Friday, March 11, 2011

How to Shop at Walgreens

Walgreens is a drugstore and general merchandise store that sells health and beauty items, as well as office supplies, toys and grocery items.  These are the terms you need to become familiar with when shopping at Walgreens:
  • Register Rewards: It’s a coupon for a discount of your next purchase order that prints at check out.
  • Monthly Coupon Booklet:  This is a small coupon booklet that contains Walgreens store coupons that can generally be found next to the weekly sales circulars.
  • Megasaver:  It’s a term that denotes items that are on a special sales price for a one month period.
  • Instant Value Coupons: or IVCs are Walgreens store coupons that can be found in the monthly coupon booklet or any other coupon booklets available.
  • 7 Day Coupons: These are Walgreens store coupons that can be found in the weekly sales circular.
  • Fillers: These are small and inexpensive items that are sometimes needed in order to be able to use a register reward on your transaction (read more about how the register treats register rewards below)

How to Get Free Stuff at Walgreens

1)  The first way to get free stuff at Walgreens is by taking advantage of Register Rewards promotions.  These register rewards usually require you to buy items, pay for the item and at checkout a coupon (register reward) prints that allows you to save on your next shopping transaction.
Register Rewards Facts:
  • You CAN use manufacturer coupons when taking advantage of register rewards promotions.  The use of manufacturer coupons will not prevent the register reward from printing.
  • Register rewards can not be rolled: this means that you can not use the register rewards you received from purchasing one item to buy more of the same item on a future transaction.  If you do this the second register rewards will not print.
  • Register rewards offers are usually one per transaction. For example: If the offer is buy one Bottle of Pantene Shampoo for $4.99 and receive one $4.99 register at checkout, only one $4.99 register rewards will print if you buy two or more.  You need to do separate transactions if you want to take advantage of the register rewards offer more than once.
  • Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons.  This means that they need an item to attach to.  This is often referred to as a the coupon/item ratio.  The coupon/item ration pertains ONLY to manufacturer coupons and the rule is: You need to have as many items as you have manufacturer coupons.  Please note that manufacturer coupons that read” $x off two or more items are considered two coupons.
  • Register Rewards generally expire within 2 weeks, so make sure to use them before then so as not to lose the money savings they provide.
2)  The second way to get free or cheap stuff is by combining Walgreens store coupons with manufacturer coupons.  Even though Walgreens store coupons may be labeled as manufacturer coupons, they are store coupons if their bar code starts with the number “0″ instead of the number “5″ that generally precedes the bar code of a manufacturer coupons.

Things to Remember When Shopping at Walgreens:

1) The key to a smooth shopping experience at Walgreens is planning your purchase in advance or develop “scenarios.”  This  plan of attack will help you maximize savings.
2)  The secret to minimizing your out of pocket expense is by breaking off your transactions and using register rewards from the first transaction on the second and so on.  Please remember to be polite and let others ahead of you if you have more than two transactions planned.
3)  There is a right way to hand your coupons when shopping at Walgreens: First hand Walgreens dollar off transaction coupons (except otherwise stated on the coupon), then manufacturer coupons, then Walgrens store coupons and finally your register rewards.
4)  Before you leave the store make sure to check your receipt and register rewards to verify that all register rewards and discounts you expected were awarded.  It is easier to correct situations right after you complete the transaction.

Walgreens FAQ:

  • My Register Rewards didn’t print, now what?
There are a few reasons why your RR didn’t print: you bought an item that was not eligible for the deal (type or size), the catalina machine was off, the RR deal had ended already or not started yet.  If you bought the right item, the catalina machine was on and you bought during the correct offer period then you can do two things:
1) Contact the Catalina company at 1-888-8 coupons.  Explain your situation and they should be able to send you the information you need to get your RR in the mail.
2) Return the product and surrender any RRs that may have printed.  Then rebuy the item at another register.
  • I had a horrible shopping experience, what do I do?
Your best course of actions is to call Walgreens Consumer Relations Toll-free (800) WALGREENS (800-925-4733). 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday and calmly explain what happened.
  • I let my Register Rewards expire, what can I do now?
The first thing you may want to do is ask your cashier if they accept expired register rewards.  However, it is very likely that they don’t and you are unfortunately out of luck.  Make sure to keep register rewards visible in your coupon holder to make sure you use them before they expire.
  • Does Walgreens have an official coupon policy?
Yes, they do!  They recently added this.  You can read the policy in its entirety here.  When I used a binder for my coupons, I kept a copy of this policy in the front of my binder at all times so that I could show store employees if they ever tried to make up excuses as to why I couldn't use coupons. I used to really, really not like shopping at Walgreens because store employees would always make up these really random, ridiculous reasons not to take coupons [i.e. "Only the PURPLE Gain is pictured on this coupon, so that's the only one you can buy."  wtf?].  Since they officially dropped this awesome policy, I have noticed a TREMENDOUS change in store employees attitudes.  Most employees are completely familiar with the policy by now.  If you begin regularly shopping at one or two different Walgreens, trust me, you will get to know your store employees very well.  I can go in any of the three Wags that I shop regularly and immediately know that my purchases will be drama-free when my favorite cashiers are there.  Also, if you DO become a serious Walgreens shopper and you fall in love with one or two of the cashiers, contact Walgreens via the "Contact Us" link on their website.  I have done this twice [and complained once about the horrible, awful experience I had right after the policy came out] and have been contacted by the store managers on each occassion to thank me for my feedback.  My two positive feedbacks were great -- both of the store managers contacted me, thanked me for my business, and offered to help any time I needed it.  On the horrible occassion, the store manager contacted me via e-mail, the district manager called me, and the store employee mailed an apology card to my house.  I wouldn't shop in that store for a really long time, but it is the most convenient one to my house and I've found myself in there several times since.  The store is now completely restaffed, and the store manager is amazingly nice.  I found out after my complaint that the store manager was brand new and he was in the process of re-training all of the employees because the former manager was truly terrible.  Since he has been there several months, the store has GREATLY improved and I am much more likely to go to that store.  Also, FYI to my Anderson readers, I hate to give away my secrets, but the stores on Greenville St. & Hwy. 24 are the best Walgreens in the world.  They are the coolest about coupons, and are willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy their customers.

Your turn now! Do you have any additional questions/topics I didn’t cover? Drop them in the comments section!

No comments:

Post a Comment