ppod_citn-728x90
ppod_citn-320x100

ShopRite

On the one hand, many people seem unconcerned with clipping coupons at a time like this – they’re simply grabbing the essentials when they can, no matter the price. On the other hand, it’s a time of great economic uncertainty, and for people who don’t know when they’re going to get another paycheck, saving every penny is essential.

So it may not have been the best of times for ShopRite stores to decide to stop doubling coupons.

Granted, word of the impending policy change emerged earlier this month, before it was clear that the coronavirus pandemic was about to completely upend our way of life and our typical grocery shopping routine. But, as it turns out, the policy change is taking effect at a particularly unusual moment – when shoppers are either shrugging it off due to more pressing concerns, or are more upset about it than they might otherwise be because they’re dealing with enough economic stress as it is.

Officially, ShopRite has confirmed that coupon doubling will end in about two dozen New York capital region stores this coming Sunday, March 29th. But some shoppers in Maryland have said they’ve been told coupon doubling is also ending in their area. A swamped ShopRite spokesperson has not been able to offer any clarification on how widespread the policy change is. ShopRite’s official coupon policy still states that “double coupon policies vary by store. Check your store for details.”

In confirming the New York changes, at least, ShopRite’s official explanation was similar to those offered by other grocers that preceded it in eliminating double coupons. “When it comes to paper manufacturer coupons, we find that many of them are offered at a face value that does not qualify for doubling,” the company explained. “As a result, we find that fewer customers are saving money with double coupons. In addition, an increasing number of manufacturers are issuing coupon offers digitally.”

It’s a bit of corporate double speak, of course, since the fact that fewer coupons qualify for doubling, or that there are more digital coupons available, doesn’t exactly justify jettisoning the double coupon policy altogether. Why not increase the doubling threshold then, or offer to double digital coupons?

RevTrax-UMO-336x280-1

The simple answer is that doubling coupons is an expensive perk that no longer carries the promotional punch that it once did. Kroger led the way in phasing out double coupons, beginning nearly a decade ago, and many competitors followed its lead. The trend seemed to slow down after the last Kroger division snuffed out doubles a few years ago. But the pace picked up again this year, as Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle and Kroger-owned Roundy’s stores in the Midwest became the latest to eliminate the once-popular perk.

ShopRite shoppers might have seen this coming for some time now, as the company has been tightening up its coupon policies. Already, ShopRite was one of very few retailers to allow the stacking of paper and digital manufacturer’s coupons – until last year, when it ended the practice. ShopRite was also one of very few retailers to accept paper coupons for online orders – until it ended that practice late last year, too.

ShopRite also has been focusing on offering more “everyday low prices,” as opposed to offering quite so many big weekly sales and promotional perks like coupon doubling. Its “Right Price Promise” rolled out to stores last fall, offering lower regular prices on key items, so shoppers can be confident about getting good deals without having to wait for a sale.

But even that strategy has been difficult to maintain in the current environment. Some shoppers are complaining that prices on some key items – if you can even find any of them in the stores – are far from low lately. “Because of the high demand placed on many of the products we sell, we have seen our suppliers raise their prices on items such as meat, eggs, and produce. We’ve had to pass those price increases on to our customers,” ShopRite explained.

Out-of-stocks, higher prices, streamlined policies – like temporarily eliminating rain checks and returns, implementing purchase limits, and scaling back weekly sales circulars – are already shaking up shoppers’ routines. Eliminating double coupons on top of it all, has sent some already stressed-out ShopRite customers over the edge.

“The limits are reasonable but taking the doubling coupons and rain checks away especially at a time like this is price gouging and not right!” one shopper wrote on ShopRite’s Facebook page. “People need to save every penny they can and ShopRite has decided to keep the money for themselves,” another grumbled. “Prices are a lot higher in the stores. And this week’s sale paper is a joke on top of not doubling coupons. Way to take advantage of a bad time,” a third shopper complained.

We’re living through uncertain and unprecedented times. So not being able to get your coupon doubled is far from the worst thing that can happen to you this week. But as shoppers scramble to fill their pantries without breaking the bank – it certainly doesn’t help.

Image source: ShopRite

2 Comments

  1. Kris Costello says:

    I shop at the Lincoln and Landis Shoprite in Vineland, NJ and I’m from Vineland. I’ve noticed price gouging on their Bounty paper towels! $15-$20 for a 6 pack of paper towels, come on!!! It’s been this way a long time and even a 12 pack is almost $30.00!!! Please LOWER these prices, especially at times like this!

  2. This is not just Capital Region. It’s the lower and mid-Hudson Valley — Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan Counties. They are all corporate owned stores.

    When Shoprite did this at some other New York stores, I thought it was because competitors in the region did not double. That is not true here. Hopefully Acme and Stop & Shop do not follow their lead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Privacy Policy
Disclosure Policy