08
Nov
2010

Updated Safeway Coupon Policy

11/08/2010. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy.

Safeway has once again updated the coupon policy.  You can see the Safeway coupon policy here.

Basically here is a quick run down of what it says:

1. Coupons can be adjusted down if they are higher than the price of the product.

2. No coupons can be applied against a free item.  That means that you can’t use BOGO coupons on a BOGO sale.  I also interpret it to mean you can’t use 2 coupons on a Buy One Get One Free sale either.

This clause is a little interesting:

12. Purchase reward thresholds (if any) will be calculated based upon customer’s final price (after deducting Club Card savings and all other discounts and savings) before deductions for any manufacturer coupons. As an example (and not as an offer), if a $10 minimum purchase is required for a customer reward, a customer’s order at full retail would be $12, a Club Card discount of $1.75 applies, and a manufacturer’s coupon of $1 applies, the customer would be given credit for a $10.25 purchase, and would be eligible for the reward (assuming compliance with all other requirements) even though the customer’s cash payment would be only $9.25. The manufacturer’s coupon would not be deducted from the total for purposes of determining reward eligibility.

So they do state that the in ad coupons that are based on minimum purchase amounts are calculated before manufacturer coupons.

Also, they put the nail in the coffin on the stacking of coupons and e-coupons.  the policy says:

21. Safeway does not allow a customer to redeem two or more manufacturer coupons against the same item in a single transaction.

You can still use e-coupons and if you also have a paper coupon for the same item, the higher value coupon will prevail but you can not use both.

Everything else looks the same to me.  What I do find interesting is that they seem to allow a very large amount of discretion at the store level on internet coupons.  So just keep in mind that any free item printable coupons will be refused and they can basically refuse any other internet coupons that they want.

Any other changes that you noticed?

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather November 8, 2010 at 5:39 PM

For #2 of the policy, this was tested at my store. There were peelies on 2 boxes of Krusteaz cookie mix for .55 each. The mixes were BOGO, but the cashier tried to run both coupons through anyway. The register beeped, so definiately only 1 coupon on BOGO items.

Tony H November 8, 2010 at 7:53 PM

I could be wrong, but I think you can still use a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale. You are purchasing 1 item, and should be entitled to use 1 coupon on it. That coupon (the manufacturer) pays for 1 item, and the store (via the sale) is paying for the other.

I wished they specifically included that you can stack a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on a single item. I have never had a problem doing this at my Safeway, but I know others have. I think they don’t want to put that in, as to give people the idea to do that =)

Charlene November 8, 2010 at 8:12 PM

Tony here is what it says:

. Coupons may not be applied against any free item received in any offer.

So that is not entirely clear but I read that as no coupons can be used toward anything that is free. I guess it is still worth a shot but a lot of times those BOGO coupons attach to both items. I think you have a valid argument though.

Jen T November 8, 2010 at 8:23 PM

I’ll be going over to Safeway tomorrow with list in-hand (mainly because I want free eggs), but unless they run some stellar sales I’ll be shopping over there less. I started to shop at Safeway again specifically because of the stellar coupon stacking deals (which they get reimbursed for anyways, right?), but I use to shop at Food 4 Less about 10 min away. Since the local Food 4 Less is starting to become a tiny bit more coupon friendly, I’m getting better deals over there again.

Sharon November 8, 2010 at 8:26 PM

I live in So. California and have been fighting with Vons for awhile now; which is the same company as Safeway. Due to the high volume of fraud on internet coupons they have stopped accepting them for the past couple of months. In fact all the grocery store chains in my area are refusing internet coupons which is very frustrating. I have to drive 30 minutes away to a Super Target to use internet coupons for my grocery shopping. I have stopped doing any grocery shopping at the larger chains, except for last minute items. It goes to show you how the criminal element can ruin it for the rest of us.

Charlene November 8, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Well I put Just 4 U to the test tonight. I loaded a bunch of coupons and sent my husband off and it was a mess. I have to return it all because just one example- the Cheerios that should have been $.94 were actually $3.99 a box! And he didn’t buy Jumbo boxes. So poo. You have to watch Safeway like a hawk now.

Tony H November 8, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Thanks, Charlene! You’re probably right! I’ve never had the fortune of having a BOGO coupon for a BOGO sale item before.

They had this rule for maybe about 1/2 year before this policy update, and I was definitely not able to use 2 coupons on a BOGO sale. But I was able to do this:

BOGO sale in Oscar Mayer meat – was able to use a $1/2 coupon (register did not beep).

