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November 6, 2013

How Do You Handle Passive-Aggressive Cashiers?

I just have to share with you guys one of the more entertaining experiences I've had at HEB lately!

As you know, I walk the store aisles once a week looking for new dollar deals, and today I spotted a really cool hanging coupon promoting the current $10 P&G catalina.

The bottom coupon on the group of five was for 75 cents off any tube of Crest 3D White, Pro-Health, or Clinical toothpaste -- with no size exclusions!

So I took three of the coupons, along with three of the 97 cent travel-size Crest Pro-Health toothpaste tubes, up to the register.

22 cents isn't the best price for toothpaste -- I prefer free! -- but it's certainly worth including in the dollar deals list!

Many regular readers know that I like to choose my cashier depending on who's smiling and talking with customers -- I figure those are the cashiers who have been around awhile, are well-trained, and know what they can and can't do per the HEB coupon policy.

Well, I didn't have any of those to choose from today.

All the cashiers running registers had their heads down, and weren't making eye contact with the customers.  So I picked the shortest line and hoped for the best.

I knew almost immediately that I had gone into the wrong line -- as soon as I had finished unloading my cart, my cashier got into an argument with the customer in front of me on whether he had understood the wording on his single yellow coupon he was trying to use.

(In my opinion, he didn't understand it and she was correct to deny it -- but I guarantee that customer will not be using coupons at HEB again after witnessing how she handled the interaction!)

What to do, though, when your cart is already unloaded at checkout?  I didn't feel like putting everything back into my cart and going to another cashier, so I decided I was going to gut it through.

So the customer in front of me left (after asking for his denied coupon back) and it was my turn up at the register.  My cashier scanned all 15 of my items, totaled my transaction, and took my coupons.

And looked at them.  And looked at them so more.

I knew I was in trouble when she got her reading glasses out before she even attempted to scan the coupons!

Now, this was not a particularly complicated transaction -- I had 10 coupons for 15 items, and every single coupon was either a yellow coupon or the Crest hangtag coupons that I had gotten in the store.

But before my cashier would scan a single coupon, she went through my now-bagged groceries to match up each item.

And she really didn't like the Crest coupons.  She read them out loud to herself twice and double-checked the amount of toothpaste I had bought before she decided to scan them.

They scanned.

That wasn't enough for my cashier.

As I was swiping my credit card, she took the coupons and went across to who I assume was her manager on duty.  And proceeded to have a conversation about how these coupons don't have sizes listed, and should she accept them?

I don't know if she planned to void my transaction if the manager had said no -- I'd already paid by this point and was just waiting for her to come back and print my receipt.

But the manager was not particularly concerned -- all she wanted to know was if they scanned.  Yes?  Okay, then.

So my cashier finally came back to her station, where a nice line had now built up behind me, printed my receipt, and let me get on my way.

What would you have done in this situation?  It's not that the cashier was particularly rude, exactly, and I totally understand that people don't want to accept coupons for the wrong items.

And at the end of the day, this was probably only an extra minute or two of delay, so it's not necessarily worth stewing over.  After all, she accepted the coupons!

But I kind of feel like a) she should have scanned the coupon first before turning into the Savings Detective, and b) if she wanted to have a clarifying conversation with her manager about it, she should have waited until I left, and ideally until there weren't customers around to overhear it.

Basically, experiences like this make me feel that this sort of cashier sees their primary job as loss prevention, and not customer service.  And it left me with a bad taste in my mouth -- especially since I had just left Trader Joe's right beforehand, where I had had a very positive experience checking out!

So how do you handle it when you have a coupon conflict in your HEB?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on my situation.


  1. Replies
    1. Actually, I was at the Lincoln Heights store this afternoon. Never had problems at that one before!

    2. No it was the southside on Nogalitos street...

    3. I went to HEB one time and the cashier saw the coupons in my hand and asked for them before and got each one to mash the coupons. Then did it again after then called someone to look at all the coupons it took about 30 mintues.

