Let’s talk about Safeway’s, ummm… coupon issues?

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Emails have been pouring in about your less than exciting shopping trips…and I feel so bad for you guys.  It looks like a lot of things are changing at Safeway, especially in regards to eCoupons.  I think I can safely say that those awesome FREE deals just might be coming to an end.

With that said, I’ll be visiting Safeway headquarters in just a couple of weeks as they share about a new Savings/Deal program.  After that I am sure we will have the answers we are all looking for.

You can review the current Safeway Coupon Policy here.  Here is an email from a recent reader – I’m sure you can see how frustrating this has b.com/e.

Have you heard from anyone about having any issues using coupons at Safeway?  I’m having trouble at my Safeway (Balfour at Fairview in Brentwood).  They rudely told me “if the internet coupons don’t scan, we DON’T take them.”  I handed the cashier my coupons today and she immediately looked disgusted.  It was really discouraging and I will be contacting Safeway.

The cashier first sorted all my coupons and then told me I couldn’t use my cereal coupons because “I would be getting them for FREE.”  I responded that actually they would be 49 cents each!

What Safeway do you go to and do you have any issues there?  I’m really ready to go to a different store because they always make me feel as if I’m stealing!  I really feel like a criminal.  I’m only upset because this has happened more than once.

Any advice you have is really appreciated!  Thanks so much! –Michelle

Have you guys had similar experiences to the one above? If so, please share in thecomments section.  I’m hoping my u coming trip to Safeway will help us all figure out the best and most comfortable way to shop those deals and NOT feel like a criminal – that is absolutely terrible.


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  1. My e-coupons (Cellfire & Shortcuts) rarely come off, and in the last 2-3 weeks none of them have – very frustrating. I’ve also had an issue where the checker wouldn’t take both a Safeway in-ad coupon and a manufacturer coupon – but – on my way out of the store the customer service person gave me a refund.

    I shop at San Jose, Campbell and Los Gatos stores

  2. Safeway Castro Valley CA frequently runs out of stock on sale items, especially later on. Asking for a rain check gets, “Sorry, we don’t issue them for 4 day sales”, or “Sorry no rain checks on super coupons”. Of course they have stock on non-sale product. Somehow they get away with this kind of bait and switch.
    Or, for example, they will stock green (sale) and red (non-sale) grapes right next to each other, with a big sale banner, but be out of stock on the sale grapes, and sell the red ones for 3-4 times as much. They cynically behave as if this kind of deception/scam played upon the customer is ok. I could go on….

  3. I think I might be on the other side of the country – I use the Safeway in Arnold/Annapolis, MD and haven’t had any problems with any coupons. I was just there on Saturday and all of my ecoupons came off (cheap Cheerios, Progresso and Chex Mix!), they took all my internet printed coupons and I was able to get in on the Cottonelle deal (there were plenty of blinkies left too so I’m going to go back and do it again!). So sorry everyone seems to be having problems. I wonder if this is regional?

  4. Yes, I have had similar experiences at my Safeway. Most especially when I take my receipt to get a price adjustment. The store managers (one in particular) make me think that I was wrong about the deal or that I am just making things up. I have had good experiences too with some of the cashiers who also love coupons.

  5. I am SO frustrated at the lack of customer service that I receive at Safeway in Tracy. My friend and I both have had cashier’s say rude things to us while checking out using coupons. We both contacted corporate and both received two totally different responses. I have taken my business to Raley’s and Savemart. I do not need to feel like a criminal while trying to save my family $ the honest way!

  6. WOW, I am so sorry you all are having such trouble. I shop at the Vons in Del Mar and Carmel Valley, and while I have also had trouble with the ecoupons working, the manager was always very nice and gave me the cash back after the fact. She said to avoid it, to print off the list of the e coupons you loaded to your card and check against your reciept. Its an extra step, but it might work for you all.
    Also, ive had trouble witht he “free” coupons, but usually they come via mail and are printed on special “check” paper. When I pointed this out, they gladly took it.
    As for the nasty comments, I seem to get those from the customers behind me vs the cashier, thankfully.
    I hope your experiences improve with Vons!

