy everything in one transaction and just use all your old rewards from previous trips, or split your shopping trip into two days or more. Lame. Rite Aid is doing this to encourage more trips and, hopefully, more impulse purchases, so make sure you don't buy anything unplanned while you're there! Don't give them the sweet, sweet satisfaction.
3) Starting Thursday, August 30, Video Value coupons will only be available through the Wellness reward card log-in web site, as opposed to its own site. In other words, each Video Values account you have will have to be tied to a Wellness card account. Currently it's a completely different system with no connection to a Wellness card (in fact, you don't even technically have to have a card right now to use a Video Value coupon, though not having a Wellness card is just crazy talk. Let's pretend I didn't even bring it up!)
BUT I doubt either will be the case. Rite Aid is already making so many changes; I seriously doubt they bothered to completely change how registers will recognize and scan their coupons and +Up Rewards as well. My prediction: Once the rewards/coupons are printed, they will look and scan exactly as they do now.
Guess we'll find out soon enough. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!
9/3/12 UPDATE: I have confirmed that once the rewards and Video Value coupons print, they can still be used on any Wellness card account, not just the one on which they're earned, just like before. YAY!