By: Revanche

January: It Never Hurts to Ask

February 6, 2010

From the readers

444 Express meets the insufficient funds monster! And has managed to prevent a promotional balance from garnering all the interest from the promo period on a card carrying a balance.

Abigail of I Pick Up Pennies: 1. My MIL is (finally!) quitting smoking. She has been using Kroger brand patches. She went to get another box of the step she was on. Couldn’t find it. Went to 3 more Fred Meyer’s and… nothing.

So she went up to the pharmacy and asked if they had any in the back. He said they were out. She mentioned they were out at 3 other stores. So he made a call. Turns out, they’re not going to make that step anymore.

She asked if he would give her the Nicoderm at the Kroger price. He said he didn’t think he could do that. She pointed out that it seemed unfair to pull the rug out from under people who had started the program with the generic. He thought about it, made a call, and gave her the generic price. Fifteen dollars saved — which is a big deal when you’re on disability!

2. We got Tim 3 pairs of sunglasses (he loses/breaks them a lot) and he wanted to get a case or two to keep them safe. So we headed over to Walmart’s optical store. As we were discussing the merits of various cases, an employee approached us. He had a case — nicer than the ones we were looking at, and it came with a cleaning cloth — that he had been given and wasn’t using. He just handed it to us. (So, okay, this wasn’t us asking, per se. But it was still pretty cool!)

3. At Macy’s the woman in front of us was using a $10 off coupon. I asked where she got it, she told me it was in that day’s paper. When it didn’t work for her, she offered it to us. It was supposed to stop working at 1 p.m. (It was about 1:10.) But we tried it anyway, and it worked. And I wouldn’t have gotten the coupon if I hadn’t asked the woman about it.

Karen – My lease was up for renewal and the management sent me a letter with my rent increase.  It was a 6% increase.  I have never renewed a lease so I am uncertain if this is a standard rate increase. Due to owning a dog greater than 25lbs and needing to live within a certain radius, my options are limited. I called the property manager and asked why my rent was going up 6%. I was told my rent was under market value and that it would still be under market value with the 6% increase. She asked if I was expecting no increase.  I wasn’t however I wasn’t expecting 6%.  She said she would look at my lease renewal and see what she could do.  She called back and offered a 4% increase instead.

Personal victories

Textbook madness:  With only two classes, I shouldn’t complain but I had ordered books in readiness for the new quarter only to be surprised with a different book on the syllabus posted on the first week of classes.  Mon Dieu, professor!  Why lead me astray so I’ve a useless book at the ready and naught to be used??

I emailed the instructor, hoping with my eyes squeezed shut that it was an old syllabus, that he’d neglected to update the text.  Alas, twasn’t the cast.  Crestfallen, I glared at the book. I had to find, and price- and shipping-times compare. Like Superman (Prime), like Optimus (Prime), Amazon Prime came to my rescue, the book priced just $2 less than the rental with a two-day ship time.

Unexpectedly, an email pinged in from the instructor.  He’d spoken with the course representative and suggested that we touch base for a reimbursement.  A few emails and a phone call later, the course representative agreed to reimburse me for the cost of the replacement book.  ($63)

But the saga doesn’t end there — I was expecting to hit the road and needed the replacement book to meet me at a halfway point. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I expected to see the new book within a couple of days, but it took me almost 48 hours to realize that the shipping address had reverted to my home address. Cuh-rap.  Another round of calls to Amazon to get the shipment rerouted turned into five calls and 16 hours of frustration.  Finally, I was offered a $10 discount from Amazon for their inability to help me (and for the previous CSRs lying to me). I spent half of it to get the book shipped to the right place.


Macy’s and the everlasting coupon: Like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Macy’s has become one of those retailers I won’t shop without a coupon.  They’re overpriced and reasonable only with a combination of sale, coupon and gift card.   Unfortunately, my friends insisted on making an impromptu stop without doing coupon research beforehand.  *the horror*

I looked up coupons on my iPhone, and asked the floor manager if they were willing to scan my phone since I couldn’t print a coupon.  He laughed at me saying, “You’re just trying to be difficult” and waved off the phone. Instead he manually entered a discount when he rang up the purchase, giving us 15% off every item instead of just 10% off Housewares.  Savings: $10.79

Hot Pot and VH’s butcher trick: A friend and I had hot pot plans for dinner, but I was too tired to shop at the Asian grocery store, Trader Joe’s, the produce place, AND Safeway.  We needed thinly sliced pork, though, and usually there’s no call for that at a regular grocery store.  My only option seemed to be buying pork chops at $4/lb and slicing thin strips off the chops.

Instead, I talked to the butcher at Safeway, explained what I needed and lo, he led me straight to the pork shoulder, on sale for 99 cents/pound and offered to slice it up for me.  I should have gotten a few pounds of the pork and frozen it for later at that price!  He saved me both an extra trip and 75% off the meat.

As always, every little bit counts! And as always, I welcome your sharing! 

7 Responses to “January: It Never Hurts to Ask”

  1. I also refuse to shop almost ANY store without a coupon. Macy’s, Kohl’s and BB&B are my top coupon-needing places.

  2. Nice examples! From working at a big box retailer this holiday I learned that they honor those coupons that expire at 1:00 even until like 2:30. Also, if you are at a store and you don’t have the coupon that’s in the sunday supplement ask the cashier and they may have one taped to their kiosk or they can manually enter it for you.

  3. Most grocery stores have a butcher in house and if you inquire politely they are always willing to slice a roast, ham, turkey, etc.

  4. Stores that offer coupons ALL the time no doubt build the discount into their pricing. So you really should use them. Another reason to love Big Lots: they don’t take coupons at all, except for the occasional in-house ones.

    Great stories by the way. Sometimes these customer service issues are so time-consuming.

  5. What a lot of nice lagniappes! Your experience with the textbook definitely wins the first prize.

  6. eemusings says:

    I just called my phone/internet company to get a late fee waived (Post office effed up and didn’t process my payment till after the bill due date…), which I assumed I would get slapped with. But apparently it’s all gravy. Woohoo!

  7. Revanche says:

    @RainyDaySaver: Ah yes, I forgot about Kohl’s! Definitely a coupon + sales shop.

    @SeeJaneGetRich: I didn’t know about the extended time limit on those coupons. Good to know!

    @Converting a Spendthrift: I’ve have trouble with *ahem* lazy butcher who refused to work on some cuts for me.

    @Frugal Scholar: I do like Big Lots too, but I can’t shake the feeling that their prices aren’t as low as when they were Pic’n’Save.

    @Funny About Money: Thanks! 🙂

    @eemusings: Lovely!

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