  7. wish i’d read these comments before heading to the safeway in brentwood on balfour! the ecoupons are now only comming off once instead of the multiples times that they used to. i wasn’t able to use a paper MQ in addition to the ecoupon. also, when i used a safeway coupon on an item that had an ecoupon attached, the ecoupon was taken off. no more safeway trips for me. easier and cheaper to do all my shopping at winco.

  8. I was telling everyone all about how great Safeway was and how that was goining to be my new place to shop but after this past weekend I will ot be going back unless there is a deal to die for. The manager and I were going round and round over coupons that the coupon policy I had said would work and they should accept versus the coupon policy she had that is TOTALLY different. I double checked the website and it’s not even on teh website yet. She said all the store managers had to sign this “new” policy and she had to abide by it even though it wasn’t up for public use. One issue was with Formula I have rebate checks from enfamil I had a safeway coupon (not manufacturer) for $13.85 off 2 cans and a $5 manufacture coupon wiht a target logo. The manger told me if I used the rebate checks and the $13.85 off 2 cans I couldn’t use the $5.00 my SIL gave me from target because the safeway catalina coupons are now considered Manufacture coupons and she should me one. I looked exactly like the one I was using EXCEPT the one I had was older and didn’t say Manufacturer cpn on the left side then she went as far as to tell me I doctored it. Finally she called somewhere and they told her they use to have them and to let me use it then she tried playing a guilt trip about how she is going to get in trouble and the money may get docked from her check. Told her sorry to hear it but I am using it. Also the coupon policy says safeway will give you the highest deduction amount and I argued over that. There was a peelie on my grands biscutts that was $.50 on 4 I had to manufacture q’s that were $.30 on 2 so if I bought 4 the 2/$.30 would have been $.60 on 4 cans and she wouldn’t use them because she used the $.50 peelie. I told her to give me hte peelie and use my coupons because it was more of a discount and she threw the oeelie in her drawer slot and said oops can’t get it now until the drawer opens and it won’t open until you finish the transaction. I could go on and on. This happened at the Safeway Store in Brentwood at Highway 4 and Central. I went there because I heard the Fairview one was having issues.

  9. the number of coupons being accepted is dwindaling. the blinkies didnt even work today. and I did them first before I did the safeway coupons this time so the register wouldnt say to many coupons. even my shortcut coupons didnt work. ugghh!!!

  10. There are 3 Safeways in Vallejo:
    The Safeway in Glen Cove in Vallejo is awesome! Their cashiers are always very friendly. However I recently found that my EQ’s do not come off…even if I wait 24-48 hours after I load them. I noticed last week that the SC’s don’t show up at the bottom of the receipt anymore with the MnfQ’s. The price reflects the SC’s but it is not a seperate line item as before.
    The Safeway on Georgia street is the worst when it comes to taking Q’s. They refused to take printed Q’s and even went as far as calling the store manager over (making me feel like a criminal) and glaring at me when the store manager said “We will accept it THIS TIME.”
    The Safeway on Admiral Callaghan, like the one in Glen Cove, has never given me any problems. The store manager rang me up recently and she was very excited about my savings.

    I am very diligent about making sure that I have all my Q’s in order, can account for each item that is rang up, and have a smile on my face. Rude cashiers are the worst…my heart starts pounding, I can feel my face turning red and I want to run from the store…but I compose myself and remember that I AM THE CUSTOMER and I shouldn’t be treated badly, I’ve done nothing wrong. In addition I avoid the locations that see Qing as a crime.

