Coupon discrimination AKA Bad Customer Service

Today I got a parcel notice. Nothing new, I get these often. So I headed into town to pick up my package. Having cleaned out my purse I noticed I had two coupons for dog food. The coupons were for free .5lb sample bags worth $2.99 each. I had looked up where this dog food was available and noticed it was close to the post office. Figuring it was a good time to have my senior dog try out some new food, I brought the coupons with me. 

I pulled up to the small store located in my small town. My boys waited in the car with the windows open in the shade (they are teens and prefer to wait) My four year old jumped out and came in with me. The lady who was working there, an older lady maybe in her late 50’s to mid 60’s was busy with a customer. They were laughing and talking about the customer’s dog that was there. So DD and I went over to the dog food isle and started looking around. There was lots of cool toys and an awesome sleeping crate I wanted to tell my friend about for her small dogs. There was also a lot of pricey high end dog food. 

We are happy with our current food , however having three dogs they each have different needs. So when I can try out something new for my senior dog, I do. 

When the customer and his dog left the lady working there came up to me and smiled. Asked me if she could help me out. She seemed pleasant. I showed her my coupon and I asked if she could help me find it.

She said they did not carry this size but she could give me $3 off a big bag of food.  

I replied that I was not interested in a big bag. It was for my older dog and I wanted to have her try it out as she was a picky eater. I then said I had looked online and saw they carried this food and that was the reason I was there. I was local and happy I found them. I have three dogs and would surely be back. 

She then took the coupon out of my hand and looked at it. If you use coupons, you know the look. It is the look of someone thinking you are trying to rip them off. She walked over to the counter and I followed her. I assumed she was looking for the sample bags. All the time my 4 year old was in tow. I look over to a table and see the size bags I think the coupon is for. I pick one up and say “Oh I found one”

She snatched it out of my hand ( not kidding) and snapped at me. “This is not the right size!” I showed her it was and asked if there was another. She then said she could not let me use the coupon and I would have to come back when the owner was there. Well, up until this point I assumed she was the owner. I asked her “why?” She said she has never seen this kind of coupon before and could not let me rip her off. 

I asked her to call the owner as I drove into town and would prefer to shop local. After all the company will reimburse them. 

Her next statement shocked me

“You can not wait to get your free stuff can you!?!” She said in the rudest tone I have ever heard. “Pardon?” I replied.

She then went on and said I interrupted her with a “paying customer” and was “aggressive ” towards her. 

I kind of laughed as she said this. This was not the case at all. I truly believe in treating people the way I expect to be treated. This was a coupon. No big deal. I would use it next time I was in the city. I then took a picture of the sample size so I could show the owner it was in fact there and inquire why I could not redeem the coupon when the employee had offered money off just a few minutes before. 

The woman at the store became extremely aggressive and very threatening. Told me she was going to call the police on me. I asked her , her name and she would not tell me. So I took a pic of her too lol

A part of me wants to call the owner and a part of me wants to call the company who issued the coupon. I am really not sure what to do.  I was scared and embarrassed at her actions. 

As a blogger I often get coupons to check out a product. I know the drill and make sure I know all the information I need to know about the product, coupon and routine of using it. Before blogging I used coupons. I am not new to coupons. I am not new to rude people when it comes to coupons. But this really shocked me. 

What would you do? I seriously was not rude or aggressive to this woman. She really freaked out my daughter.

Have you had a bad coupon experience? 


  1. I would contact the owner and see what his/her reaction is. That will tell you if this is a store policy or just a rude salesperson. If it’s a store policy, I’d never return and call the company and complain. Terrible way to do business.

  2. Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry to hear that you had to go through that Kim. I have never been in that situation (thankfully!) and would be so upset if I encountered bad customer service like that. I would definitely wait and talk to the owner of the store AND contact the company who issued the coupon. She should not have treated you in that way, and there's no excuse for it. I hope it gets resolved for you 🙁 Definitely contact the owner though, as I'm hoping he would not want an employee displaying that type of behaviour in his/her store. I use coupons often as well, and although there's the odd time I get that "look" you mentioned, they're always courteous and I haven't had any issues.
    My recent post ePost from Canada Post – Eliminate Paper Waste! #shop #cbias

  3. Wow! that's terrible! I know that look too, and I'm usually super organized with my coupons so never too worried. Once in a while you do get that kind of salesperson though, usually not that bad!!! That kind of treatment is just crazy – I'd let the owner, and the issuer of the coupon know for sure. 🙁 Sad for your daughter to have to witness that kind of behavior.
    My recent post Sneak Peek at Checkout51 offers

  4. Holy crap – as an avid couponer this is outrageous. Personally, I would contact the owner and tell him about the terrible customer service – then I would contact the company and tell them the store refused to honor the coupon.
    My recent post Stop Distracted Driving

  5. kyjardine says

    Wow! I work in the pet food industry and can never understand why a clerk would treat anyone this way! It's a small sample bag which Petcurean (a fantastic company!) makes so people an TRY the food and hopefully switch to their brand…same reason most other companies do samples/coupons! I am sorry she treated you this way, as really, it's not an expensive item! crazy! I know the owner of the store I work at (also locally owned/operated!) would want to hear about an experience like this! And I would contact Petcurean as well, they are a great company who, I'm sure, would want to know how they are being portrayed in local stores.

  6. mommakoala says

    Call the company and the owner. The owner is responsible for their employee's conduct, and obviously this person is an undesirable.

