A few changes to Walgreens’ coupon policy have caused what threatens to become a major backlash led by fed-up couponers. And those who aren’t already vowing to boycott the drug store chain as a result, are at the very least scratching their heads about what might have prompted the coupon policy alterations.

Among the big changes in Walgreens’ revised coupon policy are that coupons can no longer be used on items made free by a “buy one get one” or “buy two get one” offer. But the real kicker is that now, “Walgreens will not accept coupons that exceed the selling price of an item and no cash back is ever provided in exchange for any coupons.”

As for the first change, it’s not all that unusual for a store to not accept coupons on free items. Technically, the store should get reimbursed (and paid a handling fee) for all coupons used in such a scenario, but some stores reason that you’re already getting one of the items for free, so you can’t get a discount on something you haven’t paid anything for.

The second change is the more unusual – and restrictive – one. Even before the policy change, Walgreens didn’t give cash back for any coupons that exceeded the selling price of an item. Instead, in what has long been considered something of a controversial practice, but a grudgingly accepted one, Walgreens has always adjusted down the value of a coupon as needed, to ensure that couponers are not credited with any more money than an item is worth.


But to now flatly refuse to accept, say, a $1 coupon on a 99-cent item and hand it back to the customer? That’s most unusual, if not unprecedented.

And it’s proving to be the last straw for many Walgreens couponers, who are flooding the store’s Facebook page with complaints. “Your new coupon policy is horrible and is a deal breaker for me,” wrote one commenter. “Just threw away my Balance Rewards card. You will never see my business again,” said another. “Your new coupon policy was CLEARLY written by an idiot!” opined a third commenter, while another chimed in, “If you’re worried about losing money maybe you should have changed your incompetent cashiers instead of your coupon policy.”

Walgreens has not offered any explanation as to what prompted the changes. But some couponers are speculating that simplifying the policy is probably easier than training cashiers on every nuance of every coupon scenario. Some cashiers may get confused when presented with a coupon on a free item, and some may not understand the concept of adjusting down a coupon, or even know how to do it. So why not eliminate those problems by eliminating these coupon scenarios altogether?

It might streamline things, but it certainly doesn’t endear Walgreens to customers whose patience has already worn thin. In the past year alone, Walgreens has come under fire for not being able to keep sale items in stock, for sloppy and deceptive pricing, and for just plain high prices.

“You seriously might as well ban all coupons and just mark down your prices,” one disgruntled Facebook commenter wrote. A complete ban on coupons seems unlikely, but then so did a ban on coupons that exceed the selling price of an item. These days, when it comes to Walgreens, it seems that just about anything is possible.


  1. Eh, Walgreens is always too expensive anyway. Sale or no sale.
    Next thing you will see is them eliminating the stacking of Walgreens coupons and MFR Coupons.
    Then the monthly coupon savings books will be gone and go “digital.”
    So if you think this is bad? You ain’t seen nothing yet.
    Retailer’s revenge at its’ finest as I illustrate in my blog:
    Seems to be the trend. The MFRs are just making up all of that lost money by raising prices in the stores, offering terrible sale ads and not putting coupons in the paper like they did three years ago.
    After all they have to fuel their private jet, keep the penthouse office and take six vacations a year.
    Fighting with a cashier won’t solve the problem as they are not only abused by the company they work for but the MFR’s of the items as they coordinate all of this.
    All in a coordinated effort to squeeze every last penny out of the consumer’s pocket to pad their lavish lifestyles on the backs of every working poor American and low wage employee they hire.
    You can enter any store name here and the song remains the same.

  2. Looks like I will be shopping cvs & schnucks from now on.. Dumb move walgreens…

  3. I am a couponer and we have 8 children when I shop I do not believe in clearing shelves but having said that if it is an item my family uses we do use it in bulk …. the coupon group I belong to donates alot of their stock to local charities to help those of us who have fallen on hard times , one thing to consider walgreens and employees our group is over 800 members in a town of 1800 people if we quit shopping walgreens in our town how long do you think it will be before there is no reason to keep the doors open???

  4. I rarely shopped at walgreens due to poor customer service and high prices before I started couponing. I have tried couponing exactly 3 times and will not shop in that store anymore. My coupons were legit and I was following the rules and was treated poorly. I stopped shopping even before the new rules.

