Is it better to print coupons in color or black and white? I’ve addressed this question in my column on several occasions previously, but the debate apparently rages on:
You’ve said it is OK to print coupons in color or black and white, but sometimes the store will not take them in black and white no matter what I do. If they’re black and white a lot of stores will look and say, ‘Those are photocopies’ and won’t take them. Maybe you should stop telling people it is OK. I get you are trying to save the expensive ink though.
Your column in today’s newspaper was about the subject of printing coupons that will scan at stores. I wish you had also suggested that customers print the coupons in color for those stores in which color is deemed essential by store personnel, whether or not that is a requirement of the manufacturer of the product(s) nor the upper management of the store chain. That way the customers can print in black ink for all other coupons where they are routinely accepted and a potential denial of coupon acceptance is averted elsewhere.
Unless a store’s coupon policy explicitly prohibits black-and-white coupons, stores should accept printables printed either in color or in black and white. However, if you’re continually having issues in the checkout lane, Kirk’s suggestion is a good one – save the color ink for the stores that give you the most trouble, and print in black and white for others. Admittedly, this isn’t always easy to do, especially if you print a coupon and don’t yet know at which store you’ll ultimately be redeeming it.
If you’re patient and you have the time, it may be worth specifically asking your store’s manager about this issue. While your store’s coupon policy may not address the color coupons are printed in, the policy may contain a blanket statement such as “We reserve the right to accept or deny any coupon.” If your store’s policy contains this language, indeed, they can refuse any coupon you present, for any reason.
I still print the majority of my coupons in black and white, simply because I have an older black-and-white laser printer that’s extremely economical to use. The stores I shop at most frequently do accept printable coupons in both color and black and white. If I encounter the occasional question as to whether or not my black-and-white coupons are photocopies, I’ll patiently point out some of the security features that help identify the coupon as legitimate.
If you’ve ever printed two identical coupons from the Internet, then looked at them side by side, you may notice that in most cases, the two coupons are not truly identical. True, they’ve got the same dollar amount, same product and same purchase requirements, but most also contain a serial number unique to that particular coupon and print session.
Reader Susan has another great tip to share regarding the authenticity of printable coupons:
I just read your column and wanted to point out that the difference between a print and copy is often the microprint. When you print, there is often very small print on the periphery of the coupon. But, when you go to copy the printed coupon, the microprint blurs into a line. That is how they can tell the difference at the store. Savvy coupon users can point out the microprint and should ask to speak with the manager if the cashier is not familiar with this safety feature. It is the same one used to prevent prescriptions from being copied.
She’s right – if you look at the fine print on your coupons, depending on which site the coupon originated from, you may see everything from a serial-numbered border to a lightly printed watermark behind the coupon’s product and description text. These are additional security features that do not reproduce well when photocopied.
© CTW Features
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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