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Target Memo Addresses Coupon Short-Changing

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A check-out counter at a Target store. (credit: CBS)

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By James Schugel, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The country’s second-largest retailer is doing things differently because of a story WCCO-TV broke.

It means customers may notice check-out changes the next time they shop at Target.

WCCO obtained an internal memo explaining the new procedures cashiers should follow. It went to store manages at all Target stores across the country, including the ones in the Twin Cities and the rest of Minnesota.

Target says it wants to be sure its customers are getting the right amount for their coupons. It’s evidently been a problem for several months, where some coupons don’t get redeemed for the correct amounts.

WCCO’s undercover cameras caught Target missing the mark several times during a report in August and in another follow-up report just last week.

According to that internal memo, clerks must “welcome” each customer with a smile and a sincere greeting. They must ask the customer, “Do you have any coupons today?”

The clerk should take the coupons, set them aside and ring up the items.

Clerks must process those coupons one-by-one and ensure customers get the full value on each one. If they don’t, the clerk must make the adjustment.

“To address the manufacture coupon issue, we are ramping up our efforts to ensure all Target cashiers understand the manufacture coupon issue and are making the appropriate adjustments necessary at the point of sale,” Target Spokesperson Erica Svingen said in an e-mail to WCCO’s sister station, WBBM Television in Chicago.

“We are working diligently to ensure that the problem is corrected at the point of sale but will immediately reimburse any guest who identifies a discrepancy on their receipt,” continued Svingen.

Store managers must post the rules at all check-out counters. They also have to be sure every clerk knows them.

Target acknowledges in the memo that this could mean a little extra time to get customers through the line, so it’s temporarily turned off its program that checks cashiers’ speed.

The company plans to fix the computer system that’s not reading coupons correctly in the next 10 days.

The memo also states that media attention may lead to more “regulatory agency visits,” and reminds that staff should fill out a “Regulatory Visit Form.”

The changes are effective immediately.

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