Ask I Heart Publix 12/28

Keep sending in those questions - we love to answer them! Just remember if we didn't get to your question this week...we will do our best to cover it another week!! As always a big thanks to my buddy Christy over at Winn Dixie on a Dime who gives me so much help to get the questions answered.

Remember--there is a tab at the top of the site called “Q & A” where you can find the questions and answers from past weeks!

Here are this week’s questions:

  1. Are the printable Red Plum coupons the same as the Sunday inserts?
  2. If the total coupon and sales saving exceeds the purchase total; does Publix give money back or a gift card for the overage?
  3. What do you mean when you say “True BOGO”?
  4. Is there an easy way to tell which items are price adjusted and which you have to purchase the advertised amount of?
  5. I ran into some HUGE problems at the store today. What did I do wrong?

And here are the answers!
1.Nathasha wants to know: Are the red plum printables the same coupons as the Sunday inserts?

Michelle: There may be a few overlapping coupons but typically the insert will have many more coupons than available online. I only get one paper so I am always happy to see duplicates of items that I will use.

Christy: You're not going to find EVERY coupon from your Sunday Redplum insert online - usually you will find 5 to 10 of the same (or similar) coupons available to print online on Sundays. I use the Redplum printables to "supplement" my weekly inserts - if there are good coupons available online that I know I will use, I make sure to print them right away, because Redplum printables disappear quickly!

2. QP wants to know: If the total coupon and sales saving exceeds the purchase total; does Publix give money back or a gift card for the overage?

Michelle: I have heard that stores will indeed give you overage. This will of course vary by store. I have way too much that I can buy rather than asking the store to pay me to shop.  Be sure and ask your store before you make any assumptions.

Christy: This will depend on your store, so I would suggest that you ask at your Customer Service desk to be sure. Personally I've gotten cash back on a deal only once or twice - usually I try to buy meat, produce, or bakery items to 'absorb' my overage.

3. Cindy wants to know: What do you mean when you say “True BOGO”? What isn’t a “True BOGO”?

Florida folks have true BOGO...meaning you have to buy one to get the 2nd free. If you only buy one item in Florida you are leaving behind a freebie!

Here in GA and other states where Publix stores are located, BOGO means we can buy just one item and get it half price....we do not need to purchase 2 items to get the deal.

4. Jen wants to know: A few weeks ago, Coke 2L bottles were buy 2 get 1 free. I assumed that they were priced adjusted like the BOGO items and I bought two. When I got home, I realized that I was charged full price. Apparently you have to buy them in quantities of 3. Is there an easy way to tell which items are price adjusted and which you have to purchase the advertised amount of? For example, when an item is 3 for $5, do I have to buy 3 to get the sale price?

Michelle: For items that require a specific quantity to get a discount, you must buy the correct amounts to trigger the discount at the register. This rule only applies when you must buy (x amount) to get (x discount).

Christy: I can tell you for sure that anything advertised as 3/$5 or 10/$10 DOES NOT require that you buy 3 or 10 of the item to get that price - you can buy 1 of those items and you will still get the discount.

Any deal that says B2G1, B3G1, or says something in the ad about "Final Price" will likely require that you buy exactly the amount advertised - and at the moment I can't think of anything besides soda or carbonated drinks that Publix advertises in this way, so that may be the only type of item that you need to be careful about how many you buy. Commenters, can you think of anything else that would fall into this "must buy the exact quantity" category?

5. Laura wants to know: I ran into some problems today. The Cashier and manager had me in tears. I wasn't trying to con anyone, I'd just never run into these problems before!

1) Kozy Shack coupons - they said I had copied them because they all had the same number, and would only take one (I've used similar coupons before without problems).
2) Target Coupons - they said that the picture on the Target coupon had to match *exactly* the item I was buying. for instance, the Planters "any snack item" coupon had a picture of a can, and the item on sale was a trail mix bag. So they wouldn't accept them.
3) Target Danimals Coupon - she said it just said "one per", and again said I had copied them.

I tried explaining I knew the coupon policy, I hadn't changed my habits, hadn't copied anything, etc. They were very rude and I was too upset to get names. I seriously cried when I got home. I’m so upset. If any of these questions helps anyone else, that's great.

Michelle:  There can be many reasons for your bad experience. You could have a cheater at your store that has caused employees to be more cautious or maybe they were just having a bad day!

As far as printable coupons from, SmartSource, RedPlum and the like - they will all have unique numbers on the coupon (not the barcode--the pin number). You can point those out if you have someone suggesting you are using copies.

As for the requirement that you must buy what is pictured is incorrect. You actually have to go by the wording on the coupon. Companies often make many many products  and there would be no way for them to "show" all products on a coupon. The wording is what you must go by when making your purchases.

Target store coupons do indeed indicate one coupon per transaction (Limit One Coupon per guest). In this case you will only be allowed to use one per transaction. Be sure and read any specifics on the coupon to avoid an unhappy coupon experience.

Christy: Oh, Laura, I'm so sorry that you had this experience! We've likely all had experiences while couponing that made us feel bad - hopefully at stores OTHER than Publix - and so we all feel your pain. It's not fun to be made to feel that way but hopefully the way you were treated was as they say 'the exception rather than the rule' at your store. It sounds like you had an over-zealous cashier and manager who likely have run into couponers who do not play by the rules, and unfortunately you paid the price for someone else's behavior.

I would suggest that you go back to that store and ask to speak to the store manager. If possible bring similar coupons with you and describe the situation and how you were treated and ask calmly how this particular store would define "appropriate" coupon use. Get it straight from the store manager and that way if you run into similar problems later, you can take it back to that store manager and identify the problem. If you don't feel like you're getting a clear answer from your store manager, you should also think about calling the district manager and/or the corporate office - again, you have the right to be heard and to get a clear answer about how coupons can be used at your store, and it may take a conversation or two with corporate and the district manager to make sure that happens.

I hope our answers to these questions were helpful! Make sure you 'tune in' next week for even more Q&A with I Heart Publix. If you have a question you'd like to see answered, email me at


  1. Peggy says

    Hi Laura, Go to Publix website and click on Contact Us and write about your experience. I have done this to express great service you will hear back from the manager. On the bottom of your receipt you will see the name of the Cashier which you will put in your remarks. Give them the address of the store and the date and time which is on the botom of your receipt.

  2. April says

    I have e-mailed the company myself over a coupon issue, and I got a call back from the store manager. My store was going back and forth about how many of the yellow and green flyer coupons you could use, regardless of the wording on the coupon. One cashier would only accept one per person, and another cashier would take as many as you wanted as long as the coupon wording allowed it. I didn’t like what the store manager said, but knowing which way I needed to prepare to use my coupons was and is very helpful. He was very nice, and we ended up chatting for 20 minutes about all things coupon related. I got so many questions answered! Now, when I go shopping, if a cashier tries to change things on me, I can always go back to the store manager, which is great. Good Luck in the future!

  3. maggie says

    The only time I have had an issue is with pdf coupons-so the number stays the same no matter who prints them where. When I have one, especially if it has just appeared, I stop at customer service, show them the coupon to make sure they are aware of it and this solves the problem.

  4. Sarah says

    Target coupons do state one per transaction, however, I am sure that many Publix stores take multiples, but they don’t have to. If you continue to have problems like these, I would start looking for another store.

  5. Amy says

    I had a cashier at a Publix accuse me of copying coupons because they were in black and white. I told her I printed them that way to save ink. She called a manager over to see if she could take them. The manager told her if they scan to take them.

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