  5. For the cashier who stated that she dislikes couponers and said walk in her shoes, let me tell you that I’ve been on both ends!! Do your job! It’s not your money or merchandise!! Couponers stock up, so what, have you ever worked in a fast food place or clothing store, believe me, it’s worse with the verbal abuse… Like some other person said, get another job if you don’t like it!! You say you are a mother, well sounds like you can afford full price and work two jobs huh!! There is different reasons why people coupon!!! If you don’t like your job, quit, go to college and get a better job, bc by the sounds of it you’ve been working for 6 years at a retail job knowing that at every retail job is hell!! Coupons or not. Retail sucks and that’s everywhere!!! Get over it and find a job you love cause if not you will continue to have crazy customers, couponers or not.!

    • No, I coupon right. And respectfully for others in the same profession. And I have worked fast food and in clothing stores to even at the same time just put myself through college. I have a bachelors degree in international business. I speak three languages fluently. I have bills up the wazzu as one could imagine having spent time in a college, paying a mortgage on top of that. Unfortunately, you “hopefully” know at this point in the world economy positions aren’t opening up. Even for people with degrees. I still do what I must to put food on the table for my children WITHOUT being a snot to the person I purchase my groceries from. Maybe you’ve had everything handed to you on a silver platter. But some of us have had to slog through the tough jobs to get where we want to be. Alors que mâcher. Je parie que ce sera un peu trop dur pour vous.

      • I have an MBA, an electronics tech, and a computer networking degree and I’ve been out of work since 2009. I don’t know why they say the recession is over when people still can’t find jobs. They say every month how many jobs are added to the economy, but what kind of jobs are they? Service and retail?

        I commiserate with you…

  6. I process coupons for a national chain. I’ve never seen a company attempt not to pay because of “excess of normal household usage”, they have no idea what is normal.It’s none of their business either, if the coupons are legit. If we had a company, even proctor and gamble attempt not to reimburse us, I and the legal team would be up their butt like a rude couponer and we’d let every other coupon processing store know about it. A customer could buy shampoo once every 2 months, with the sale cycle. Only coupons I’ve ever seen declined were expired ones. Saying this, and having worked in retail situations where customers really should have been waterboarded, walgreens does suck at restocking. I used to love popping in with and getting a couple of great deals on skin care or acne stuff for my kids, but even though couponers really should have the manners to not clear the shelf (skin care items do expire people it’s ridiculous to stock pile them because they will go bad and then you’re absorbing something gross through your skin). Walgreens should be prepared for a run on their sale items every Sunday morning, the company alienates so many customers with their policy of only keeping so much sale product on hand. That said, as a customer you have a responsibility to treat your cashier with civility and be considerate of other shoppers. I work in retail and wont go to my corner walgreens anymore, not even for prescriptions because they don’t seem to want business.

    • Well said. Thank you.

    • Agree on the stocking issue. Unfortunately it’s because of our newly incorporated automated ordering system that they’ve told us would order items automatically based on future sale ads or item shelf quantities. They’ve told us to trust it but in all honesty they’ve got more glitches than smooth orders with it. If a few items are stolen and the inventory isn’t updated for the loss the shelf could be empty but the system still says it has plenty in stock which interrupts the flow. With us individuals who see first hand what is on the shelf but can’t tell the telxon to order more than 1…It’s just as annoying for us as it is for shoppers.

    • Have you shared your argument with the coupon information corporation? Probably not because you are the liar they are looking they come across every day.

  7. With the changes in coupon policy I would just close in duncan Oklahoma I will no longer shop in your store and anything associated with your any Walgreens. This is unacceptable from a corporation.

  8. Companies like proctor and gamble are losing billions of dollars a year due to extreme couponing! They no longer pay retailers money for coupons like they have in the past. If they deem coupons used in retail stores to be excessive “beyond normal household use” they chargeback the retailer. No wonder retailers are tighting the rules on coupon usage. Retailers are losing money as well and will just raise prices to help offset the loss due to extreme couponing.

  9. Wow! Couponers always trying to get something for free. Always trying to scam! You are upset because you have to follow rules now. Besides the fact you hold up lines, argue with employees , and when you don’t get what you want leave a mess!

