08
Nov
2009

Walgreens Basic FAQs

11/08/2009. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy.

walgreens store front

BASIC FAQS:
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Here is some basic information about Walgreens. To my knowledge they do not have a printed coupon policy that is available.  Also they do allow for significant freedom at the store level to interpret this policy.
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Walgreens DOES allow for “stacking” of coupons- you can use 1 manufacturer coupon and one Walgreens coupon per item as long as neither coupon prohibits it.
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Walgreens does not price match other stores.
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Walgreens can adjust the price of an item to the value of a coupon- i.e. adjusting a .99 item to $1, so a $1 coupon can be used. They will not give cash back on the difference.
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Walgreen’s will not allow a post-sale coupon. If you forget to use the coupon at the time of purchase, you will need to return the item and re-purchase it with the coupon..
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If you return an item that you used a coupon on, you will get the full retail price back. If you used a Walgreens coupon, you will get the purchase price refunded only.
(Please take care when returning items you use coupons on. It is something I do not advocate.)
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In general you only need 1 Walgreens coupon regardless of how many items you buy. The Register will automatically deduct the coupon amount for every item in the transaction.
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The cashier does not need to keep Walgreens coupons. So you do not need to tear apart an ad- they can just scan it. You can also keep coupon booklets and the Walgreens Activity booklets intact and continue to use the same coupon over and over.
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Walgreens occasionally issues $x/x coupons- typically a $5/25 amount. They require that your total AFTER all coupons have been applied is $25. Then you can use the $5/25 coupon. (This includes Register Rewards). So you will spend $20 out of pocket if you want to use a Walgreens $5/25 coupon.
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REGISTER REWARDS:
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Walgreens has a catalina program they refer to as “Register Rewards” there are a few quirks to the Walgreens system that make it a bit different. It can be a little tricky.
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A Register Reward is a manufacturer coupon and can only be used at Walgreens. The exception is if you have a store, like Publix, that accepts competitor coupons. Some Walmart stores will also accept them- but you need to check with your particular store.
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Register Reward. This is the term Walgreens uses for it’s catalina program. A catalina is a coupon that prints at the cash register- it can be for products or it can be for a dollar amount off your next transaction. So when I say $2 Register Reward- that means when you purchase that particular item you will get a little coupon after you pay that is good for $2 off your next purchase.
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You can see a more detailed explanation of the Register Reward program and how it works HERE.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Register Rewards:
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I was told my Register Reward didn’t print because I used coupons?
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This is not true. You CAN use coupons on an item and still get a Register Reward. It may not have printed because:
1. The machine is broken or out of paper.
2. You bought the wrong item/ size/ quantity.
3. You used a Register Reward from the same company to pay for an item with a Register Reward.
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What do I do if my Register Reward didn’t print?
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The store can scan the products again and void the transaction to give you your reward. They typically won’t do this- so a better bet is to call Catalina Marketing directly at 888-322-3814. They need your receipt information and will either tell you why the catalina didn’t print or they will mail it straight to your home.
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What happens if the Register Reward beeps?
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The cashier will give it back to you. You can do a quick assessment and make sure you have enough items to coupons or you can do quick math to make sure your reward isn’t higher than the pre-tax total. (So you can’t use a $1 Register Reward on a .99 item even if tax makes the item $1.07). Most Walgreens stores have .33 caramels right at the Register- you can always add one to your transaction and then give the Register Reward again to see if that solves the problem.
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COUPON ORDER:
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There are two schools of thought on what order to give your coupons to the cashier (and yes it does matter!)

#1. Give coupons like this:
Register Rewards
Manufacturer Coupons
Walgreens coupons
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The idea is that if you mess up your coupon totals- so you have 4 coupons and only 3 items- you’d rather apply the highest value (likely the Register Reward) first to make sure it goes through.
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Personally I always give my Register Rewards last. The reason is- if I mess up and have more coupons than items I can always grab something very cheap at the register to even out the totals. If I am planning to pay 0 for toothpaste because it is $1 and I have a $1 coupon, I don’t want the toothpaste anymore if I have to pay $1 for it. So if I give the Register Reward first and then my toothpaste coupon beeps, I have just paid $1 for that toothpaste because my Register Reward was already applied.
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One other quick tip. The Walgreens registers are programmed to apply coupons based upon the total cost of the item. So if you have a $4 razor coupon and the razors are clearanced to $2 each, you can either have them adjust the price of the coupon down to $2 and get it free or you can buy (2) razors for $2 each and use the $4 coupon to get both for free.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz February 11, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Good post on the ins-and-outs of Walgreens couponing!
It’s probably YMMV, but some Walgreens will post-adjust a coupon. I think it just depends on the store and the manager who is supervising.