    • Linda Hahn says:

      The evening shift at the American Canyon Safeway was always fabulous to me too! Since I moved to Fairfield and had a horrible experience, I no longer shop at Safeway. But I do miss my regular lady that worked late at AmCan! She was almost like my own personal cheerleader! lol

  11. I have been having issues as well with my eCoupons coming off. I just went on Safeway.com to check out the coupon directory and found that they are switching to their Just for U eCoupons. I believe that when they originally launched this program, it was only available to Hawaii residents. After just getting off the phone, they are gradually launching it to all areas across the US! I live in El Dorado Hills, CA and was pleasantly surprised with the variety and dollar value of the eCoupons offered with this new program! And, as a bonus for registering your card, you get a FREE dozen eggs! So, I hope that this happens for all of us across the nation and hopefully this may explain some of the problems we all have been having with our eCoupons. Hopefully we don’t continue to have issues with this new program. And, personally, I will be printing my “shopping list” of eCoupons I just downloaded. In the event they don’t come off, I can immediately go over to Customer Service to have them remedy the problem and get my money back on the spot. Happy shopping!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I also had the same with safeway with a buy one get one. They said I could not get anything for free even thought that coupon was buy one get one

  13. I noticed the last time I went that my e-coupons did not come off and I figured that it was coming to an end. I won’t try to dispute with shortcuts or cellfire – that’s too much hassle. Oh well…. On the other hand, the Safeway in Pinole is very coupon friendly. I even forgot to bring my Beauty & the Beast coupon (IP) and just brought the coupon and receipt and they gave me my $10, no problem. If coupons don’t scan, they just manually enter them. They are always impressed with the savings! I’ve even had cashiers/managers comment to people behind me “Now this is the way to go!”

  14. Same here in Mesa AZ. Although my store has been pretty great about my coupons they did inform me that if it drops down to free I am unable to use the coupons. I only had one cashier get rude about a coupon not scanning. I told her to put that item aside, finished my order and took the offending coupon and item to the customer service desk and they scanned it just fine there. All in all my experiences have been great but it does seem Safeway is in the midst of making some policy changes. I look forward to hearing how your trip to Safeway goes! Thanks for all you do to have save us money!!!

  15. I hope they get rid of the Just 4 U program (Hawaii and Chicago so far), without stacking coupons, I just can’t make it worth the extra trip to go shop there anymore.

  16. I had a store in the Sac Valley tell me I couldn’t use my OYNO (from previous day) on my transaction, b/c I’d be saving over 50% on my bill. Funny part is, my “regular” coupons & club card savings had already brought my savings to over 50%. I’ve also been told that I can’t get stuff for free/nearly free with coupons- that they “don’t give groceries away”- even though I’ve politely pointed out that they are being completely reimbursed for any coupons I use.

    However, I also had a great cashier the other day, and when someone in line behind me made a comment on how great my savings were, the cashier actually commented “That’s nothing- I’ve seen people get entire carts, use coupons & pay just a few dollars- it’s really great”.

  17. Looks like the “Just for U” program is on Safeway’s website (for Northern California) and any reference to Shortcut and Cellfire (under coupons) has been deleted.

    • I live in So. Cal (Ventura County) and checked Vons.com, it still has links to shortcuts.com, cellfire, and pg&e saver. I have also had some trouble with e-coupons not coming off and was told that it takes at least 24 hours from when you load the coupon to your card for it to show up on the card in the store—does that make sense? Now I wait at least 24 hours after loading e-coupons before shopping and try to shop while my son is in school so I can go over the receipt without him saying, Mom we’re done right, let’s go home and put them away. :)

  18. When reading the Safeway Coupon Policy – under #15 it reads: Safeway reserves the right to refuse ANY coupons at its discretion! Just another reason why I will not be shopping at Safeway much anymore unless I don’t need to use coupons. Since Safeway’s regular prices are usually higher than some of my other Grocery stores I will just probably be shopping elsewhere.

    Juli I hope you find out some good information for us couponers next week.

    Thanks for everything you do to help us save money!!!!!