  2. The exact same thing happen to me yesterday but with the downy coupon she scanned everything even the downy coupons went threw, she showed the coupon to a few of the cashiers and they were reading it out load one of the cashiers were like there for downy detergent and I start to smile and told her theres no downy detergent there are only downy softeners she walked away, the cashier took my payment I left happy but frusterated at the same time cause by now there was a long line. I said to myself why did she had to call other cashiers while the coupon just went right straight threw with no problems.

    1. I agree. The coupon is scanning, which means that the computer was programmed as that being an acceptable item to use the coupon toward. Now, sometimes I have seen it beep, when it is clearly good, and chalk it up to the person who programs them just missing one. But, as everyday living gets costlier and raises being little to none, we have to keep squeezing a tight budget even tighter, and this is the best way. We are not trying to scam anyone, or resell. Just trying to get by without having to figure out what my family will do without.

    2. Clearly she was not having a good day. Maybe you should of told the manager how rudely she made you and the other customer feel, and let him know that you where at that other store, and the experience was much much better. I don't understand some cashiers I know its there job but some take it to the extreme like its coming off of there paycheck

    3. I have almost given up shopping at HEB completely. Everytime I try to use a coupon or 10 coupons I have trouble. My store here in WACO won't take coupons (manufacturer) if says available "at Walmart or at Target!!" I've tried to explain it to them but they have just flat out refused to take them. Im not sure where else to shop around here. Walmart is not my favorite and the Target here has coupon issues too.

  3. It happened to me the other day when I went shopping right after reading your post about Johnson and Johnson baby products. The cashier tried to insist that it was only for the diaper rash ointment you mentioned....but there was none in that size...ever. I also showed her the picture in the ad which was general. She tried to rush me off but I politely insisted that if it's in print it should be honored. Sometimes I feel like people really do judge couponers like we are white collar criminals trying to pull something over on someone. :/

  4. The reason I said Kitty Hawk was because they have gone DOWNHILL fast over their treatment of customers.

  5. OMG I used 2 Dove BOGO at heb yesterday and the cashier was loooud and kinda rude, she repeated several times: "this coupon states you can only use one but Im gonna take both this time" but I read the coupon and it says one coupon per item and 2 coupons like per tranaction, so I had 4 items and 2 coupons , hellooooooo, anyways usually heb is nice about coupons but oooh when the cashier is not happy..... and this was in Waco

  6. Or it could be like the Bulverde HEB that actually changes their own yellow coupons. Last week the $2 off any Johnson & Johnson coupon lasted one day and promptly changed to only the largest sizes. Went to a store in SA and they still had their "any" coupons. Not the first time Bulverde has done this. There is no competition out here yet so they do whatever they want.

  7. It happened to me months ago when I was so exited to find arm & hammer toothpaste on sale for .75c and having .75c coupons with me, the cashier before inspect the coupon told me I could not use the coupon because then the items are going to be free, I told him the H.E.B policy does not exclude sale items in order to use coupons and then he point it at the wall and he said do you see does pictures? that people are managers that know the policy better than you, then he call 3 of them and they were reading the coupon over and over after 5 min they let me take the products. but I never felt so small in my life. (and of course when I got home I contact their costumer service)

  8. I agree with so many of the comments on here! I am new to the SA area and it seems like many of the stores here just aren't coupon-friendly! As many of you have stated, cashiers seem to be acting as coupon police instead of customer service representatives. I had a cashier today examine my coupons before scanning them (why do they do that?! it takes so much longer to inspect every coupon and every single item in the bags! why not just scan them and then if they don't scan, look into it?). She was insistent that my coupons would not work because the coupon said 8 oz. packages and she said that my items were 7 oz. packages (they weren't, but I guess she couldn't see well!). She was giving quite an attitude, but I finally convinced her to just scan the coupons because I knew I had gotten the right size, and of course they worked (she wasn't happy about it, though!). I really wish there were other stores to choose from! I also get frustrated whenever I get "those looks" from cashiers or other customers when I use coupons; I feel like telling people that we are not taking money away from the store because the store gets reimbursed for the coupons!