Wholly Guacamole, bought 2 at regular price – was able to use a BOGO coupon and a $1/1 coupon (register did not beep).

kristin November 8, 2010 at 10:36 PM

I had the similar issue with Heather on a $/2 MC and a BOGO sale. Would not let me use the MC.

sonia November 9, 2010 at 1:04 AM

i went into vons tonight to pick up some last minute deals but ended up wasting time with a bad experience. i realized they were no longer accepting ecoupons after 40 minutes back and forth in the store and bought a bunch of stuff i no longer wanted. i ended up returning the items, while continuously apologizing to the cashier but only to have him be sooo rude and unfriendly with me. so i reminded him it was his job to be patient and courteous to all customers whethe they were indecisive or not with their purchase, since it is normal to be. he only became ruder.
so all in all no ecoupons were deducted, which means an end to vons for me.

Jenn November 9, 2010 at 6:29 AM

One thought with the B1G1 issue…since Safeway rings up each item at 1/2 price, couldn’t you check out each item in a separate transaction and use a coupon on each? That’s what I’ve often done at Safeway, and I always do it at Harris Teeter. So if I’m buying two items, I do two transactions, and I’m allowed a coupon on each transaction. Don’t know if it will continue to work, but that’s how I’ve been doing it.

Charlene November 9, 2010 at 8:10 AM

Jenn my store doesn’t do it that way. You guys are lucky in the south, they fight for your business. Here they could care less. It rings up at full price and one at 0. But good thought!

Charlene November 9, 2010 at 8:17 AM

Sonia- you can read about the new program they are rolling out here:

http://myfrugaladventures.com/2010/10/safeway-new-just-for-u-program/

But in short, yes, you are right no more stacking of e-coupons. You can still use Shortcuts ones but not manufacturer ones and Shortcuts ones together. Cellfire is gone completely :(

Heather November 9, 2010 at 10:39 AM

It was a major bummer for me too – I live in San Francisco. I signed up for Just4U and followed everything to the letter of the law. YET, certain paper coupons beeped and they insisted it was because I had an e-coupon also (I didn’t). AND, none of my ‘safeway super coupons’ I loaded on the card worked AT ALL. So I was overcharged about 7$ (on the grands, some cereal, and creamcheese). I would’ve just clipped the stinking super coupons out of the flyer, but I thought that was one of the few highlights of the new program that you could just add them to the card. I wrote to corporate but I haven’t heard back from them yet. The FoodsCo (aka Food4Less) here doesn’t even understand what a coupon is so not too many alternatives here…

Charlene November 9, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Heather same thing! I sent my husband in to get 2 packages of Farmer John and I had 1 shortcuts coupon and one paper one. They told him no and apparently stopped the line and called a manager over and the whole bit. It would never have happened to me because I would have never stood for that nonsense but now I am not going to bother going back for $1. I am still a little ticked though. I just hate the smug attitude.

C November 9, 2010 at 11:26 AM

The person in front of me at the Vons checkout today tried to use a $1/2 coupon on some drinks on sale for BOGO. The coupon beeped and the cashier said it was because a coupon cannot be used on a free item and refused it.

Kim November 9, 2010 at 12:34 PM

I went to Safeway last night for Farmer John bacon & Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They were out of the bacon so I just bought cereal: three boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I knew that I was overcharged but I could not figure out how because I could see all the ecoupons and paper coupons come off the total. Turns out that for some strange reason, one of the boxes went through at the regular sale price of $2 instead of the supercoupon price of $1.49. What the heck??? It was three boxes of the same item and the limit was 4. I’m know it is not worth going back for .51 when I know my Safeway is very difficult about making adjustments after the safe is over. grrrr.

Cathy November 9, 2010 at 1:24 PM

charlene, where do you think is the best place to do grocery shopping in the bay area? safeway, nob hill, lucky, target, trader joes, or other?

