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 I thought I’d update this without the outdated YourBucks references and add it to the “New, Start Here!”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.
- 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.
- Check your items against the UPC list, if available.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…)
- 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.
- 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:
- 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!)
- The Catalina machine might be down, might have lost its connection, might have a paper jam, might be out of paper…
- Catalina might be down for that entire store.
- One of the UPCs on one of the items you bought might not be on the list, or may not have been entered correctly.
- 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.)
- You shopped while Catalina was down for updates.
- You used the store card instead of your own preferred card.
- You forgot to scan your preferred card.
- You were doing transactions very very quickly and your card didn’t have a chance to “reset.”
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!).
- Doublecheck your receipt when you get home. See if you’re off by a few cents or bought a wrong product.
- 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.