Ethics question: How would you use this coupon?

If you’re one of my regular readers, you know that couponing ethically is extremely important to me — to the point where I receive a good deal of “hate” mail for stressing the ethics of what we do.

But what happens when a coupon’s restrictions seem to contradict one another? Here’s a scan of a Stayfree coupon in today’s inserts:

It reads:
CONSUMER: Limit one coupon per person. No more than 4 coupons (of any kind) for the same product in the same transaction.

How are we supposed to interpret this? Limit one coupon per person is straightforward. But then the same coupon states that you can use four coupons like this one in the same transaction. If you have three other people at the register with you while you’re checking out one single transaction, can you use four of these? Or does it mean that you can use this $2 coupon, plus three other, different Stayfree coupons in the same transaction (like some .50 or $1 coupons?) That seemed like a possibility, except for the fact that there are no other current Stayfree coupons available at this time, either in the inserts or as printables.

What do you think this wording means?


  1. christina23 says

    My initial reaction was this is referring to stacking perhaps. If you use this coupon then you can use a store coupon and an ecoupon and one other perhaps. But the more I think about it that really doesn’t make sense.

    I’m at a loss on this one…

    A while back a store had a deal that you got $10 catalina when you purchase $50 giftcard and in the ad never set a limit. Once in the store a sign read limit one per person, per transaction, per card, per household (not 100% if in that order). How confusing is that? I just assumed they were trying to cover themselves and get the point across that you were only going to get one deal no matter what angle you played.

    Good grief…it shouldn’t have to be so complicated but sadly that is what it has come down to I suppose.

  2. Dagrages says

    I think that it is just a misprint. I should have read one per purchase 4 per transaction.

  3. coop says

    I would interpret this to mean that if I was purchasing four Stayfree products I could use one of the coupons shown and three other different Stayfree coupons. If all the coupons had the same wording then I would need four totally different Stayfree coupons.

  4. Outlander says

    I think your second idea is correct- even though there are no other valid Qs out there right now, it doesn’t mean there won’t be during the validity of this Q. And also some stores still allow expired Qs, so it could be for those locations, or military locations… Someone might have some Qs from direct mail…
    Anyway, I would stick with only one of these per transaction, but would use more in different transactions because there are 5 of us in my family. I only get 3 papers though, so even if I was using it, it would be no more than 3 Qs total.

  5. nice2save says

    I think it is standard lingo because they may release another coupon before this one expires.

  6. hwendt12 says

    With all the ‘hoopla’ going on with q’s these days, it’s hard to know what it means. We have a hard-enough time with cashiers making their own ‘interpretations’ without the manufacturers giving such unclear verbage to add to the confusion. Hmmmmmm…

  7. hwendt12 says

    national coupon clearinghouse (forgive if that isn’t the fully correct name). I would imagine they would be able to clear it up for us-Jill?

  8. Ukcouponer says

    There was recently a similar case in the UK, involving an unlimited print PDF coupon for palmolive hand soap, on the coupon the retailer T&C completely contradicted the customer T&C, also it was unclear if it was a coupon to get the soap for £1 or to get £1 off the soap-and when the barcode was scanned it did take £1 off the soap. I don’t know about in the US but in the UK valassis (or whoever issued the coupon) do have the final say on what the confusing T&C actually mean and what is valid or not. In this case colgate-palmolive tried to tell customers not to use the coupon but in a very interesting development which may have ramifications for other coupons in the future, valassis said there was no reason for them to pull the coupon as it was the manufacturers fault the T&C was misleading, and the coupon was still valid and could be used up to the expiry date-essentially overruling the manufacturer. I got myself 8 hand soaps knowing this and I heard colgate-palmolive were forced to reimburse stores for the coupons as it was their error. Colgate-Palmolive continue to use valassis to process their coupons so they clearly weren’t upset by Valassis’s judgement on this issue.

  9. stephne says

    Honestly I have no idea what that is supposed to mean? Am I really supposed to have four other people with me when I go to the checkout?

  10. saylors4hire says

    I would stick with the obvious and use 1 coupon per person. If you want to buy more than one, bring other members of your family to each purchase 1. It’s the safest most sure way to make sure you are not hurting your store by using the coupon.

    You could also just go to your stores Manager and ask what they are willing to accept, but if they relent and say it’s OK to use more than 1, they are taking the risk that they will not get reimbursed.

  11. gatorgrad12 says

    I think this means you can’t double up on the same “Save $2” coupon but may use any other (max 3) coupons you would like to reach a max of four coupons per person per transaction