  19. Safeway also told me no printed coupons and only one coupon per item.

  20. I just returned from my Safeway in Walnut Creek (Countrywood Shopping Center) for the 2nd time today. When I got home I checked my receipt and sure enough, just like last week, the Safeway coupons (the ones in their ad) were not reflecting the right price. At least $1 over EVERY item! This week it was a $19 error, last week was $9.50!! Can you imagine if every customer was overcharged? The receipt was so confusing even the service dept. cashier was frustrated.

    The cashier both times just forced my manufactors coupons in and gave me credit for every one of them.

    I will say, every single casher, service desk, and store manager was extremely sorry and very easy to deal with. They even gave me a $10 gift card for my trouble. I know our store got new cash registers a few weeks ago and it’s been a problem since then.

  21. oh, I forgot to mention that the clerks in my Safeway were rotating thru some kind of training today for something NEW that will begin for us next week when we use our club card. Can’t wait to see what that might be!

    • I’ve heard Safeway will no longer allow the stacking of paper and e-coupons effective next week (at least, this is the word for N. California).

  22. I shop at the Safeway in Concord on Willow Pass. On my last trip last week I had a stack of coupons like normal except this time NONE of them went through…no internet printed, no Safeway, no straight from the paper. The cashier made some comment about this happening ALL day and hoped they figured out the problem soon. She didn’t even blink about them not scanning and just forced them to all go through. I thanked her for doing that and she said no problem. My ecoupons did not come off, but I was just happy that she pushed everything else through without any hassle. I have always thought of the ecoupons as a bonus so I guess I don’t notice it as much. Not every experience has been like that and I have times where they want to unpack all my groceries, but many times the baggers save me and will say she had 3 or 4 of whatever they are in this bag. From what she said and some of the comments on here it almost sounds like whatever new system they are using has some bugs in it causing it to not run properly! I usually shop off peak hours so I think that might help a lot. I may start trying the self checkout line for some of my more coupon heavy trips as it sounds like it runs smoother that way though.

  23. There is a cashier at my local Safeway who is extremely unfriendly when it comes to coupons. I’ve heard of many, many experiences in which shoppers are treated like criminals for using coupons at Safeway and I just don’t get it. I contacted them once about it via email and nicely suggested they consider revamping their employee training on coupons. They replied that this was not necessary (oh, really?). You would think Safeway would treat coupon shoppers with excitement vs. disdain – I mean, let’s look at it this way… if you were selling lemonade for $1 a glass, would you prefer I purchased one glass with cash or fifty glasses with a check? Assuming the check is good, the obvious choice is the latter. And that’s what ethical couponing is – we pay with “checks” written by the manufacturer. We spend countless hours finding ways to make the store money! Now, I don’t know if this is true but it’s the only thing that could explain the unfriendliness of many Safeway cashiers…. I heard that Safeway cashiers do not receive “credit” for coupon purchases… If this is true I would sure wonder why there is such a policy. At any rate, I look forward to hearing the results of your visit w/Safeway!!!

  24. Maureen Carlson says:

    I shop at the Downers Grove Dominick’s Store and was told by the regular cashier that i was being rude using so many coupons that i was holding up her line and that I should use the self check if I was going to use Coupons. so on my next visit that is what I did and after scanning 3 coupons it locked up the machine and was told to take my entire order to check out #1. Well guess who was my cashier.? she proceeded to say I thought i explained to you that you needed to use self check . I told her what happened and she moaned about having to check me out so I talked to the manager and was told next time go to a different cashier.
    she treats every coupon as if it was money out of her own pocket. I believe her name is Clair but I am not sure.
    on the positive side there are 2 cashiers Tammy and Andy that are always friendly and nice and if a coupon will not scan they try it manually and if that will not work. they apologize and explain they can’t take it. they do not try to make you feel like you are trying to commit coupon fraud