  9. As an employee of HEB and a coupon user I under stand both sides. I was a cashier for a year and would even give coupons during transactions that I wouldn't use to save the customer money. But there are people who Give coupons that they know they don't have the item for and if we honor it it can be counted as a shortage and end in a write up. But I do agree that there is no need to be rude. customer service is first and issues can be handled while still being nice. Sorry to those who have been running in to issues

  10. As a former cashier/retail manager, my first thought is to give her the benefit of the doubt that maybe she was covering her own butt (maybe there's pushback on coupon use from management?). The company I worked for was ALWAYS customer-focused...we had those receipt surveys that were tracked and discussed at every meeting. Displeased customer meant write-up, every time.

  11. Lol. As a cashier at HEB we are trained to give the best customer service possible. She was just jealous because you got .22 cent toothpaste. Some cashiers are nit pickers without a reason & annoying to all other coworkers. When this happens to me, I smile & say thank you. I carry my coupon policy with me & coach them & sometimes even management;).

  12. The problem is that just because coupons scan doesn't mean that they are being used on the products that the coupons are intended for. A great example would be those Gilette Fusion Shaving Gel coupons that were scanning fine for the lower priced gilette shaving gel products. Even though they were specifically for the Fusions, people were using them on the other items. However, I feel she should have had a clear mind before letting you put your payment in and not be asking questions after the fact :)

  13. There is one cashier at the Oak Park HEB (down the road from Lincoln Heights) that did this to me once, and never again. Funny because she has the exact behavior! It made me feel like she thought I was stealing, not just trying to save a little. Every coupon I had scanned as well, but she put on her glasses and went through my bags before scanning anything. Ugh!! I understand the caution and job of the cashier, but maybe wait till a coupon doesn't go through before assuming I am a criminal. I avoid her now. But ever since that day, I always want to put each coupon on top of each item for the cashier to see, just so there is no question. Haven't done it yet, but want to.

  14. I just want to say I love the phrase "Savings Detective". It made me smile :)

  15. In the cashier's defense. I was once a cashier years ago, and if we took coupons that were expired or didn't meet store policy it came out of our paycheck. There are also many couponers who do not take the time to know store policy, and this can put a cashier in a bad mood as soon as she sees coupons. That said, the lack of training, and knowledge on both sides should not negatively effect our experience. I too have had each and every item inspected while a line a mile long built up behind me. I broke out in a nervous sweat and felt like a criminal. I had to remind myself that I did not know what that cashier had gone through that day. She obviously had a worse day than me. When I can't find a cheerful cashier I go through a young male's line. They think it's cool your saving so much money.

  16. But isn't it funny when heb's own yellow coupons don't scan when you have the correct product/size /and amount. What then?! Coupon police/thinking maybe some csr's are in much needed customer service training..

  17. I have asked nicely, was there a problem as i thought i was following all the rules. no, i am just making sure has been the response i get (w/attitude) and i asked did it not scan? well, i didn't try yet, did you see me scan. then i got to that breaking point of no, i didn't i just thought so many people seemed to agree with what i understood correctly. then she came back w/ there is NO size listed so i dont think it is correct. No mam, i have many coupons that do not list size, i can take you down your store rows now and show you if you like. i only have 3 items and only 1 coupon, i was just wondering what was the holdup. her remark back was there are so many of yall trying to take advantage of the stores so we have to make sure you are playing by the rules. thanks mam, but next time there should be an inquiry line as i thought i was in EXPRESS. then she turned to the next cashier and decided to speak in spanish and i finally said "can i please have my receipt? i am in kind of a hurry" yep, i told several not to use that cashier and also wrote to heb, where is customer service?