Thanks!

Molly February 20, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Does Walgreens give rain checks on sale/RR items?

Charlene February 20, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Sale items yes, Register Rewards no.

Courtney March 8, 2010 at 12:03 PM

I went to my local Walgreens last night and it was a disaster trying to get the register rewards. I had to return my items 3 different times and the manager had to come and fix my purchases, i was there almost an 1 1/2 hrs total figuring out what coupons to use with the register rewards, etc, but……I am very new at this and it is going to take some practice and getting use to. I’m just glad no one was behind me!

Jadenchick March 26, 2010 at 11:37 PM

Ok I’m confused. I did the scotch tape deal tonight and I printed the coupon for the tape on sale for 0.79 limit two and gave the cashier 2 mfg coupons. Cashier said I needed a filler item…why? Bc it was 3 coupons? I thought you could stack coupons? I’m new obviously!

Charlene March 26, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Jaden I am confused too. I have no idea why you’d need a filler those should have stacked fine. You only need a filler if you add a Register Reward on top of a coupon. You need a like # of items to coupons with Register Rewards. So anyway, I don ‘t have any idea what they are talking about.

Hoop March 29, 2010 at 8:16 AM

I bought the Vanity Fair Napkins BOGO. When I tried to use 2 coupons the cashier said I could only use 1 coupon because one napkin was free. Is that the stores policy. Thanks.

Anita March 29, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Several times I have tried to purchase an item that is on sale for less than the coupon value and they won’t take my coupon. Ex: Air Wick compact imotion on sale for 3.97, coupon for exact item is $4.00 off. They say they can’t accept the coupon, so I walk away frustrated. Any ideas on how to get them to honor the coupon?

Heather March 30, 2010 at 2:18 PM

I have the same problem that Anita does…how do you get around it??? The cashier was really rude about it her exact words were “we don’t pay you to buy the item” I am really thinking about calling the manager.

Charlene March 30, 2010 at 2:33 PM

I don’t shop there :( Sorry I don’t mean to be short but I beat my head against the wall a thousand times at Walgreens and they are simply mean to me. When I started couponing I would get so excited only to be treated horribly there- once I was called a shoplifter for buying 2 packs of diapers and trying to use a coupon for each pack- I would call corporate, email corporate, call the managers and on and on and finally I realized it wasn’t worth the problems.

I guess if you have a stinker store and are very determined to shop at Walgreens you can try to speak with a manager, you can also try to contact Walgreens customer service (they always referred me back to the store) or you can just keep going back until you figure out which cashiers are friendly. I typically have better luck with the beauty counter cashiers and I have found 1 store across town that I can shop at- I just don’t go to the ones that are rude to me.

Otherwise, I wish I had a better solution for you but I don’t.

Michele Harvey April 25, 2010 at 2:33 PM

I have about gotten to that point of no return. No returning to Walgreen’s. I wrote a few days ago about how a cashier told me that I was not permitted to spend a RR and receive one in the same transaction…regardless of what the items were that I was buying. She said, “We’re CRACKING DOWN on coupons/register reward abuse.” She told me that if a RR printed off after I paid with a RR, that she was instructed by her manager to keep it. I was outraged! I felt angry for a few days. Well, I am embarrassed to admit it, but I went back again and ran into that same cashier…but this time she was VERY nice and allowed me to use three different RR to pay for my transaction…unfortunately I didn’t get my RR, but that was my own mistake. The cashier said that she had to tell me the above a few days before because there were a couple of “Coupon Nazis” working that night. She said that the different managers have different ways of handling it all. Ugh!!! What ever happened to protocol? I guess it all comes down to how much abuse you are willing to take. I’m just gonna watch who is working and do my best to avoid all “Coupon Nazis” for now. lol

Lisa May 22, 2010 at 10:42 PM

Regarding this note: 3. You used a Register Reward from the same company to pay for an item with a Register Reward.

how do you know if two brands are the same company? I tried using a RR from an Old Spice body wash purchase and bought Gilette body wash. The Gilette was supposed to print a RR as well, but it didn’t, and they said that if I wanted to get another RR I would have had to purchase something that wasn’t body wash?