    • I shop for a household of 9, soon to be 10. My daughter, her husband, and 2 kids – soon to be 3 – have moved back in while saving money for an apartment. We live in Charleston, SC where rents are some of the highest in the nation. I also help out my other daughter, her husband, and her daughter who are severely underemployed.

      What is “normal household usage” for a family of 10? We go through at least 2 rolls of toilet paper a day. Since all the kids are aged 3 and under, we go through sometimes 3 rolls of paper towels a day. What is “normal usage”?

  10. Wow! First, there are a lot of coupon haters on a website for couponers, why are you on this site? Walgreens is the most unfriendly store for coupons, they make it very HARD to use coupons. If you are getting stuff for Free at Walgreens with coupons you are putting in a lot of work to get them. They already have a ton of rules you have to follow any ways. I am shocked by the new rules. I like couponing at Walgreens but will probably have to stop shopping there because of these new rules. If Walgreens don’t like couponers then stop taking coupons! As for the Walgreen workers that let rude comments, I suggest you find another line of work, we are customers just like everyone else and because we choose to use coupons that may cause you a little bit more work that does not give you the right to be rude to us in the store or on a web site for couponer!!!!!! Is there a web site for Walgreens employees that I can go on and leave rude comment about you and how crappy your customer service skills are.

    • Hey guess what? I’m a customer too when I’m off the clock. But I don’t make things difficult for the cashiers when I’m checking our regardless of which store I shop at. I don’t cry over a change in policy coupon policy either. Or blame them when a sale price doesn’t adjust correctly. I’d rather pay the .50 cents and go home. But couponers. Man, I watched a lady chew out a new manager for that .25 cent coupon (I mentioned in a previous post)we couldn’t take it because it had expired by two weeks. She went on and on at how she had used others at the other stores with no problem wahh wahh wahh waaah. On and on for 20 more minutes my manager has to go into the office to answer a code for the Garda trucks. He excused himself politely and let her know he’d be back in a few minutes to take down her name and number ect. Soon as he goes into the office she comes to me and says ” you tell that sniveling jack ### I’m not staying another minute I’ve left my SICK husband in the car and he needs his meds, he could be dead!” ….yeah she’s got a great grasp on priorities there. All that heckling over .25 and wasting my managers time and potentially the life of her sick husband and you don’t see where the animosities are coming from? And a lot of those policy changes have been in play for a while. They’ve had to refraise them so customers can’t say they didn’t understand it or didn’t know they couldn’t do that. If anyone would bother to read the rules anyway. I have regular couponers that I love to see because they honor the policy, they don’t abuse it or myself and coworkers. The overly aggressive gimme gimme couponers are the ones that make a great day go sour.

      • Also what I or any other employee say off the clock is free game plus there’s that fancy thing called freedom of speech. There isn’t anything you could possibly do except by proving my point with more whining 1-800-WALGREENS is one you can call or find the facebook app and complain your hearts out more. Don’t care. I’m not at work while I post these or on the clock. So go ahead make my day ladies.

  11. as a Walgreens cashier I have to ask…. did you check your information before you wrote this? I handle couponers every day for the company. I even help them learn how to coupon if needed. I feel that this article was written as a temper tantrum full of half true arguements. I highly suggest that you look up the Walgreens coupon policy before taking this article to heart.

    • I don’t think anyone is having a temper tantrum here, except perhaps in some of the comments.

      If you think there is anything “half true” in the article, I invite you to click through to the Walgreens coupon policy, which is linked to in the article, and see the changes for yourself. Whether or not you agree with the changes or the reasons for them, is up to you.

  12. This is why I stopped shopping @ Walgreens last year. Crappy cashiers, lack of merchandise and very coupon unfriendly.

  13. Who cares if you couponers don’t shop at walgreens anymore your just getting stuff for free anyways. Eventually all company’s will be on the same page it’s annoying I go in for a sale item and you couponers take 20 of everything seriously who needs that many, you probably don’t even use half of stuff purchased or got free whatever get over it!