  18. I never want a cashier to be nervous about losing their job because I choose to use a coupon or two, but the fact that several do feel this way is not my fault. I understand there ARE cheaters out there but that’s no reason to treat all couponers as criminals. To me, this is a management issue, either they’ve scared their employees, or they’ve failed to train them properly. Because of this, I've converted to ONLY using yellow coupons at HEB and I still have issues! Here is my last experience...

    This incident happened at the Kitty Hawk location who’s parking lot has been under construction for what feels like forever now, and I understand there may be a need but it's taking too long for what it appears they’re doing. They have the back end completely blocked off so you can only get into the parking lot through the two far end spots. This makes for a vehicle maneuvering nightmare. It took me over 20 minutes to just park. Anyway, that's all understandable here's what happened once I got in the store...

  19. After picking out a few items I needed, I noticed an end cap with “buy 3 Knorr pasta/rice sides, get free Progresso black beans and Green Giant corn free” yellow coupon. The pasta was 99 cents and I was a little low on sides in my pantry anyway so I decided to do this 3 times. I pulled 3 coupons and picked out 12 packs of pasta. HEB doesn’t limit their yellow coupons as of yet. Usually the deals at this HEB are all side-by-side but not this time. So here I go down the veggie/bean isle to get my 3 free beans and 3 free corn. Well the coupon lists the corn in words that don’t appear on any of the Green Giant corn cans and they're out of any type of Progresso beans. I see another shopper looking for the same thing and so I'm off hunting down a grocery employee. I find one, who's very busy at the time, but he does what he should and drops everything to come assist me. I must commend him for this!

    I warn the employee that there’s a woman down the isle that looks like she’s hunting the same deal. He makes his way through the crowded isle and I hang back about half way down. He double checks the top of the shelf to see if there are unopened boxes of beans, but there aren't any. The other lady has now bombarded him and he's patiently listening to her and then says “we’ll substitute the Bush's black beans.” Well I let them attempt to finish, because I wanted to ask him if he'd let me substitute Bush's refried since they're the same price. I would have been fine with HEB brand. At the same time he’s listening to the woman and I’m patiently waiting for them to finish so I can ask my question. There's another employee, a younger guy I’ve never noticed before, yelling his name from the end of the isle behind me. He’s yelling through all the customers standing around. He yells for him at least 4 or 5 times when I finally turn around and say "He’s helping a customer, right now!" The young man responds with "I know he is, but I need him too." My thought is “WOW!” but I do nothing more than turn my head back around and think to myself “That was rude! What a great example of young people thinking they always come first.” I then proceed to discuss with the 1st employee the wording on the corn cans and we figure it out. I then ask him about refried beans and he’s okay with that as well.

  20. Well okay, I officially feel old due to that “young people” comment but I can sluff all that off. When I get to the check-out, before the cashier starts ringing anything up I tell her what the guy in grocery had told me. “Ya’ll are out of the Progresso black beans so the grocery guy told me any Bush's beans would be fine as long as they were the same price.” I said this to her now so she'll know the adjusted price to put in the cash register when the coupon doesn't work.

    She then tells me "Well that's not what the other customers are saying, so I'm going to call a manager"

    I said "OKAY."

    When the manager arrives she says, and I quote (insert sarcastic body lanuage) "Every person who comes through my line is telling me something different about these beans, Are we REALLY substituting ANY Bush's or just black beans?"

    I let her finish her little rant and I start to tell the manager "The grocery guy told me as long as they were the same price" I WANTED to add "I'd even take HEB brand I don't care."

    I didn't get a chance to complete my sentence because the cashier then SHUSHES me and says "We've got THIS taken care of.”

    With a smile I say, "Well just like you chose to tell the manager the situation in the terms you used, and didn’t tell him everything I said, I'm allowed to talk to the manager and actually tell him what I was told back in grocery."

