Walgreens FAQ and General Information Thread
All of the information from the OP has been copied to the bottom of the wiki for reference.
In case there is an update in Walgreens policy, feel free to update the wiki. Remember, it can be reverted if a mistake is made.
Welcome to Walgreens .. another store where you can score some slick deals!!
This FAQ/Wiki is currently being overhauled (by WBBell) .. thanks for your patience
General Information about Walgreens
Walgreens is a drugstore and general merchandise store. They sell a wide variety of items including makeup, hair care, health and beauty, food items, office supplies, toys, OTC medications, and so forth. Everyone should be able to find something to buy at Walgreens.
Walgreens everyday prices on items are typically higher than you would find at a store like Wal-Mart. However, Walgreens runs various promotions on a regular basis that lower the prices on many different things. Also, you can use Manufacturer Coupons at Walgreens. You will find that a judicious combination of promotions and coupons can result in very low prices. Some of the time, you will even be able to get items for free ... and sometimes even "better than free".
A recent example of a free item: Toblerone candy normally sells for $2.49 each at Walgreens. Recently, the item was run on a "Megasaver" price of 2 for $3.00. There was a coupon book that contained a coupon which deducted $1.00 if you purchased two. There was also a manufacturer's coupon in the newspaper which deducted $1.00 off of 1 candy bar. So by using all of these promos combined, you get two candy bars typically priced $5.00 for free!
Now let's look at some of the various ways that Walgreens runs promotions.
Every week a new sales ad starts on Sunday and runs through Saturday. You can find it in your Sunday paper or in a rack at the front of the store. You will find various types of promos in the ad. Items can be on "Sale"; or they may have a special price using the in-store coupon (referred to on this board as IVC - Instant Value Coupon); or they may have a Register Rewards promotion (see below) - or any combination of these.
Note that all of the sales and coupons that appear in the Weekly Ad are typically valid only for that week. (But there are exceptions.)
Thanks to the hard work of many people, you can typically find scans of the weekly ad posted on this board several days (or sometimes several weeks!) in advance.
"Bonus Pages" ...
If you go to www.walgreens.com/weeklyad, you will find Bonus Coupons that you can print out and use. These are Walgreens store coupons (IVCs). These change every week.
Monthly Coupon Book...
In addition to the weekly sale ads, Walgreens is currently putting out a booklet of in-store coupons every month. This can be found at the front of the store in the same rack that holds the weekly ads. It is a tall skinny booklet. We also refer to these coupons as IVCs. These coupons are valid for the entire month. (But check the dates, sometimes they end a few days before the end of the month.)
Sometimes you may find two booklets issued in the same month. One is called (for instance) the "December Coupon Book" and the other is called the "Healthy Savings" booklet. They have only done this two months so far (Sept and Dec 2009), and most of the coupons were common to both books, but there were also a small number of coupons that are unique to one or the other booklet. So you need to check out both!
Typically, someone on the board will post the coupons and a scan of the booklets as soon as they are available.
Other coupon books ...
Just look around your store and you will find all sorts of coupon books. The Pharmacy area typically has manufacturer coupons, booklets, pamphlets, etc. There is usually a free magazine in the pharmacy area directed towards the Diabetic population. This magazine typically has coupons in it. These coupons are either Walgreens coupons (IVCs), Manufacturer coupons, or both.
And when you discover a new coupon book .. please post your finding on here so that we all know about it! Sometimes stores don't put out the books and you have to ask for them. Especially if the book is in the pharmacy, the very busy pharmacy staff may not have had time to do it or simply never opened the box to see what was in it!
Walgreens Beauty Consultants...
The lady who works the cosmetic counter will typically have special coupons that are given only to customers who ask. Naturally, these tend to be on makeup and other items in the cosmetics and beauty/hair care section of the store.
MegaSavers & Everyday Values...
Another sale promotion that Walgreens does is called MegaSavers. Look for the special tags throughout the shelves in the store. Typically these last for about a month and they are not typically advertised in the ads.
Everyday Values is a fairly new promotion which is about the same as the Mega Savers, except they do tend to advertise these in the weekly ad. Special items are tagged at a sale price, and the special typically lasts for about a month.
Register Rewards ...
Register Rewards is by far the most interesting, most lucrative, yet sometimes the most complicated promotion offered at Walgreens. Register Rewards will be covered in great detail below, but in a nutshell: When you buy a certain item(s), or when you spend X dollars on certain item(s), then a coupon prints out of the Catalina machine next to the register. This coupon is known as a Register Reward (RR) and is good for $X off of your next purchase.
Register rewards typically expire two weeks after they are printed, and cannot be replaced if they are lost or stolen.