  14. I have worked for Walgreens for 24yrs. I wish they would get rid of coupons all together and just lower the prices when the items are to go on sale. I hate the game, everyone should benefit from a sale that’s why they call it a sale. Some people have couponing down to an art, others use it to scam example by copying a coupon when it is meant for one person one buy. I am surprised that the manufactures that give coupons don’t pay on half that are counterfeit. All I can tell u as a cashier coupons are a pain in the ass half of them don’t scan anyway just DO AWAY WITH THEM PLEASE!!!!

  15. All I would have to say is Wow!! Really can’t you people find something better to do. Corporate is only going to fire the cashier you challenge , asking them What could you have done differently? As for you they are going to please you for the moment and move on.

  16. Seriously? I have worked in retail for almost 20 years in various companies and NEVER did ANY of them EVER give cash back on a coupon. If the coupon was valued more than the item price then the item was brought to zero and that was the end of it. If an item was part of a buy one get one promotion you did not get to use a coupon on the one you had to buy, there is never any double dipping of discounts. I never knew that Walgreens did this and frankly all the people who are whining about it should feel grateful that they got to enjoy it while they could. I don’t blame Walgreens in the least.

    • There are stores, like Publix, that take Publix coupons AND a mfr coupon on the same item. If it results in an overage, they put it on a Publix gift card.

      Harris Teeter used to allow overages on items you could use to offset the price of other items, but not allow cash back. They’ve changed the policy to just zero out the item and not give overage credit.

      Walmart used to allow overages and put it on a gift card…They still do depending on the store.

  17. I’ve been an employee at Walgreens for 6 years. I hate this place more than you could possibly imagine but what is really irritating is you whiners who complain about not being able to redeem a .25 coupon. You want to know why we have to change our coupon policy is because you guys get sneaky and try to scam us by making us pay you via buy 1 get one free coupons. You continuously abuse the register rewards and points then whine when we’re out of stock or try to limit. Our policy is clearly stated with limitations if you’d bother to freaking read the fine print. Don’t blame us cashiers. Period. Because guess what I don’t like having to deal with your attitudes of self entitlement. Get over it.

    • Couldn’t said it better myself, almost sounds like something I would say. I’m an SFL, and sick and tired of these customers who want everything free.

      • You two ‘self entitled employees’ are exactly the reason why people complain of ignorant cashiers/mgrs in Walgreens stores. Obviously you have FORGOTTEN (if you ever even knew to begin with) that you work at Walgreens – a company who provides SERVICE to individuals who come in to SHOP, which in turn pays YOUR wages. You are not hired to judge the customers of your store – you are hired to check them out and follow company policy regardless of how you feel about it (frankly I could give two s**ts what you think). If you are dense enough to not understand how and why a person coupons or how coupons are redeemed by your company, then please………..get a job scooping Elephant s**t at the circus!

        • I’m too busy scooping up all your sh*t lady. And people like you. You think we enjoy being treated like that. “Just do your job” I do by enforcing the code set down by corporate. However, you all deem yourselves above our policy and us. And it shows. This is a time to let you know that maybe it’s your self entitled attitude that makes working retail horrible. I have couponers that I enjoy seeing and helping. Because they understand and respect the policy and my myself and coworkers. They don’t have hissy fits and fling products across the counters at me or coworkers when they are told they have to purchase the limit to keep items in stock. Do you have any idea what I have to put up with on a daily basis? The verbal abuse and degradation and I have to apologize and smile as if it was all my fault to begin with even though they’re the ones behaving like a child. We get to just nod and take it. Get off your high horse and think about it. If you were in my place wouldn’t you like to be treated like a human being? There are good people but this couponing sensation has turned nice people into jerks. You are probably borderline. Have you ever worked retail in your entire life. If you have try to remember what it was like.

          • Dear employee, as stated before, you have a job that is in the service industry – not all customers are nice and friendly; not all customers care how you are treated; not all customers have time to care because they have way too much on their plate too; Sadly, my statement still stands because you lump every single couponer in the same category and ASSume things you know nothing about. Just because a person coupons or does not coupon, does not make them a bad person.

            What is highly irritating to me (and yes I coupon quite often) is:
            1) employees who dislike every couponer because of a few and lump us all together.
            2) who think we are ‘stealing’ because most have no clue how coupons should be used or how the stores are reimbursed (and the stupid stores leave it up to most decent couponers to explain it)
            3) who do not like to ring said coupons because it takes too much time (remember you do get paid because you service others)
            4) because cashier’s/mgrs dislike couponers so much they purposely try to deny legit coupons and policies.