  7. I would contact the owner and let us all know how he handles the situation. Post a follow-up on the blog. I think he needs to go above just letting you use the coupons to satisfy you having to deal with all of this. If he does not, post the photos, store name, manager name and we can help let them know that this is not OK.

  8. I would do both personally. I would contact the store owner probably by email if possible (I'm a chicken when it comes to dealing with issues like this and prefer this as I have a tendency to cry when frustrated) and I would definitely call or email the company that issued the coupon (never know you could get an even better coupon for your time and trouble0

  9. As a regular user of coupons I am very thankful I have never had this kind of service, lots of rolling eyes but this is WAY beyond that! I would call the owner and the company both.
    My recent post 5 Simple Recipes for the Last 10 Days of Ramadan and a Giveaway

  10. I would contact both the owner and the company.
    The owner needs to know a customer was treated badly in their store.
    The company needs to know that they may have lost a potential new
    customer, and why.
    She may treat other people this way as well, and if no one says anything
    she will continue to do so.

  11. I have never had an experience like that. I can't believe that woman acting like that toward you. I could see if it was a printed coupon from the computer… but those are clearly company issued. I would speak with the owner and definitely let him/her know how she treated you.

  12. yup, I've had a number of rude cashiers but that really takes the cake!
    My recent post Monsters University Inspired Craft with a @KinderCanada treat! #KinderMom

  13. Absolutely contact the owner! The store will be reimbursed by the company for the coupon, so you're not harming their bottom line… unless they're too lazy to go through the process. I'd also mention her threat to call the cops. If the owner is just as arrogant and ignorant, be sure to let them know you'll be mentioning this incident to the Better Business Bureau as well as on social media – that seems to bring a lot of business owners back down to earth these days.

  14. That is awful customer service! I have never had something like that happen. For the most part the cashier usually asks me where I got the coupons because they would like to get them too. I often get the WOW that was great deal statement from them. Sorry to hear about your experience_

  15. I would definitely call the owner! As a business owner myself, I wouldn't want my employees representing ME like THAT! How rude. 🙁
    My recent post Car Crashes, Vomit, and Evacuations: The Craziest Weekend I’ve Ever Had

  16. christel says

    oh most definitely contact the owner. He or she needs to know what their employee is doing. They will also be very aware that customers share poor service stories with many many other people. A small business, especially in a small town, cannot afford a bad rep.

  17. Violeta Gill says

    I would call the owner. The employee was out of line!

  18. Sydney D says

    You know the look! LOL yes I know the look haha! Don't call the people who distributed the coupon. If it has a proper mailing address you should be calling the owner and tell him how dissapointed you were with the service. Do you remember her name? Be sure to point that out as well too LOL.

  19. I would definitely contact the owner. Unfortunately the Dog Food company can't do much about who will and who won't accept their coupons. It's hilarious this employee was willing to lose a new customer over a $3 bag of Dog food! If I were the owner I would be horrified!
    My recent post Bernardin Home Canning Starter Kit Review & Giveaway

  20. Rip her off?? First off – it's $3, second, it's not her money one way or the other. She's the employee who gets a normal paycheck regardless of whether or not you use that coupon. Would LOVE to hear that police call, lol! Excuse me officer, she's trying to use a $3 coupon!! *rolls eyes* The company and owner should definitely be called, and you should ask them what they're going to do about this issue. The cashier/cs lady at the very least requires re-training on how to deal with customers and how to deal with coupons.
    My recent post HOW TO: Pack for Conferences (Including Printable Download)

  21. That is so obnoxious! She shouldn't be in customer service – period. The fact that she even mentioned calling the police is utterly insane. I'd totally call the owner – and then, if there is not an appropriate response/apology, I'd find a bunch of business/pet store online review sites and re-tell your story as often as possible. And also tell the owner that you'll me making a point of telling your story to at least 10 people a day for the next few weeks – and asking them to mention it to others – until the episode has sufficiently circulated. That lady was a wacko… refusing a coupon is one thing, but being a rude nutbar about it is a totally different story. good luck – really hope you get the result you are seeking.

  22. Yup, I know that look. They think you are trying to rip them off even though you take extra care to make sure you're playing by the rules by selecting the proper size, using it before the expiry date, etc. Unfortunately, you had a horrible experience – shocking, really. Perhaps the owner is unaware that this employee can behave this way. Personally, I'd go out of my way to never give that store any business again.

  23. nenasinclair says

    That woman should NOT be working with the public! I would have called the owner first chance I had and let them know what had happened. Too bad the conversation wasn't recorded! Wow,, I've never been treated that badly before! I've had some rude comments from cashiers over coupons, but nothing like that!

  24. Cathleen says

    I work for a larger retailer, and before you are too hard on anyone, let me explain "the look" you get when you are using your coupons. We must check for expiry date, making sure the product is the one mentioned on the coupon, and that it is indeed valid for use in Canada. All that tiny print is squeezed onto your little piece of paper. Should we accidentally accept an invalid coupon, you can be sure that it will affect our rating and hours assigned for work. We are happy to take your coupons and we even tell stories in the lunchroom about what great deals people have gotten. It does take more time to deal with coupons and has a negative effect on our scanning averages, so if you could make sure the coupon is placed on top of the item, it helps speed things up.
    Having said that, your experience with this woman was beyond rude and unacceptable. I would speak with the owner and let him know what happened.

  25. Ring the owner and show up in person. If you don't get an apology, post the name of the company.

Leave a Reply to Hollie Cancel reply