Welcome to an irreverent, not-at-all comprehensive blog about my couponing exploits in Montgomery County, Maryland, with some annoying cats sprinkled about. Try not to step on them; they get ever so cross. Also there may be some law stuff here and there, but not too much, because most law stuff is boring.

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Harris Teeter Super Double Coupons, Trip 2, plus a couponer review of Express Lane!

OMG, you guys. Today was insane. So this week through June 4, Express Lane is automatically free if you purchase at least $25 (before coupons). This is true even if you've used it before. I used it like two years ago and it was horrible. I had hoped it would have improved over the years. Unfortunately, overall it hasn't, at least from a couponer's standpoint.

In case you live under several cats and don't know what Express Lane is, it's kinda like grocery delivery except it's carryout. Well, not even really carryout per se: you drive up to the store and an employee carries the stuff you ordered online out to your car. You pay for your order from your front seat and then (ideally) drive off into the sunset. That's how it's SUPPOSED to work. If you're a couponer, it gets more complicated.

The pros of Express Lane: I placed my order this morning in the hopes of snagging some hard-to-get freebies that I knew would be gone by the time I drove out there after work. This trick was somewhat successful; a few items I purchased were indeed absent from the shelves when I walked through to grab a few more things after completing my Express Lane order.

Another unexpected bonus: I received a call at about 4pm (I had placed my order at 11am so I had hoped they would fill it earlier than that (see pro 1), but whatevs) from the employee filling my order to authorize some substitutes; she gave me larger sizes of many products - including the Feline Pine cat litter, Always pantiliners and Purina Cat Chow - for the same price as the sale items since they were out of those items! This never would have happened if I had been a regular in-store customer, y'all. But I don't know whether this is a regular perk for Express Lane shoppers, or if they were just being extra nice to me because it was the first order I had placed in years.

The cons of Express Lane: SO MANY CONS. The biggest issue: Using coupons. You can use coupons with Express Lane. Kinda. I'm still not quite sure how it's supposed to work. The employee who called me told me that typically what they do is take your coupons for that order and apply them to your NEXT Express Lane order. So I would pay full price now but receive my discount on my next order. I didn't care much for that, obviously. I didn't like paying in full upfront (and pretty much being forced to use - and the second time pay for - Express Lane), and I didn't like having to trust that the coupons would be counted up and applied to my next order correctly. The employee on the phone told me that I could also just bring the coupons to the customer service desk after the sale and they'd give me cash for them immediately. I held the store to that promise.

So after paying in full for my purchase, I went in and received cash back for my coupons. This actually worked out to my advantage because I received full credit for each coupon and its full double; a few of the items would have only doubled up to the cost of that item had they been scanned with purchase. Yay overage! For the most part all of my ZVRs came off my order too, except for the Kashi one, and I was manually credited for it.

But I found out why the Kashi ZVR didn't come off when I got home. There were several mistakes in my order. I in fact received no Kashi; I received 2 extra Bare Naked cereals instead. I received (and was charged for) 6 Yakisobas instead of the 4 I ordered. And instead of Chinet plastic cups, I received some no-name brand; the employee had cleared a substitution with me on this purchase during our phone call, but I had assumed she was talking about the same brand. So I ended up using some coupons on items I didn't actually purchase; and I inadvertently purchased 2 items I didn't use a coupon on (though I plan to rectify the latter tomorrow with a quick return/re-purchase at the customer service desk - I do have one more $1.00/2 Yakisoba coupon left, fortunately!).

In sum, while I likely came out ahead on this order with the free size upgrades and the full coupon redemptions, I still ended up with a headache at the end of it all. And I doubt they would keep accommodating me with these perks once they got used to me! I guess Express Lane was just not designed for couponers. Le sigh.

Now, onto the shopping trip! To simplify things, I'm not going to include the larger substituted sizes or any duplicates of items I purchased in the previous trip. The former of those is completely encompassed by the later anyhow, so there you go.

Bought 1 Barilla Meal $2.00, regularly $3.39
Used 1 $1.00/1 Internet printable coupon (Facebook.com)
Final Price: Free

Bought 3 Jiffy Time Popcorn $1.20 each, regularly $2.99 each
Used 1 $1.00/1 Internet printable coupon (no longer available to print)
And used 1 $1.00/2 manufacturer coupon from SS 5/19
or 1 $1.00/2 Internet printable coupon (HealthyPop.com; JollyTime.com)
Final Price: 3 Free

*Sign says you have to buy 5 total for the deal; you don't.*

Bought 1 Weber Grill Creations Seasoning 2.5-2.75 oz, $1.99, regularly $3.19
Used 1 $1.00/1 manufacturer coupon from RP 5/19
Final Price: Free

Bought 1 Hinode Rice Cups 8.8 oz $1.79, regularly $2.39
Used 1 $1.00/1 Internet printable coupon (Coupons.com; Facebook.com)
Final Price: Free

Bought 1 Always Ultra Pads 16 ct $2.99, regularly $3.99
Used 1 $1.00/1 manufacturer coupon from PG 4/28 (now expired); PG 6/3?
And used 1 $1.00/1 ZVR coupon
Final Price: Free

Bought 1 Veet Face Wax Strips 20 ct $3.99, regularly $4.49
Used 1 $2.00/1 Internet printable coupon (Veet.us; Facebook.com)
Final Price: Free

Bought 1 Sambazon Organic Juice 10.5 oz $2.99, regular price
Used 1 $2.00/1 Internet printable coupon (SurveyAnalytics.com)
Final Price: Free

Bought 2 Ortega Taco Seasoning $1.15 each, regular price
Used 1 $1.00/2 Internet printable coupon (Ortega.com)
Final Price: $0.30 ($0.15 each) for 2

Bought 1 Fig Newtons $2.24, regularly $4.49
Used 1 $1.00/1 Internet printable coupon (Facebook.com)
Final Price: $0.24

Bought 3 Barilla Penne $1.00 each, regularly $1.65 each
Used 1 $1.00/3 manufacturer coupon from SS 5/19
Final Price: $1.00 ($0.33 each) for 3

Bought 1 Purina Cat Chow Indoor Formula 3.15 lb $2.89, regularly $5.79
Used 1 $1.10/1 Internet printable coupon (CouponNetwork.com)
Final Price: $0.69

Bought 2 Pillsbury Crescent Rolls 8 ct $2.45 each, regularly $2.85 each
Used 1 $1.00/2 manufacturer coupon from SS 5/19
Final Price: $2.90 ($1.45 each) for 2

$52.64  Shelf price
- 29.56  Coupons
- 17.96  Discounts
=$5.12  90.3% savings off shelf price

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