Maybe what they meant was that Gilette and Old Spice are from the same company? But how would I know that…

Really annoying! LOL. CVS is WAAAYYY more user friendly for beginners!

Charlene May 23, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Well in that case it was a little easier than normal because where did you get the coupons? They were from the P&G insert so you know they are both P&G. I am visual so that always helps me. Also you can tell by the RR- it will sometimes say “Compliments of Proctor and Gamble” or whatever and you can look at the back of the item you are buying to see- so maybe that Old Spice says Proctor and Gamble somewhere on the back.

Otherwise I don’t have many other suggestions for how to know quickly while you are in store. I agree CVS is much easier for me too!

Ro July 25, 2010 at 10:44 PM

I have had difficulties shopping at Walgreen’s. I will go there if there is a super deal on items I need/want.

I guess I don’t have the patience and I don’t want to have to spend 1/2 hour or more to try to get a WAG coupon transaction right. It is my opinion that they make it difficult on purpose to discourage couponing at their store. It’s working – I avoid shopping there.

I have $5 in RR from last week’s Dr. Sholl’s bargains I want to spend as soon as possible (lest I lose it) so I’ll stop by tomorrow with my fingers crossed.

lisa1620 August 31, 2010 at 10:53 PM

What is the ‘all about you”. Where do I get one?

Charlene August 31, 2010 at 10:55 PM

Sorry Lisa I am not sure what you are referring to?

Shelly October 10, 2010 at 1:01 PM

New to couponing (third week) and read this, but still went to Walgreens…the cashier was nasty about me using the Snuggie coupon and my ten dollars in RR. I asked why and she told me the rule about no more coupons than items (which I had already forgotten). So I grabbed a couple caramels and slapped them on the counter and she was peeved!!!! Those caramels were the taste of victory! ;) Thanks for the tips, I would not have known what to do if I had not read this the other day! BTW-Went to CVS next and the cashier cheered for me when I kept saving money…completely different experience!

Lacey December 8, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Question: I bought an item and got a RR back. I have sinced used that RR. I found that original item cheaper and want to return it. Will the register know that i have already used the RR issued and refund me the price of the product minus the RR?

Gina chatterson December 31, 2010 at 4:41 AM

Hi Charlene!
I have had ALL the past experiences at Walgreens. They are just mean employees who really do not promote customer service. I could go on and on but that would be pointless. Yesterday I experienced a BOGO issue with the Aussie shampoo and for the first time I let the manager win this battle. Mostly because it was closing time but it is still really bothering me. I purchased 2 Aussie products (shampoo and style frizz gel) and used a BOGO coupon and a $1/1 coupon. She told me that I could not use the $1 off coupon because it would be using 2 coupons on 1 item. I could understand if I was trying to use 2 $1/1, but I know you can not use $1/1 on a free item. I was trying to use $1/1 on one item or basically the BO(buy one) and not the GO(get one). Do you think it was a too many coupon to item ratio thing and I should have used a filler or can you not use ANY other coupons when using a BOGO coupon? please help…I am loosing sleep over this…lol!

Charlene December 31, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Umm ok… well if you had 2 shampoo and you had 2 coupons that is fine. It should be fine but the issue is that the coupon policy addresses using a coupon with a BOGO sale which is a slightly different thing. This is what the Walgreens policy says:

When items are featured in a Buy One, Get One Free promotion, up to two coupons can be used against the items being purchased, as long as the net price does not go below zero for the items being purchased.

So I suppose if a store really wanted to be nasty they could tell you no on the BOGO when you use a coupon because that clause seems more geared to a BOGO sale. Anyway, my advice is to stop shopping at that store ;)

Jenna January 10, 2011 at 11:38 PM

Thanks for posting this information. It’s been very helpful. I’ve been shopping at Walgreens for about a year now. When I first started couponing there, I had a GREAT experience, even though I had messed up miserably. I spent over an hour checking out with a cashier at the beauty counter returning and purchasing various times. Through it all the cashier was pleasant and never once treated me as a bother.
As SOON as I got home, I wrote a thank you note to the store to the attention of the manager and listed the cashier’s name. I told them my personal story of what prompted my couponing ventures and how grateful I was to have had such a friendly cashier to walk me through a crazy first attempt.
To this day, that same cashier asks about how I’m doing and every cashier I go to has been very friendly and excited when I save money. I’m so happy to have a store close by with a store manager who puts their customer’s first.

