What if my Catalina doesn’t print, updated for the new millennium

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OK, not the new millennium, but it’s just so fun to type. I thought I’d update this without the outdated YourBucks references and add it to the “New, Start Here!” list for everyone’s reference.

With all the new Catalina craziness and new readers, a lot of new questions, so…

What if my Catalina doesn’t print?

Here’s the run-down. There is an element of risk to Catalina deals, especially when we’re doing Catalina deals before they show up in a store’s ad — or the ones that never show up in the ad. And yes, there are times when my Catalina doesn’t print either. So here’s what we do.

Minimize your risk.

  1. Before you ring up your items, make sure that the light on your Catalina machine is a solid green. Red = Bad. Blinking = Bad. This is one reason I use the self-checkout so often, because it’s easier to check the machine.
  2. Check your items against the UPC list, if available.
  3. Look at what other people are doing. Folks are great about sharing their scenarios in comments here, in addition to the ones I post, so it’s often really useful to see what has and hasn’t worked for others. If you haven’t made a habit of reading the comments, you might want to check them out.
  4. Ensure that the cashier doesn’t punch in any of your coupons as “grocery.” If you have a previous Catalina that’s faint with red lines through it, it won’t scan, and that’s their first instinct. Three other options: Ask them to scan a “good” catalina and keep the bad one, if you have another for the same amount; have them punch in ALL the numbers under the barcode; or, pay in cash and then go redeem the Catalina later at customer service.
  5. Don’t shop between about 11PM and 3AM if you’re doing Catalina deals. Catalina goes down sometime in there to update, so, when they’re down, no Catalinas for you.
  6. If you’re going to be doing very quick back-to-back transactions at Jewel, alternate preferred cards. Sometimes it takes a minute to “reset.” (This is more likely to happen on instant savings deals, but couldn’t hurt! Just get one in your significant other’s name, or your cat’s name, or…)
  7. If you’re very new at this, dip in gradually. Try one deal at a time — and if you want to be safer, wait until a Catalina deal appears in the ad or on shelf tags, so you have something to point to.
  8. If you are rolling a store Catalina, note that sometimes this reduces the price the register sees you as paying for your items, because it comes off like a store discount. Rolling manufacturer Catalinas is fine.

OK, I did all that, and it didn’t print! Why not, and what do I do?

Some possibilities as to why not:

  1. Most of the time, this is because we missed something. I’ve missed a Catalina because I was off by $.05 (grr). Once, long ago, I grabbed… Fiber PLUS bars instead of Fiber ONE bars. (Don’t tell anyone!)
  2. The Catalina machine might be down, might have lost its connection, might have a paper jam, might be out of paper…
  3. Catalina might be down for that entire store.
  4. One of the UPCs on one of the items you bought might not be on the list, or may not have been entered correctly.
  5. The cashier entered one of your coupons as “grocery” rather than scanning it. (This reduces the price the register sees you as having paid for the items, so can prevent you from reaching the necessary dollar amount.)
  6. You shopped while Catalina was down for updates.
  7. You used the store card instead of your own preferred card.
  8. You forgot to scan your preferred card.
  9. You were doing transactions very very quickly and your card didn’t have a chance to “reset.”
  10. Some Catalinas print reallllly slooooowly. Wait. Fumble around for your keys. If it has printed something else, wait for the beep that indicates it’s done printing.

What to do:

  1. Deal with it in the store if at all possible. If you have a nice CS person, nicely say that you were expecting a Catalina to print and is it possible they could check on that or re-ring your items.
  2. Or, return the items on the spot if you wouldn’t have bought them otherwise. Don’t take them out of the store and then return them, because they have no way of knowing you didn’t get the Catalina at that point, and they’ll have to toss any perishables.
  3. If you’re already home, call up Catalina at 1-888-8COUPON or fill out their online form here (LOTS easier to do the form!).
  4. Doublecheck your receipt when you get home. See if you’re off by a few cents or bought a wrong product.
  5. Decide what your time is worth. If a missed Catalina is small, sometimes it’s not worth the effort. If it’s one of the $10 ones… deal with it right away! :)

So there it is in a nutshell. Did I miss anything? Comment here and I’ll add to this post.

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  1. Kim says

    I would like to take advantage of the prices before the preferred card discount but would like to know when do I present my preferred card?

    • says

      Kim — it doesn’t matter. I always give mine at the beginning. Other people like to wait til the end so that they can see that they hit the Catalina amount on pre-preferred price — if you’re going to do that, 1) Make SURE you remember to give them the card, and 2) Make SURE that you are looking at the pre-tax amount, not the total. :)

  2. Rachel says

    OK, i have read and read and read, but i don’t see it so here’s my question. Around november of last year i for the first time EVER started having trouble with the cats and presale pricing at my store. Around the same time my receipts started showing which items specifically received coupons. The last deals i tried to do on presale pricing absolutely did not work, and I tried a good 3 or 4 times. Does the presale pricing have to be after manufacturers coupons? Does anyone else have this issue? Do our receipts look the same with the times that received coupons at the bottom? Deep thoughts…..

