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Monday, January 19, 2009

My Personal Experience With Ingles Grocery Store

Many of you may be going to Ingles for the first time and I felt that I should share my personal opinion about Ingles and coupon usage in their store! I am describing situations that have happened in the Cartersville, GA store on Joe Frank Harris Parkway. Your store may be different than mine...and if that's the case, I wish your store WAS mine!

I am not very fond of Ingles for the most part! Occasionally, I will pick up really great sale items, but I NEVER purchase anything else from them! This is just my personal experience with them and you may have had better luck there! I know a handful of people here locally who also have issue with using coupons at the store on Joe Frank Harris Parkway.

I do follow their rules for doubling/tripling but it is a matter of customer service and the lack of knowledge throughout their staff on their own coupon policy that upsets me the most! The manager's can't even agree on what can be taken and what cannot! If I have a questionable coupon I take it to the manager first and then shop!

Here is why I have ALMOST boycotted Ingles!

Back in December I went into the store with 2 of the internet printable coupons for the Disney DVD's. The one's for $3 off! I was purchasing the movies for Christmas presents. I picked up 2 movies that were marked down and had a manager's special price on them! Before I even checked out I told the self check-out cashier that these coupons would probably beep since the regular bar code wasn't going to be scanned. I proceeded to explain that the reason they were going to beep was because their computers (cash registers) were not going to recognize that I had bought the DVD because an alternative bar code was used!

She took the coupon over to the manager on duty (Richard Stevens) and he walked up to me stating that he was not going to take the coupons because they were not real and that they had been copied! Furious with the acquisition that I committed coupon fraud I asked if they had internet connection capabilities at the store. Once he told me yes I explained to him that I could show him what site I printed the coupons out to prove their legitimacy. He looked at me...said NO...TURNED HIS BACK ON ME...and walked away! I walked straight up to the customer service desk and asked for the store manager. I placed my complaint with him on the issue at hand (customer service) and had him look at the coupons. I made sure that I wasn't demanding that the coupons be used but that there was an understanding of the coupon policy. Ingles does accept internet printable coupons and I wanted to know what made the other manager feel that I couldn't use them and why he thought that they were frauds. He said that these coupons were allowed, wasn't sure why the other manager did what he did, and took the amount off of my order and apologized for the other manager's actions.

When individuals are hired at grocery stores or any other place that accepts coupons they are trained on how to use the register. There are no training courses that they go through for coupon usage! I strongly feel that there should be at least something in their employee handbook, if not a brief training on what coupons they will and won't accept. Most people do not like to be proved wrong and immediately go into defense mode. I am very knowledgeable about our local coupon policies with each store and when situations arise (where they won't let me use a coupon etc) occasionally I will ask for a manager. I try not to make a big deal about it and mostly let things like this slide. I am a very nice person, even when someone accuses me of a crime (coupon fraud). I try to be as polite as I can to the person. I am never mean and absolutely never raise my voice at them. This would only make the situation worse!

If I have more than one "bump-in" at one store I usually go to the manager explaining that some cashiers practice one policy and some practice their own policies! Ingles is the only store in town (locally) that makes it seem like each cashier makes up their own version of the coupon policies. I get a different answer or problem each time I go in there! This is not the first time that this has happened in this store for me! I get disgusting looks when they see that I have coupons and have even had one high school girl sigh and say "you've got coupons?". Their customer service is horrible! I have only had 2 or 3 cashiers that have been pleasant in this store at the time I visit it! There is even 1 cashier who likes to come over to see how much I save each time I visited...she was very nice!

They are the only store that I have ever had a problem with. I go to Kroger, Publix, Walmart, CVS, KMART, RiteAid, and occasionally Target. I have yet to be questioned by anyone at any of these other stores! I just simply do not understand why Ingles has given coupon users a bad wrap and they don't either! I explained to the store manager how I felt about the customer service in his store on every occasion that had a problem in the past. HE couldn't even tell me why those things happened and suggested that I let him know the instant it happens! I don't go a tattle tale each time something doesn't go in my favor...that's life...but maybe I will let him know from now on! He did admit that there is no formal coupon training...NOT even for the managers!

In no way do I want to defer anyone from shopping at Ingles...I am just giving you a little heads up just in case you may experience these issue also during your visit with them!

I am planning on taking advatage of their triple coupon week.

In advance I have tallied up the total of the items that I will be purchasing to ensure that I had the correct total amount of money spent along with the correct amount of coupons to go with the amount spent!

I will be using 45 coupons and purchasing $150 worth of items! I expect to pay $70.60 plus tax and save approximately 60% on my total order! When I walk into the store I am going up to the customer service desk first and show them my plans for the purchase to ensure that their will be no confusion with my order! Hopefully taking this approach will allow my transaction to go much smoother than my previous trips with them.

I did take advantage of their last tripling event! My receipt was over 11 feet long and I had 167 coupons that I used in that order! I was their record breaker coupon user. The only other shopper that used near the amount of coupons that I used had 143 coupons in her order! It took me a very long time to check out but I really got some great deals! I may even run across some other deals while I am in their so be sure to check back with me! Since I don't take my coupons in with me I will be making a list of the coupons that I think will get me free or close to free items and check the shelf prices. I will make a second trip back if I feel I need to!

You can check out my last triples shopping trip here!


RJ said...

Hi Lissa! This is RJ. We met at Target the other evening. Love all the info on your site! I was wondering if you prefer using self-checkout or a cashier while shopping at Ingles with all your coupons. Also, I have been treated very rudely by one of the managers at Ingles on 113, which is my closest Ingles. I go out of my way to shop at the Acworth Ingles now.

Lissa said...

Hi RJ, I'm glad to hear from you!

I do use the self-checkout when I go into Ingles!

I try to stay clear of the rude cashiers (haven't had a nice one until this past week).

I never have a problem using the self-checkout. If I know that a coupon is going to beep (if it is more than the price of the product for example the Johnson's Buddies soap coupons that are $1 and the product is only .98) I go to the customer service desk before I check out that way I don't have any problems with the self-checkout cashier.

Each time I have an issue I call corporate but they just don't seem to do anything about it!

There is one manager in the store on Joe Frank Harries that is super sweet but she is rarely there when I shop. She uses coupons and seems to be the only understanding one at the store. She encourages the coupon use but the rest don't!

I have never had an issue at Kroger and Publix is in the process of changing their coupon policy (which was a little aggravating since they didn't post a notice on it).

I hope that you will see some deals at the other stores that may prevent you from going all the way to Acworth!

I hope to hear from you again! It was a pleasure meeting you!

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