Michelle B March 9, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Well, I was quite upset with my Walgreens regarding the free Motrin from last week. They were completely out, and sunday when I went in for the Coffee-Mate and the new Act Rinse, they had several stocked. I contacted corporate, and they then forwarded my email to the store manager who called me and left me a voicemail. I have to call him back tomorrow. I stopped in there last night and my printed coupons were rejected for the Pediacare. I was very upset because I just used internet coupons a few weeks ago. So when I call the manager back I am going to challenge this new policy. I called several Walgreens to find their policy, and many said they will not take them. I’m hoping to find out more because I know the Purex is on sale next week and I won’t be able to use my coupons I printed out to get a good deal. Has anyone else had this problem?

Charlene March 9, 2011 at 8:45 PM

I used a Pediacare printable tonight :( Just about an hour ago actually.

Alexis May 31, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Quick question about register rewards.: I have some that expire on 6/5.. does this mean I can use them that day? or do they have to be used on 6/4 at the latest? Any help will be appreciated!!

Charlene May 31, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Alexis- you can use them on 6/5.

Julie September 2, 2011 at 11:05 AM

I truly don’t understand some cashiers. I was a cashier at Meijer and I couldn’t have cared less if people got everything for free. I probably would have asked them to let me in on the secret. The only things that annoyed me about coupons were when I had to call a manager because the register was acting up or the coupons got sucked into no man’s land by the conveyor belt! LOL

Are drug store employees commissioned in some way?

Stacy September 6, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Walgreens is definitely trying to discourage couponing. A few months ago I had no problems buying items with RR and coupons and receiving a RR. Now, the RR’s never print if I use a RR to pay for the item, no matter which company they are for. I also called my Walgreens to see if they had the Carmex that was on sale last week in stock before I went there, and a nice friendly cashier told me that they had lots of them in back, and she would be happy to pull them for me when I arrived. She was busy when I arrived, so I asked another cashier to pull them, and she had to get a manager becuase they had been instructed to tell people they did not have them in stock!! They are apparently holding the sale items so that they don’t have to sell them at a discount!! I just hope the honest cashier didn’t get in too much trouble for telling me the truth.

Lindsay September 24, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Everyone here seems to hate Walgreen’s… I just want to know if any of y’all are from Georgia or around there because I’m from Rhode Island and I just LOVE my Walgreen’s!?

Ana November 6, 2011 at 11:46 PM

Thank you for your guidelines. They are really great!
After reading all of them and the comments I have decided I don’t want to shop there. I was getting stressed out that I was missing out on these great deals. I had ONE terrible experience there the first time I tried to coupon at this store. Mind you, I am one of those thorough people. Even as a newbie, I had read several blogs and knew all the policies. Of course they came up with “we cannot adjust down or accept a coupon that beeps (even with filler items)” which is complete BS! How many stores in your entire life have you been to where you can’t adjust a coupon? None, other then this Walgreens.

What I mind the most isn’t even the unsuccessful trips, but the attitude and rudeness that these employees display. My mother worked retail when she moved to the US after leaving a univeristy teaching job. I know it can be difficult, but I also learned to treat all retail persons very nicely. So I am extra careful when dealing with them. Walgreen employees are something else entirely. This shows that it is their entire corporate policy/training that select them that is intentionally lacking in customer care. The type of person who would be rude and combative on coupon issues, would also be rude and unhelpful on any other issue that might come up in your transaction. It is a personality thing.

Funny thing is, I won’t always have to coupon heavily as I’ll be finishing up my residency but I will remember to not give business to Walgreens, which coincidentally is about 0.2 miles from my home. I’ll reserve my loyalty for CVS and RiteAid for always treating me decently. I will not allow any store to make me feel upset. There are worthy things and worthy persons I will reserve my worries for. Certainly not for rude customer service.

Thank you for taking the time to write all this and other policies/deals also. I find your blog just wonderful. Thank you for all your hard work and sharing spirit!