So how do I get started learning about deals (a.k.a. how to use the forums here)
First of all, welcome! Please realize that many of the folks who dwell in the DS forums are regular people just like you who want to save money on every day stuff for their families. Many give the items away; many sell items at rummage sales; and many keep the items for their own use. You have to do whatever is comfortable for you.
Also, realize that everyone was new once, including the pros who post frequently. Don't be afraid to jump in. Before you know it, you will be a pro as well!
However, we request that you take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the surroundings here. Read the boards for a while before you post anything. Always read the second post of every thread, which is known as the Wiki. (In fact, you are reading a Wiki right now!)
The Wiki is updated throughout the week with the latest and greatest information on whatever deals are hot that week. Many of the very basic and very frequent questions will be answered in the Wiki.
We ask everyone to take a few minutes and read, because our regulars sometimes get a wee bit testy when you post a question that has been asked and answered in the thread or in the Wiki. Sometimes the weekly threads can run into the thousands of posts, and the less repetition we have, the better. Many people do not have the ability to read the forums during the day. Can you imagine opening up slickdeals at night and having over a thousand posts to read? It can be overwhelming! And then, when many of those posts are asking the same three questions over and over, can you imagine how tiresome that would get?
In the same vein, please try to keep off-topic (OT) discussion to a minimum. OT discussion is fun and it is what makes us all human and interesting. However, extended chats about things that are not Walgreens Deals will also tend to get people a bit testy. Special forums exist on Slickdeals within The Lounge where you can post about anything and everything. There is also a "BS Thread" on this forum where you can banter about with the other folks who hang out in the DS threads.
Register Rewards 101
Register Rewards (RR) come in two types. The first is where you must buy a certain item, or a certain quantity of items. Sometimes it is a single item, sometimes it is a group of items. The second is where you must spend a certain dollar amount on a certain item or items.
When you meet the conditions of the deal, you will receive a coupon printed on the coupon printer (aka the Catalina machine) that is valid for X dollars off of your next purchase.
There are all kinds of conditions, tricks, and things to know when dealing with RR. They are listed below.
Restrictions on obtaining your RRs
- Generally, you will receive only one RR per deal per transaction. For example: if the deal states to buy one Widget and get $5 RR .. it means just that. If you buy two Widgets in a transaction you will not get $10 RR. (There have been a small handful of exceptions and those were indicated in the ad.)
- However, you can do multiple DIFFERENT deals per transaction and receive multiple RRs. For example: Let's say there are three different deals this week - Buy ONE Widget, get $5 RR; Buy FOUR DooDads, get $2 RR; BUY 10 Thingamabobs, get $20 RR. You can buy Widgets, DooDads, and Thingamabobs and you will receive three RR coupons totaling $27.00.
- Generally, you cannot "roll" the RRs back into the same deal. For example: Let's say you bought a Widget and you received a $5 RR from that purchase. Now you wish to buy another Widget and pay with that $5 RR. You may use that $5 RR to pay, but you will not receive another $5 RR for the second Widget. (There are sometimes exceptions to this rule but they are very infrequent.)
Restrictions on spending your RRs
The first thing to remember is that RRs are not actually money nor a store credit. They are a Manufacturer Coupon which are valid on any item in the store. The RRs are sponsored and reimbursed by the company whose product you bought.
This means that you must spend at least the amount of the coupon in order to use the RR. Walgreens will not give you cash change and typically will not "adjust down" the value of the coupon. (You wouldn't want to do this anyway!)
This means that you must also follow the rules of the Walgreens cash register which say that you can have at most one Manufacturer Coupon per item purchased. For example, if you wish to purchase a single item that costs $15.00, and you wish to pay for it using 3 Register Reward coupons of $5.00 each - the register will not take the 2nd and 3rd coupons. (It will "beep" - which means the coupon was not accepted.)
The way that you work around this rule is you buy multiple items. Sometimes you may have to buy what we call "filler" items - an inexpensive item whose sole purpose is to increase your item count so that you can use RRs. Typical filler items are small cost things like pencils, trial size items, purse size tissue packs, cans of tomato sauce, etc.
The official corporate policy (and this is also printed on the RR) is that you can use one manufacturer coupon and one Walgreens coupon per item per transaction. An "item" is one thing that you buy. A "transaction" is a group of things that are all rang up at the same time.
You may sometimes encounter Walgreens personnel who do not like Slickdealers who are getting things for cheap or free, and they will give you resistance when trying to use RRs. They may tell you that you can only use one RR per transaction. They may tell you that your single item must exceed the value of the RR. (I.e. you can't use RRs on small fillers.) They may tell you all kinds of things. Most of the time, these things are not true and are directly against the corporate policy. You will have to decide whether you want to push back, ask for the manager, or come back later, or call/write Walgreens corporate.
