The Cost of Double Coupons
One of the things that comes up in my coupon classes a lot is Copps Double Daze, which theoretically is a couponer’s dream. Getting your coupon value doubled is saving you tons of money, right? Well, maybe, and maybe not. It all depends on how you shop at Double Coupon stores.
As my research this past summer showed (and you can see it here), Copps regular prices on items is a lot higher than many other grocery options in the Green Bay area. There’s a reason for that. It’s Double Daze.
As I mentioned last week (you can read that post here), when I go to Copps, I never buy anything unless it’s on sale and I have a coupon to use, too. My trips to the store have become very sporadic since I did the legwork and saw the price difference on their items.
What does that have to do with Double Daze?
If you’ve ever read the fine print on a coupon, it says something like this:
“Retailer, we (the manufacturer) will reimburse you for the face value of the coupon plus $.08 handling fee.”
Theoretically, stores should be happy to take coupons because not only will they be reimbursed, they’re going to get 8 cents for every coupon they turn in. (The issue of stores not being reimbursed for fraudulent coupons is a story for another day).
When a store like Copps, Pick ‘N Save (and some Fox Cities Piggly Wiggly stores) doubles the value of the coupon, that money you save comes out of the store’s profits. They are not reimbursed by the manufacturer for the doubled amount. So while they look like the hero and get all the publicity from bloggers for offering the double coupons (in short, they are “sexier”), they really don’t want people to actually take advantage of it! Or they want people to take advantage of it, but not do it well. This probably explains why their “advertising” of special Double Daze or Double Double Daze is last-minute.
You may not have noticed it when you buy items that are on your shopping list are not on sale and/or you don’t have a coupon available. You may think it’s not a big deal. However, one or two items bought at regular price at those stores can negate your entire Double Coupon trip!
Why do I bring this up?
*Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Roundy’s Supermarkets is working to arrange $800 million in loans to refinancing its debts. Roundy’s is the parent company of Copps and Pick ‘N Save stores in our area.
Last month Roundys announced it was going to take the company public with a stock offering to raise $230 million to pay off some of their debt as well as some existing investors. No date for the stock offering has been announced.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting to never use a store that double coupons, I just want you to be aware that what seems like a couponer’s dream can actually be a nightmare if you don’t properly shop the store. Do not put anything in your cart unless you’re getting a good deal! You’ll almost always find me stocking up on cereal because no store has as good a deal as Copps when they offer a General Mills or Kelloggs cereal deal that involves free milk and/or eggs on a future purchase. I love the patootie out of those sales! But I’ll say it again, I never buy anything there unless it’s on sale and I have a coupon.
Roundys is in debt. Part of the reason is probably linked to the profit loss from people like us being smart about Double Daze. To combat the problem, one of the things stores that double coupons do is raise their regular prices in stores. The other thing they do is take out loans to cover millions of dollars in debt. (Now, there is such a thing as good debt and leveraging and debt loads and other business practices, but is not the forum to discuss that stuff). Could that mean Roundy’s will close stores, be bought out by another chain, or eventually discontinue Double Daze?
One thing is for sure, stores that don’t double coupons will see this financial news and most likely not offer double coupons. But I’m okay with that.
Yes, there is a cost to Double Daze.