Dear Whole Foods,

Wow! Your stores are beautiful.  Filled with fresh, local and crisp produce. Brimming with prepared food options: Barbecue, pizza, GeLAtO, cupcakes, and the biggest salad bar I’ve ever seen.  Tons of variety in the dry goods too.

There’s just one problem.  Your wares and goods don’t fit my budget (for the most part).  But we could change all that… with coupons!

I visited your store for my very first time yesterday in Atlanta, GA. And I loved everything about the experience – except what happened with my coupons.

You see, I checked your sales flyer online and printed some “Whole Deal” store coupons. Using Mambo Sprouts and a couple other sites I also took the time to print some corresponding manufacturer coupons.

I came in with my coupons and grocery list and quickly got distracted by all the shiny veggies.  Nom!  When I refocused, I grabbed what was on my list..Garden of Eatin Tortilla Chips, Muir Glen Tomatoes, 7th Generation Paper Towels and a product I’ve never tried before, So Delicious Coconut Milk. I bought these items because they were on sale and you offered coupons. Many of them the manufacturer also offered coupons that helped keep me in line with my budget.

Then I got to the prepared foods section.  Oh my, I would have had one of everything if I hadn’t just eaten dinner (frugal tip: don’t shop when you are hungry… especially at WF).  I was tempted by several things, but I did actually grab a pack of sliced pancetta at, GASP, full price.

Sales and coupons are what got me in your front door. But when I got to the register to pay, I was surprised to have several coupons handed back to me.  I politely explained that every store I shop at allows you to use a store and manufacturer’s coupon together, so he called a manager for clarification.

The manager gave me a little talking to about how he would do it this one time, but that Whole Foods doesn’t allow a store and manufacturer’s coupon together.  Whoa! Really?  That makes no sense and here’s why:

Let’s take the example of the Seventh Generation Paper Towels that cost $2.69 regular price
(Wow, I would never pay $2.69 for paper towels even if they were made of pure cotton!)

Whole Foods Coupons: Fail or Win?

You offered a $1 off any Seventh Generation product coupon here and
Seventh Generation also offers a $1 Manufacturers coupon on their website.

1.  A Whole Foods Coupon is like a sale that you have to be savvy enough to get in on. Not everyone gets the discount, but these are also not reimbursed by the manufacturer directly.

That coupon makes my paper towels $1.69 (still more expensive than Marcal with a coupon). This price alone would not get me in your door for paper towels, I have TONS of other options.

2.  Manufacturer’s coupons are reimbursed directly by the manufacturer plus 8 cents!

That coupon together with my Whole Foods “sale” coupon makes my paper towels 69¢.  Now we’re talking!  The funny thing is, using these two coupons together, Whole Foods actually makes 8 cents more (a total of $1.77) than if I hadn’t used the Manufacturer’s coupon, but your consumer pays less overall. What a great value to your customer and it doesn’t cost you anything!

Not only that, but you actually got a new customer in the door and made a sale that you wouldn’t normally make, AND you got 8¢ extra!  Sounds like a win-win, except that this is exactly what the manager would not allow.

It’s interesting because when we are talking about National Brands like 7th Generation and Muir Glen (made by General Mills)… I can buy these products at almost ANY grocery store.

Publix for example takes competitors coupons and manufacturer’s coupons together.  Did I mention their regular prices are also lower?  The tomatoes I got were $1.99 at WF and only $1.69 at Publix.  I have the option to use them there, but I would love to add Whole Foods to my rotation of stores to shop at because of the products you offer that I can’t get anywhere else.

So whadya say Whole Foods, can we work on this policy and get some eco-minded (but also budget-minded) new customers in your store?  I hope so!