    • says

      Rachel — no, it doesn’t have to be after coupons. I’m not sure what’s up, perhaps you just had a string of bad luck — but it didn’t change with the register change that shows coupons for specific items, and it isn’t different between stores.

  3. joe says

    At Jewel you can pay cash and then give your cat at the service desk to avoid the grocery problem, correct?

    I think that’s what you said above and what the post on cw was about.

    • says

      Joe — Yes — you can redeem Catalinas and any other coupon off your receipt at the service desk, just as long as your receipt shows that amount actually paid out. So for instance if you go back to redeem a $10.00 Catalina, you have to have paid $10.00 pre-tax on that receipt. Otherwise if your Catalina doesn’t scan they can punch in the numbers underneath. It’s just when they punch it in as “grocery” that there’s the problem.

        • says

          It’s WAY easier for them to hit that grocery button than to type in all those numbers, which is why they don’t like to do it that way. The other thing you can do if you have more than one of the same value catalina and one is good and one is red inked, is have them scan the good one and dump the red ink one into the slot.

      • joe says

        Just had an idea. Would it be reasonable to do several transactions and then go to the service desk and ask for money back. Would really speed up the time I spend at uscan.

        • says

          Yup, some people do that as well. Although this depends on your CS and how patient/busy they are. Some will get annoyed at having to redeem multiple ones at once.

          • joe says

            It it that much of a hassle or is it just hand over cat get back cash. I only do two at a time anyway because unlike all the people with cars in the ‘burbs I have the CTA.

  4. Annie says

    Is it possible for a store to mess with their Catalina machines? I would say that I have a problem with dollars-off Catalinas at Clark & Division Jewel at least 50% of the time. At times, the machine would even print other coupons, but no dollars-off the next purchase. Then I have to wait in line for customer service to check the requirements, rescan the items, etc. And how many people who don’t know about the Catalina would just leave?

    And of course the deal did not work for me today. I bought 2 Pillsbury flours and 6 jars of Smuckers jam, made sure all UPCs were on the list and the total before preferred savings was over $25. The Catalina did not print; the customer service people insisted that the total has to be $25 after the preferred savings, and refused to issue it manually.

    I hate this store.

    • says

      Annie — Well, they could have lost or turned off their satellite connection with Catalina, I guess. If you kept the products, try calling Catalina tomorrow at 1 888 8COUPON.

      • Annie says

        Rachel – yes, I will call Catalina tommorow. Thanks for the phone number.

        Do regular checkout coupons come from Catalina, too? If so, the connection must have been good, because the machine printed $1 cereal coupon with no problem. Oh, well.

    • says

      Patti — Preferred card is just Jewel’s name for their store card. Every store has its own name for its cards — Dominick’s cards are “fresh values” cards, etc.

  5. JENNIFER says

    I was in ShopRite in Newark, Delaware first thing on sunday morning and 2 Garnier Fructis Hair Care products and 1 Garnier Nutritioniste Moisture rescue UV – Lotion on one transaction and 2 Pantene Hair care on another transaction in which both transactions I was SUPPOSED to receive 1 – $5.00 Catalina, neither printed one, so I went to customer service with my ad and showed the lady who told me right from the start that they have not updated the catalina machines for this weeks sale and would not be getting either catalina. Then she tried giving me $2.00 saying that this would be equal to what I would have received. When I showed her the ad, she denied it and said I could take the $2.00 or not. I said absolutely not and emailed the catalina company. I cannot believe what they will do just to get you to leave!

  6. Sim says

    I am very new to your site and there are certain words and abbrevaitions i am not aware of …Could you please give me more details on these for example How do i know which store items when purchased would print a catalina for me…Also a lot of the deals you submit have the line use ss coupon …what does that stand for …I donot get a Sunday newspaper at home..are thse coupons part of the inserts in newspaper …how else can I get those

    • says

      Hi Sim — there is a guide to abbreviations here, which might help: http://www.mashupmom.com/lingo-for-newbies/

      I post alerts on Catalina deals when available. When you are reading each store’s weekly deals, for instance, look at the Jewel and Dominick’s posts and near the top there is a list of current Catalina deals and dates.

      SS stands for the SmartSource coupon insert in the paper. You would need to start subscribing to or purchase the Sunday paper so you start getting these coupons. Dollar Tree, Deals, and Menards sell the Sunday Chicago Tribune for just $1.00.

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