            You know not one thing about me and how I treat people, therefore you need to shut your mouth and do your job – waiting on customers with and without coupons and abiding by Walgreen’s policy.

            Maybe it’s time to let you know if you don’t like your job or the people you have to deal with, GET ANOTHER ONE!

      • What the crap is a SFL???

  18. first off clearing house and manufacters dont know what sale was inplace when coupon was used by consumer, secondly tax is always applied so items are never really “free”……these changes hurt all of us, couponers shop the most, its referred to as stock piling!!! we keep retail and manufacters in business.

    • I agree.walgreens is known as the least coupon friendly store&these coments proof it. We costomers r the whiners?
      Hm,these comments speak differently.once every2yrs walgreens may have something worthy of me going in with some coupons,other times i dont go in at all. Manufacturers do pay stores even for fake or fraudlent coupons unless its obvious. Stores get paid the value of the coupon plus8cents for each coupon through each step&there r many steps. At stores that r coupon friendly i shop 1-2xa wk&i let everyone i meet know about them. My fav store has coupon events about1wk a moth. During that time i&many other couponers shop there atleast almost every day,most shop every day&we dont get only 3 grocery bags full,we buy AT LEAST 1entire cart full top&bottom each day. If i need a drug store i go to cvs,they r coupon friendly&sometimes give me coupon tips&they smile more at customers with&without coupons. Gee i wonder where any retail incl walgreen employees would be without all the whining customers.hm no customers equals no jobs equals even they will need coupons to survive the unemployment line.couponers r the friendliest ppl&the most helpfull&most generous,always willing to share&donate,but also human&unapreciative of being called whiners aka crybabys,thats not something u should call any customer. Walgreen is known to be the least coupon friendly store.NOW i know why.its1thing to be thought of a fool&another to open ur mouth&remove all doubt. Thats a saying for the general u. Couponers have many bloggs nationwide&belong to many groups often with 10000plus members,ill be sure to direct them all to this page. Any employee admitting they work for wag&calling customers whiners is representing the entire wag co.&implying the entire chain feels that way.

      • Well Susan it appears you also like cutting out letters that form complete words as well. I’m sorry if you can’t respect the fact that it does effect the company, investors AND employees. A lot of manufacturers are refusing the printed coupons which so guess what? We’re not gaining a profit after out of ohhh say. 60.00 purchase you are only paying maybe 5 or less. Where’s our profit? You also try our patience when you do multiple purchases for register rewards on top of it. Which it says on the tag and in add LIMIT ONE register reward. Then act all self entitled to take up 30 minutes or more if you can’t read the total amount properly for subtractions and don’t apply tax ect. Making a huge line and creating a scene where you look like the turd. Not moi. Now, switch places with me. How would you feel being called stupid and incompetent at your job because the computer said that the limit of coupons has been met. How would you like being yelled at by someone who isn’t prepared for the occasional manufacturer coupon that is no longer being accepted. They DO recall coupons from time to time. Forcing coupons is monitored closely and could very well end up getting us fired. Oh and last but not least. Our stores hours are based on what we make. No profit no hours and right now I get to find a second job to be able to support my kids as a single mom. So. Before you open your large flabby self entitled mouth. See it from the employees point of view who’s hours are getting reduced because of your coupon hoarding addiction. I’ve seen great managers get fired because they gave in just once to twits like you and either forced it through/modified the coupon and it came back as a FRAUDULENT coupon. Fake. Where’s the reimbursement for a 20.00 off coupon? We clearly can’t trust you couponers and as of late the manufacturers are catching on and changing their acceptance policy for limiting one coupon of the same kind in the same transactions. Go take your torches to them lady. Or show some respect for employees who have to put up with verbal abuse over this stupid crap on a daily basis with a smile on our face. Wow. Rant over. Hope I didn’t strain you with all the big words. Thank you, and be well. 😉

        • Cry me a river Terra with your “You also try our patience when you do multiple purchases for register rewards on top of it.” Don’t you get paid by the hour to provide a service to customers?????/