  25. I also was having trouble using coupons at Safeway. I handed the cashier my coupons and she stated how she couldn’t take the printed coupons. I told her I was just there yesterday with some and I wasn’t told that. When I asked her why she couldn’t take them she acted as if I was trying to do something wrong but didn’t want to tell me. She then looked over my shoulder to the lady at the next register and stated how they wasn’t allowed to take them at her old store in Richmond because of coupon fraud. I couldn’t believe what I just heard or should I say what I was being accused of. The second worker made a phone call and said “take them” All the coupons I gave her scanned fine with no problems. I told her the all have different numbers…I felt like I was being treated like a criminal and even looked at like one by the people that was waiting for them to hurry up and finish. The Safeway I go to is located in downtown Martinez. One time I was overcharged 19.20 because the items didn’t ring up at the right sale price that was advertised in their sales paper. I kept pointing to the sales paper and the item and this person was VERY upset that I bothered her to give me my money back. She treated me like she was only giving it to me to go away… I really don’t think she ever did understand

  26. Safeway routinely rips off people who don’t check their receipt before they leave the store.

    Today, I bought 2 half gallons of milk (Lucerne brand) for which I had a clipped coupon from the weekly ad for 99 cents per half gallon (limit 2), and they came up on my receipt for $1.59, even after giving the coupon to the checker. I had to go to the Customer Service Desk and wait in line while my perishibles withered to get my refund. The clerk there said the “system” was scanning these coupons at 1 cent, not 60 cents, as it should be in the ad.

    Make sure you check your coupon discounts at Safeway!!

  27. The new “Just 4 U” program has been a big headache. The coupons frequently don’t go thru, so you have to really scrutinize your receipts.
    Then, you have to get customer service to reimburse you for their computer’s mistake. The customer service employee told me I was supposed to bring a printout of everything I added to my card, so I could prove that I was supposed to get the discounts. The whole point of the program was supposed to be that you didn’t need to bring coupons; if you have to make a printout just to go shopping, it is not worth it!

  28. Note: The above happened at the Walnut Creek Countrywood store. I used to love that store, but lately their checkers have been kind of sullen or bored, so maybe I’ll try the Ygnacio store.
    The very best Safeway in this area is in Lafayette,
    always very friendly and courteous. “Just for U” messed up there also, but they were very nice and apologetic about it.

  29. I found this website looking to see if other people were having as much problems as I have trying to coupon at Safeway. My Safeway is Canby, Oregon. I have been refused by their cashiers to double on printable coupons, but I found out, Safeway has no such policy! Also, I was shopping one evening with coupons, and I was stopped by the cashier who told me I couldn’t use the cents off coupons if the item would be free. That is not the proper understanding of Safeway coupon policy! You can use cents off and get the item free, you just can’t make money on using the coupon. And you can’t use a coupon that says FREE on it, as there are coupons that are fraud saying FREE on them. Personally, I’ve never had a FREE anything coupon, only the BOGO Free coupons. I was also denied using two coupons at the same time, even though I was buying the coesponding product for each coupon. When I tried to correct the manager’s refusal to accept my coupons, she said she had the right under Safeway policy to make a decision not to accept my coupons. I think it is a grossly misunderstood and abused policy! If I had a suspicious coupon, that looked fraudulent, then I would understand the refusal. But my printable coupons all have the necessary watermarks, coding, etc. , to prove they are legitimate! I have had problems with this store manager before on other issues, she is very nasty, and shouldn’t be in the public eye! I’ve called corporate level to make a complaint, and I’ve asked for corporate involvement to educate there store personnel on the proper application and interpretation of their own couponing policies. I will be going out of my way to find other stores to shop at to use my couponing before going back there again. I’m tired of being treated like a criminal for couponing to stretch my SSI budget!

    • Ah, yes…..the agony of shopping at Safeway with coupons. Corporate does not care. Local stores will not allow us to get anything for free when using a cents off coupon. Coupons are rejected because “they have that right to do so according to the policy” Of course they do not adhere to the rest of their own policy! I wish the Safeway upper managements would read all the assorted online comments and get their act together by improving things at the individual store levels. I fail to understand why Safeway corporate is content to allow all this abuse of their own coupon policy to exist and why they do not get that they are losing so much money when we all take our bigger dollar value shopping trips to other store chains.

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