Charlene November 9, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Cathy, the only way I can make things work is by shopping a few stores. I prefer Nob Hill but the prices are very high so you really have to cherry pick the ads each week. Safeway is really stink to me at the moment but that is probably the best choice. What about Target? Ours expanded to a Super Fresh Grocery so they have a bit more of a selection now. Also, have you looked into the .99 Only Stores? I heard those have great produce deals but I don’t have one of them near me. Lucky is Savemart and I just personally don’t care for that store. I think Lucky is the one that is really tough on internet coupons too. I do like Trader Joes but there are really no coupon matchups and I have too much temptation there :) I come home with $50 in mushroom turnovers and Irish Cheddar cheese and nothing for anyone else to eat :P

Kim November 9, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Just had a long talk with our Safeway manager (a friend of ours). He really appreciated all the feed back on J4U. He said that Safeway needs it to improve the program.

My 2 cents is that it is great for the noncouponer. However, my friends who aren’t serious couponers, but do use some coupons aren’t even crazy about it. It’s too much to keep track of.

I agree that the new coupon policy should have been more specific re: the stacking of super/in ad coupons and manuf. coupons. Our manager said this is allowed. He said also that if you have a paper coupon and a coupon loaded on your card for the same item and your paper coupon is higher, it will take it and leave the other.

I think as couponers we’ve already been trained to watch our receipts like hawks (good practice). Hope others realize they need to do this now.

What i can’t figure out is what’s in it for Safeway?

Charlene November 9, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Kim they get revenue on coupons. I think that is it. For some of the coupons you print from MFA I am paid a commission of a few cents. Not all but some. You might notice some blogs post every single coupon that comes out for this reason ;) If you multiply that by the zillions of people that shop at Safeway… plus I think it will probably reduce their manpower at the checkstands and they will control us really. They have more control over how many coupons and can ensure we really do buy the correct items- etc.. etc.. etc.. I think there are a lot of benefits for them- plus I suspect they are trying to force people to shop at Safeway exclusively. I mean you have all your coupons on your card and can’t use them elsewhere- I suppose the positive way to look at it is that it is a convenience but as you know I tend to be a teensy cynical :)

They also made a comment at our session about the popularity of coupons so I think they are trying to cash in on something they have to deal with either way. Does that make sense?

Brenda November 9, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Charleen, what is your thoughts about Winco? I went there last night to get a few things for dinner and thought some of their prices were good. I’m just not sure about their quality of meat and sometimes veggies. I don’t shop there enough to really say though.

Kim November 9, 2010 at 3:28 PM

All of that makes sense. I mean, they are there to make a buck.

At my shopping trip the other day I was buying 6 identical items and had 6 identical coupons and the checker (who is usually pretty good) was going to refuse them because they said “one per purchase”. I’ve heard of others having problems with people not understanding the difference between purchase and transaction and stacking and doubling. I wish they had better coupon training for checkers.

Charlene November 9, 2010 at 3:46 PM

I dislike Winco tremendously. The store I go to is nasty. I have purchased veggies there and gone home to find them moldy and rotten within a day. I happen to be a little uppity about stores I am sorry to say :( BUT my husband loves Winco and I have a few readers that really make out there so I think maybe I am just ridiculous. One thing I don’t like is that you just don’t know what deals you will find. I have 2 ladies that are getting together to share their Winco deals so if you like that store I can see if they will add you to their group :D

Leah November 9, 2010 at 4:39 PM

I’ve had the same issues as above with Safeway (1 box of cereal comes off at the “Super Coupon” price, the other rings up at regular price), and some of my “special savings” are ignored entirely. Last week, the only person in the entire store who could give refunds was at lunch. Super helpful, Safeway!

I don’t want to have to watch my receipt constantly, I hate going to customer service to ask for a refund of $0.24, I don’t have the time to do that on every trip. I just want it to work right. I used to purchase quite a bit from Safeway above and beyond my coupon “stuff”, but I think the bare basics that I can’t pass up will be it from now on. I don’t blame them for stopping the eCoupon stacking. But I do think their program should work correctly and not be such a headache, and I don’t think that as a consumer that is too much to ask.

Lori November 11, 2010 at 8:34 PM

We do not have JFU yet, not even a hint of a breath about it, but Cellfire is no longer working in my area (Maryland). The safeway website has removed the links to all the coupon sites in my zipcode. It is allowing me to load coupons through JFU (I only loaded the Safeway ones, and have not tested them yet). The website will not load personal deals, saying the program is not available in my area yet.

JJ October 30, 2011 at 12:26 AM

My experience is not that bad with Safeway, except for 2 or 3 rude checkers that don’t know what double or one per purchase mean. I would really reccomend that even if you load the super or ad coupons to your card, clip it from the ad (there are tons of it at the entrance) that may save you of going to customer service to request a refund ;)

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