Unethical Couponing with 2 CVS Cards?

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Unethical Couponing?

unethical couponing

Ethical couponing or unethical couponing? You be the judge. You can always count on CVS to rotate the Pepsi and Coke 12 pack deals, just about every week one or the other is on sale, right? Knowing that Coke was due to go on sale I held onto the $20.00 in EBCs I had from previous purchases to stock up for the summer. Then the Colgate deal came along this week and I added 4 more ECB’s.

I do not need toothpaste, however, I looked at this deal as a wash, spend $4.34 oop and get $4.00 in ECB’s back to use on the Coke sale.  I was going to pay an extra $4.00 on the Coke without it so why not get a couple tubes of toothpaste as well?

What I wanted to do – Is It Unethical Couponing?

Here is where my conscious got me. I needed milk @ $4.00 a gallon, if I bought another  2 tubes of Colgate (limit 2 per household) and use the ECB to pay for the milk then I would get (2) toothpaste and a gallon of milk for the price of the toothpaste. Smart purchase right? Well I needed another card with a different address.

What I did

After thinking about this for a couple of days, I let the store decide by asking the CVS manager if I could use my husband’s card for another deal, fully expecting to be told no and I would have accepted that with no argument. I was honest with her and explained my intentions. My husband’s card still has our old address listed, neither of us ever use it, so I never updated it. I found our old phone number from an old tax return and frankly I didn’t even think it would still be in the system, but it was.

What happened

She said no problem at all then she went on to tell me that she appreciates customers like me who don’t try to be sneaky and “get one over” on the store. This is the only CVS I shop on a regular basis so they know me there. If I had been one their customers that shop like that I would not have been allowed to get the extra deal. Being honest with your stores and respecting their policies is really very beneficial to all of us. Have you decided yet whether this was ethical or unethical couponing?

Total value  before sale price and coupons $70.95 … Paid $16.61 oop … Saved $54.32

  • (4) Colgate toothpaste, I used (4) $.75 mq from 2/12 SS, paid $8.68 cash and got $8.00 ECB’s back
  • (10) 12 packs of Coke, I used (4) $1/2 printables and (2) free 12 pack q’s from My Coke Rewards + $24.00 ECB’s, paid $5.47 cash
  • (1) Gallon of milk, used (1) $4.00 ECB, free

At the end of the day I would have paid the same amount OOP regardless if I did the 2nd Colgate deal or not. The way it worked out gave me 2 extra tubes of toothpaste for the same price.

Do you think I did the right thing in talking to the manager or was I playing with unethical couponing?


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  1. I think you did the right thing because you were honest. I have 2 cards but only because the pharmacy requires my husband have his own card so that I can do all his prescriptions under my account. (He had to have his own account in order to give me permission in their system to take care of all his medications.)

    I never use his card but if I ever wanted to then I would ask one of the managers to make sure it was okay. Like you, they are use to me because I am in there so much and they know I am always doing things with coupons the correct way or to the best of my knowledge.

    Honesty is the best policy. Kudos to you!

  2. I don’t find it to be unethical. You asked permission and the store allowed it. It is their store and their policy. No more unethical than using doublers at walmart even though they are printed to another store. It is what the store policy allows.

  3. Nope I don’t think it was unethical. I think you were upfront and honest with the manager and they agreed with you. I think getting 1000’s of the “free” Chapstick from Walgreens is a little on the unethical side. Who needs that much Chapstick?

  4. If the manager didn’t have a problem with your transaction, then there was nothing wrong with your transaction. Honesty is the best policy! (:

  5. Sara Srebnik says

    They will allow you and your husband to each have a card at the same address. I don’t think that’s at all unethical, since you could have brought him with you to do the deal. I’ve never seen a CVS that has an issue with two cards. Much more than that, I’d say is unethical. But if there are two adults in your household and you have and use two cards, I don’t think there’s an issue at all 🙂

  6. You were wrong! LOL… Just kidding! Before you did anything you got the ok from the manager, I think that’s great! You are a honest couponer! If I have any questions or am not sure I always ask before I do a transaction just in case! 🙂

  7. No ,if they gave you permission than it is okay! I think the abuse comes in when they have several cards, and they are deceitful about it.

  8. I think it was ethical. You asked the manager and told your intentions. I am the same way at my Cvs and they let me use multiple cards for me and my husband. They appreciate honesty.

  9. I would have to say that if you are asking then yes probably somewhere inside you, you know it was unethical. But if the manager allowed it then so be it.

    I do have a BIG unethical issue with the couponers who come in my store with the $7 and $10 off 3D white strips coupons who try and purchase the $3 or less 3D toothpaste and then try to use the overages to buy things to decorate their home; towels, bedspreads, curtains, pictures. Everything you name it. They know they are doing wrong our policy states we lower the coupon to no overages. But they go out of their way to find the new cashier Evan to the point of trying to check out in out food avenue. The last one we stopped had $75 in overages. But the one we didn’t catch had $450 in those two coupons. And when they get caught the same excuse I didn’t know. I didn’t read the whole coupon. Well I sorry if you are a dedicated couponer then you read them very carefully as do we. This puts such a bad name for couponers who really do go by the book. It’s not fair and its not right. Thanks for letting me vent.

  10. ethical-you asked first and if the answer was no you would have accepted it without argument. I finally got a second card after asking the asst manager about the lady checking out ahead of me that had 3 cards. She told me that the stores allows up to 5 cards per household so I could go ahead and get another one if I wanted it. I did get a second one and used it a few times but found it too much trouble with matching the right Red box cpn and ecb to the correct card so now I just use my origional card and have the other one stashed away just in case someday I decide to try using two again.

  11. Playing devils advocate here. It is always said, even if a manager says you can use expired coupons, or if a coupon has a limit of 4 and the manager allows you to use 8. It is not right. It goes against the coupon policy. The bottom line is, it is the corporate store policy and if it was up to the discression at store level policy would state it.
    However I do think that CVS is quite niave to think that there are people out there who do not have multiple cards they will use.
    The bottom line is, you have to live with any decision you make if you have a problem with it, you won’t do it again, if you have no problem you will do it again. It is not up to us to determine if this transaction was unethical or not.

  12. Elaine Spink says

    I don’t think that you were unethical at all. Like you said, you were honest and honesty pays. I have developed great relationships with the management at the stores I shop at. I remember when Wise Cheesecurls were 10/$10 and there were only thirteen bags on the end cap. I had just gotten done talking to the Asst. Store Manager so I went back over to him and told him that I wanted to buy ten but I didn’t want to leave just three on the shelf. He said to me, please take them, that’s what you’re here for is to shop right. Well I did, he told me never to worry about that again and take whatever I need. He knows that I use coupons ethically. Developing a relationship with him and the rest of management has been a great thing! Great job on your shopping trio and thinking outside of the box!! 🙂

  13. I do not think you were unethical because YOU asked and were honest. Now, having been a manager myself..ethical falls on the part of the manager to follow the rules of the company. We all know that there are plenty of loopholes that we can use to get what we want. If the company gives a limit per household, then okay. But to allow you to use a loophole such as an old address, then that seems unethical.

  14. Emma Pfanner says

    I get that you asked and they said it was okay – but why hog un-needed toothpaste? Even if you donate it later – I think it was silly. But it was your choice and what’s done is done. At least you asked first and didn’t try to pull one over on them…myself, I would NOT have done this.

  15. I do not think it was unethical at all. My mother-in law is unable to drive/shop so I do her shopping for her and have her card to do so. She does not use toothpaste or milk, we on the other hand do not use denture cream or Depends. I get her the things she needs with both cards and using both cards I also get the things we need and use as well

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