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Well, here’s something that would open up a world of possibilities, if other stores were to follow suit. The Cleveland, Ohio-based Marc’s Grocery & Deep Discount Stores confused couponers this week, with its ad encouraging shoppers to use two manufacturer’s coupon on a single item. A $5 off manufacturer’s coupon appears in its current circular, and $2 off manufacturer coupons (“peelies”) are attached to the packages in store. The ad suggests you use both to get a $7.59 package of Zantac for 59 cents.

This, of course, runs counter to one of the most basic tenets of couponing – you cannot use more than one manufacturer’s coupon on a single item. You’ll find that on just about every coupon, and in just about every store’s coupon policy. Indeed, Marc’s own coupon policy states “We’ll accept one Marc’s coupon and one manufacturer coupon for the same item.” Yet neither of the Zantac coupons is a Marc’s store coupon.

“Marc’s is ENCOURAGING us couponers to break one of the GOLDEN RULES of couponing,” wrote one commenter on the internet coupon forum HotCouponWorld. “If they get audited the stores are not going to be able to prove sales that match the coupons,” said another. “They could get in trouble.”

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Shoppers who began questioning Marc’s got several different answers. “We can take both since the one coupon is attached & the other is only valid at Marc’s – even though it says Manufacturer’s,” Marc’s said in response to a question on its Facebook page. “I was told that ‘Marc’s will always take 2 manufacturer’s coupons as long as one is attached to the item,’ reported the website MissionToSave.com. Later, the same site reported, “Just got off the phone with corporate. The in ad ‘MQ’ is actually intended to be a Marc’s Store Coupon (even though the wording says otherwise).”

So is Marc’s treating the in-ad manufacturer’s coupon as a store coupon? Or is it treating the peelie as a store coupon? Or is it rewriting couponing rules altogether and just saying, go ahead and use two manufacturer’s coupons, why not? The Marc’s spokesperson who responded to us said the final word was this: “Yes, the $5.00 in ad manufacturer coupon can be combined with the $2.00 on pack coupon as the ad features. Our policy is: a manufacturer coupon can be taken in addition to an on pack coupon.” In answer to the question of whether a customer can use a different, higher-value manufacturer’s coupon instead of the $2 peelie, the answer was: “No, you cannot switch out the $2.00 on pack coupon with an additional higher value manufacturer coupon.”

Ultimately, a store can make whatever coupon policy it wants, even when, as MissionToSave.com says, stacking two manufacturer’s coupons “goes against every coupon bone in my body!” The store will be accountable when it submits the coupons for redemption. So presumably Marc’s knows what it’s doing and its promotion with Zantac allows this particular coupon-stacking scenario, though the store spokesperson wouldn’t get into details about exactly why.

So remember: combining two manufacturer’s coupon on a single item is expressly prohibited. Except when it’s not. That clears up everything!

3 Comments

  1. mikepearson says:

    I think this is a smart sale. By limiting the second coupon to a peelie on the box, Marcs knows just how many are available to its customers. And since they are cheaper than other drug stores, they probably sell plenty without coupons to cover the extra peelies, so there should be no audit problem. The bad news is that by Thursday, all the boxes with peelies were gone in 3 different Marc’s that I checked. However, I was able to get one box Wed night.

    Let’s hope they do more of this in the future.

  2. I just got off the phone with my contact at corporate. She said that the in ad coupon is indeed intended to be the Marc’s Store coupon and that yes you can use a different Manufacturer’s coupon in place of the peelie (just don’t try to use the peelie as a 3rd!). Peelies are created by the manufacturer and placed on the boxes when they are being made. That same peelie box could be headed to other stores, so not sure how they are saying it is the Store Coupon. Def a lot of confusion on this one. But I do know they want you to get the deal- so go ahead and stack. It’s ok! 😉

    • Thanks for the info, Mary – looks like our corporate contacts are saying different things. I’ve followed up and have been reassured that the information in the article is correct and that Customer Service has since been notified to handle it in the way it was explained to me.

      This doesn’t quite explain the “why” to those who are curious about this stacking scenario, but at least it clears up that the deal is doable exactly as they describe it, for those who want to take advantage of it.

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