After talking about it for over a year the Commissary has officially rolled out the Commissary Rewards card. Some are excited to see its arrival. Personally I think it will be great for casual coupons but an absolute mess for avid couponers.
Here’s the official blurb courtesy of commissaries.com:
Using and redeeming coupons will soon be hassle-free with the new Commissary Rewards Card, soon to be available at your local commissary.
With your Commissary Rewards Card, you’ll be able to redeem coupons electronically at the commissary checkout. Just pick up your card and register it or login to load your coupons on the card before you shop. New offers will typically be posted online every two to three weeks.
Testing for the new card will begin early August at the Fort Lee store, kicking off the first of three pilot phases that will culminate in 30 stores testing the new cards. During the test period, stores and dates will be subject to change, so check back often for the latest updates.
As we continue to work with our industry partners, additional perks could be on the way, such as targeted savings, promotion alerts and loyalty incentives.
So this sounds great you say – electronically loaded coupons – what could be easier. Yes it is, if you don’t use paper coupons regularly. But the way it is set up it complicates matters for those that use paper coupons. Some details -
*You can only use one coupon (electronic or paper) on each item.
*The electronic coupon will automatically come off if you have it loaded. You then will not be able to use a paper coupon on the item.
*There is no way to “turn off” or refuse the electronic coupon. So if you have a higher value paper coupon – tough luck, you can’t use it.
*The register will beep if you try to use a paper coupon after an electronic coupon has been used.
*There is no overage with the Digital Coupons. The coupon will only deduct up to the price of the product, no more.
You think the cashiers are confused now?? Just wait till there are electronic coupons that they can’t actually see thrown into the mix! It’s gonna be ugly I tell ya.
You will need to keep close track as to which coupons are loaded on your card, which you have used, which you haven’t etc. Hopefully there is a clear and concise website that will allow you to do this. Hopefully… Also, you’ll need to monitor if a coupon actually came off. We all know how some coupons don’t catch every item it applies to. I see plenty of opportunity for the computer to miss products and not deduct the coupon. You’ll then have to fight for a refund or return the item.
I see rampant abuse and misuse coming too. Many people still try to use a military coupon and a non-military coupon on the same item (with is way against the rules!), so you know they’ll be trying to use an electronic coupon as well. You know they will, and the will argue with the cashier if they try to question it. If they release high value coupons on the card you know some people will be trying to get multiple cards so they can get the deal more than once. It happens with every other store out there with a rewards card, and it will happen here too.
So, yes the card is a great idea – in theory. But the execution is going to be an absolute mess. I have no idea how the cashiers and stores are going to deal with the combination of electronic and print coupons. Will they have a clear policy written? Will the cashiers be trained well? I have my bets on how this is going to go…
So will I be getting a card? Yes. But will I use it every time? Probably not – I know there will be many times where the print coupons I have will be better. Overall I expect a few nice deals with it, but most of the time I think it will just complicate matters more than it will provide benefits. Just my opinion.
Fort Lee customers, you’re up first! Best of luck to you – you’re going to need it!