          • I’d like to see how much patience you’d have after spending a half hour one the front(main) register with the same customer. With you being the only person on the floor because a coworker called in sick and the other coworker is on break while the manager is in pharmacy. Judging by your attitude alone I would say you wouldn’t handle it well or with any grace. I don’t heckle or tell them to hurry up. I just have to kindly repeat our coupon policy and stock limitations until they finally understand. And then ring up the 20 other customers that have lined up behind the person holding up the line. I seriously doubt you’ve ever worked in a retail setting. If any of you had experience behind the counter I bet a lot of you would check your attitudes at the door and respect the rules and other customers who would also like the products being horded in your cart. As long as it’s within the stock limit and one register reward is printed per offer as stated in our add and there’s no line I usually don’t mind. And I bet you all havebeen out during a black Friday. That pretty much sums up how it is on a daily basis solely in the body of a select couponers. Sure I get paid by the hour to as you say “service” you. But that doesn’t give you or anyone else to verbally abuse myself or other cashiers. Or act like every thing we’ve done is an inconvenience you because we have to follow the rules set by Corporate. It’s not the cashiers that have the attitude problem. We can’t defend ourselves from your assaults. We get to nod and take it with a smile and an I’m sorry but it won’t change the rules. Do you know how many regular couponers that come into my store saying they’ll never shop there again because we couldn’t let them buy 10 shaving creams and they’re back the very next day trying to do the exact same thing and once again getting upset. They keep coming back over and over again. I have other regulars that are really awesome and I love seeing them come in. They respect my coworkers and myself and follow the rules no fuss muss even when a coupon doesn’t work or has expired they understand and are nice about it. Wouldn’t you like it if I were nice to you at your place of work? Wouldn’t it make your day more pleasant?

          • We dont get paid extra to deal with you!

    • Welcome to the information age of 2014 ! Yes manufactures know the information!

  19. This isn’t news. The policy hasn’t changed. Not being able to take a coupon for over the amount paid on an item isn’t “unfair”, it’s honest. Doing otherwise would be coupon fraud, in which case, the company could use their license to accept coupons. Do your research. And they don’t get credit for $1.50 when it’s scanned in as $1 to accommodate the customer. They turn in what was scanned in, and coupons are adjusted to what they were scanned for. Find something else to complain about please. This is incorrect, petty, and completely rediculous.

  20. For one…we are not losing our discounts…for two we wouldn’t be out of stock on sale items if that one couponer on Sunday morning wouldn’t buy us out with all her coupons…God forbid we limit couponers to 3 sale items so that the rest of the customers have a chance to get a good deal as well….and third cause its honestly a waste of time arguing with people who want everything for free…it’s NOT a training issue, but cashier obviously get confused when dealing with the pushy couponers….do me a favor walk a day in the life of a cashier who deals with the couponers who think they know it all…u might be singing a different tune…9 years with walgreens….thanks

  21. I think it is pitiful.. I know they are in the business to make money. But, when they get the face value of the coupon plus a percentage on top it is ridiculous that they would want to drive couponers away with unnecessary policy changes. I do believe they will lose a lot of business because of this. I personally do not shop there much because they always mess up somehow and hardly fix it appropriately.

  22. I coupon, but I also get sick of the whining when a store changes their policy. Stores are not out to save the customer’s money. They are in business for a profit. Nothing else. Accepting coupons is a favor to us.
    do I like the change?… no I do not. But I will live with it.

  23. Well I’ll be going to Wal-mart and doing a price match then if they are going to do that. But my main problem is with the adjusting a coupon down. They will still get the full amount but you can’t. I had dollar tree do that they said they couldn’t do a coupon over $1 even though the coupon was for $1.50 off 2 so they just did the $1 but when they turned it in they should have got the whole $1.50 which I don’t find fair.

  24. Hmmm, interesting. I did used to like doing a bogo free sale with bogo free coupon at Walgreens, annoying that now I can not. When it comes to the $1 off coupon for a $.99 item, it always depended on the store. One store in Waukesha, WI wouldn’t do it. The other just forced the $1 coupon through. No one knew how to reduce the value of the coupon. I will have to keep these changes in mind though, as it does come up often enough.

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