You know I love coupons. A year ago, however, I had yet to see the coupon light. I didn’t know it was possible to get items from grocery and drugstores for free. Now I know it’s not only possible to get things for free, sometimes you can even profit from buying certain items.
I went grocery shopping at Harris Teeter this past weekend for a bunch of items. I’m a member of their VIC program — their equivalent of a frequent shopper’s program. They also have a program called e-VIC which is basically an amped-up version of the VIC program. As an e-VIC member, I get additional savings on certain items and access to electronic coupons that can be downloaded directly to my VIC card. The coupons get deducted automatically at the register when I buy the corresponding items. The fun thing (yes, I think coupons are fun — don’t you?) about the e-coupons at Harris Teeter is that you can use them in conjunction with paper manufacturers’ coupons for extra savings. When you combine an e-coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon with a store sale, well it’s like winning the lottery.
So this past weekend I bought this salt.
The salt retails for $1.99, but Harris Teeter had it on sale as a buy-one-get-one free (which, by the way, means that it’s half off; you don’t actually have to buy two to get one of them free). I had a paper manufacturer’s coupon for $.50 off which I knew Harris Teeter would double to $1.00 off (their coupon policy is to double paper coupons with a face value up to $.99). I also had an e-coupon for $1.00 off Diamond Crystal sea salt. Now, if you’re using a manufacturer’s coupon, Harris Teeter won’t let you profit off an item; that is, if the item is $.75 and your coupon is for $1.00, they’ll only deduct $.75 from your total. So I was curious what would happen if I used a manufacturer’s coupon with an e-coupon — using either of these would make the salt free, but combined, I stood to profit by $1.00. Well, the e-coupon system and the manufacturer’s coupon systems clearly don’t talk to each other at the register because both happily deducted from my total. Thus, it was like Harris Teeter paid me $1.00 to buy the salt.
I came home so, so proud of my profit. I told Mark about it and, while impressed, he said that next time I stand to make money off an item, I need to buy only that item to see what would happen. Mark reasons that the real excitement would be to walk out of a grocery store with more money in my pocket than when I went in. Oh yes, indeed, that is a titillating prospect.