Charlene November 7, 2011 at 8:09 AM

Ana I agree with you totally. I just don’t go to stores that I don’t like. Who needs the stress ;) I don’t care what deal they have, I just skip it because something else will come along at a store I do like.

Julia November 16, 2011 at 11:46 PM

It’s very true that Walgreens has a very negative attitude towards couponers. It’s also true that they purposely hide sales items, so that people can’t get them at discount. Their “event” days are a joke – for example, during the most recent Optic White and Garnier “promotions”, there were absolutely no coupons and a TOTAL of 4 items available at their special “sale” price. If you like savings, chances are you won’t like Walgreens (and chances are, they won’t like you too much either).

Angela November 25, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Hi Ladies!

I am new to the couponing thing too. I went out this past Thursday to get early Black Friday Deals. I had a fine time at CVS. Walgreens is so much harder for new folks, because you have to remember 1) your manufacturer coupons, 2) the coupons from the walgreens ad, and 3) the coupons from the walgreens booklet(s). I guess it would have been better if I had set the transactions up beforehand (multiple transactions), but how do you keep track of all that!? It’s just a mess. I realized I forgot to show them an ad for paper towels, so I paid full price for 3 of them (I was sort of using them as a filler, if need be).

However, the cashiers have never been rude and have always worked with me. I just think the whole process there is not user-friendly. Do you all set up or prepare transactions (if multiple) in advance?

Victoria February 20, 2012 at 5:45 PM

I’ve had a difficult time stacking some coupons at Walgreens as well. I had more coupons then items. It was just Walgreens and Manufacturer’s coupons but they said the register wouldn’t allow it.

Rylie May 26, 2012 at 9:17 PM

After reading though these posts I am very saddened that so many people have had negative experiences with cocooning at Walgreens. On the contrary I have had nothing but success by shipping there. My best trip was on black Friday when I got over $1000 worth of merchandise for free and walked away with over $30 in register rewards for my next trip.
I feel very lucky that from the start I was able to find a friendly cashier. My best tip is to try to befriend a cashier at the store. When I first met my regular cashier girl,she first told me she thought I was robbing the store. I simply explained that Walgreens is completely reimbursed by the manufacturer so her employer is not loosing money and what I was doing actually benefited her stores sales. From that point on, she was converted. For over a year now I have since scheduled all of my shopping trips so I could get her as my cashier. If possible also try to befriend a manager (very helpful). Also when shopping with a lot of coupons, try to checkout at the beauty counter. This is less stressful for the cashier which will be a more pleasurable experience for you. If you have problems with them not taking coupons, bring a copy of the coupon policy. None of the cashiers are trained on the coupon policies. Most of the managers don’t know it either.
After several months of cocooning there, I ended up getting a job there (I needed on while in school and the employee discount didn’t hurt). So I have a somewhat unique perspective. That is why I know that most employees are never taught the coupon policy. On my fourth day at work, my manager asked me how coupons work when trying to ring up a customer! Honestly don’t blame the employees, blame corporate. That’s why usually if you bring the coupon policy and show the manager, you can get them to understand how it works.
I’d also like to address a few comments/questions. First, employees do receive commission on select items. Particularly the items placed at the front register – kit Kat bars, m&ms etc.- that is why they will typically offer some to you during the purchase. Most managers set quotas for how many each employee must sell. However to be clear, we get the same credit whether you use a coupon or not. Why a cashier would intentially want to give you a hard time is beyond me. Perhaps they feel that their store is loosing money by accepting the coupon and thus their job may be on the line–but this is not the case and merely a misconception.
Also, when an item goes on sale, for example: energizer batteries that are normally $10 goes on sale for $6, Walgreens is reimbursed the $4 difference from the manufacturer. So Walgreens does not lose money by selling an item at a discount. However Walgreens does lose money when they issue rain checks. For instance, with the above example if the store issues a rain check and you use it two weeks later. Walgreens will honor the $6 price but will not be reimbursed the $4 from the manufacturer because the sale is technically over. This is why stores are hesitant to issue rain checks (if they know that they are loosing money by doing so).

If anyone has any questions about anything Walgreens specific and how the store works, comment and I will answer. ;-)

I hope all of your experiences at Walgreens improve. Cvs is easy to do when you first start out, but walgreens really has the best sales – once you figure out how to roll the register rewards, which can be difficult at first.

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