    She then edits her comment and says "we've got you taken care of” as the manager calls back to grocery. Of course whomever he talked to said it was okay so she proceeds to run the coupons. The manager thanks me, tells me to have a great day and turns and walks away. I am still internally writhing, NO ONE SHUSHES ME!

    I then tell her with a smile, "I'm sorry if I sounded short with you but that was the second time I've been interrupted by an HEB employee today.”
    To which she responds with "Well there's nothing I can do about that!"
    I then respond with a HUGE SMILE "Yes, you could choose NOT to interrupt me."

    She then says “Well all I can do is apologize"

    I say "YES! I would accept an apology too, if I was given one!"

    At this point I’ve given up on her, and turn to my son and say “Payton, you’re doing an amazing job bagging mom’s groceries!” Now I’ll admit this was very passive aggressive but it was all I could do, not to lose it in front of my child.

    I love HEB! I even used to love that HEB up until recently. Now there is 1 manager there that I try to avoid at all costs! Chad! Every time I have to interact with him over a coupon, he makes me feel like a thief. I was raised by a police officer, now police chief and lying and steeling are the worst crimes you can commit in my household!

  21. Okay guys, (er, I mean probably girls, lol) I'm an avid couponer...I'm also an employee at HEB, right now. Lately, we have changed things up, and cashiers have been told to be on high alert with coupons. A lot of fraudulent coupons are going around at the moment. With that being said, I was always the cashier that scanned all the coupons first, and if that didn't work, then I'd look at the coupons. That is what we were taught, in cashier training. There are a lot of older women and gentlemen that may think that the coupons are going to count against them if they aren't 100% correct. That's actually NOT true. Not with HEB. I am a bookkeeper now, and I can tell you that we don't add all of the coupons, we gather them up in a bag and we put them in another bag to send to someone else who counts them. NOW, the computers are picky, if they don't accept a coupon, we usually glance over it, and/or find the item and see if it fits. If it does fit, then we can put it through, otherwise, we may need to clarify something. Yesterday, I had a customer trying to get the 21 oz boxes of honey nut cheerios for 2 for a $4. The 21 oz boxes ran about 3.86 a pop. The coupon didn't go through, I looked at the wording, it said for the 17 oz boxes, so I had to go through her groceries and figure out what was going on. Unfortunately, for a coupon like that one, its a little harder to put it through. I had to deny the customer the coupon, but did ask if she'd rather get the 17 oz cheerios instead so she could still use the coupon. She did not want to, so that was that. The cashier that you had, should have NEVER given you so much grief over a few coupons, much less, examine them before even scanning them. I think that's ridiculous, and I wish someone would coach them about their wrongdoings. I will defend some of my fellow employees and say that a lot of them came from a different grocery store where they did things differently and are taught to examine the coupons and match them with the items etc. Maybe she came from a Commissary, or Kroger or something. In your case, I would have spoken with the manager, or email the specific store so that they can get her on the right track. Also, look at the bottom of your receipt, there are often surveys that you can fill out with comments that you can add, please fill those out, we can't be better if we don't have customers input. Anyway, that is just my two cents. I hope you are able to find better cashiers in the future...just remember, with the holidays right around the corner, we are all getting a little more stressed and frustrated. =)

  22. Everything I would have wanted to say was posted. I understand watching out for mis use and protecting business. Sorry to say HEB is being quite anal about coupons.

  23. I have to say that Heb does give me a hard time on coupons and thats at any location i go to. Half of them scan and half of them dont. Heck even their coupons dont scan at times so ive stopped using manufacuer coupons and i just use their yellow ones. Its not worth the hassle for me and i only use the manufacuer Coupons if i find a good deal and i need the product... other than that forget it. Id rather shop at cvs or walgreens with my coupons.. forget about walmart too.... they are even worse when it comes to coupons the cashiers arent trained well and i usually have to tell them im not taking the product if the coupon doesnt scan even tho i know its the right item. Cashiers need to be trained better. Heck valero takes some coupons and doesnt make a big deal about it.