Special note on the "Get a $5 Register Reward when you spend $25"
Walgreens calls these "Register Rewards", however they are not like the RRs we just talked about above. They are actually a Walgreens Coupon for "$5 off a $5 purchase". Importantly, this means that you can use only one of these per transaction.
Special note on Buy X items get RR - in conjunction with a BOGO type sale
If an item is on sale for Buy One Get One Free, both items will "count" towards a quantity purchased.
If an item is on sale for Buy One Get One Half Off, then every pair of items will typically count as three towards a quantity purchased. (Because they show up as three line items on the receipt: Two full price items then a deduction for the sale item.) YMMV depending on how the sale is programmed! Note: Walgreens has not done a deal of thistype in many months. This special feature may have been fixed.
What else do I need to know about that tricky Walgreens cash register?
The order in which you give coupons is important. Nearly all of the time, you will want to give your Manufacturer coupons before your Walgreens coupons (IVCs). Otherwise your Man Qs will beep, and you do not want to go down that path. You always want to give your Register Rewards last.
Walgreens sent out a coupon where I will get $5 off if I spend $25.00. Is this before or after coupons?
This is tricky because different Walgreens stores seem to have their registers programmed differently.
It is always true that your total must be $25.00 after all Walgreens Coupons (IVCs) have been deducted. If your IVCs take you below $25.00, then the $5/$25 coupon will auto-void.
It is sometimes true that your total must be $25.00 after all Man Qs have been deducted. This seems to vary by store/region.
In every case, you need to give the $5 off $25 coupon first. Then Man Qs. Then Wags Qs.
Walgreens sent out a coupon where "Friends and Family" can save 15%. There is no barcode or other promotion code on the coupon. How does this work?
About every 6-8 weeks, Walgreens will have a "Friends and Family" promotion. Sometimes, this will be paper coupons given to store staff and they are supposed to give them to family and friends. Sometimes you will receive the coupon in email (if you signed up on walgreens.com). And it is also sometimes offered if you are a Fan of Walgreens on Facebook.
The Walgreens employee discount is 15% off of most items and 20% off of Walgreens Brand items. This "Friends and Family" sale is simply offering the employee discount to everyone with the F&F coupon.
You will need to take your items to the photo or cosmetics counter. There is a special discount key on the register keyboard that they will use to give you the employee discount. (And this is also why there is no barcode on the coupon.)
Other Miscellaneous FAQs
Q) Doesn't Walgreens have some sort of Rebate Program?
A) Walgreens had a program called Easy Saver which was a monthly book that contained coupons and rebate offers. Unfortunately for all SlickDealers and Wags lovers everywhere, the program was discontinued at the end of April 2009. "We are developing new loyalty programs that we expect will bring even more interesting incentives and rewards." See also: this thread.
It has been rumored that Walgreens was going to launch a loyalty card program similar to CVS's. It has also been rumored that Walgreens was going to bring back the Easy Saver program, presumably due to sales dropoff when the program ended. As of December 2009, both of these notions are still only rumors. However, since Sept 2009 they have been putting out monthly "Coupon Books" which resemble the ESR book except minus the rebates. This appears to be an ongoing thing, at least for now.
Update: As of May 2010, Walgreens is testing a loyalty card program in Portland OR, Richmond VA, and Kansas City, MO. Stay tuned for updates and read comments about the loyalty card program here.
Q) Boy, do these people make me mad! Who can I call to complain?
A Walgreens Consumer Relations. Toll-free (800) WALGREENS (800-925-4733). 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday thru Friday.
Q) Why do you call it "Wag" or "Wags" ?
A) The stock ticker symbol for Walgreens is WAG. On your receipt, a Walgreens coupon shows up as a "WAGC". Plus it makes us seem all cool and cliquish when we use our own special language here on SD.
Q) I didn't get this awesome coupon, can you send it to me? By the way this is my third post. I've asked for this coupons before and no one answered me.
A) Due to the very large number of smash-n-grabbers that read this board, the seasoned users usually do not look too kindly upon a person's first post being a beg for a coupon. Yes, everyone has to start somewhere, but that is just how things work around here. Join in a discussion, post some stuff, contribute some info, get a few reps for yourself, and then people will be more willing to help you out.
Q) What is a smash-n-grabber?
A) Essentially, a smash-n-grabber is someone who will come into the store and clean out all of an item(s) which is on sale, thus depriving others of the opportunity to buy the item. Smash-n-grabbers are typically lurkers on this forum, i.e, they only read this forum to get info and exploit deals (not contribute information or help to the discussions).
Q) What is Catalina?
A) A yummy salad dressing! Seriously, the company which runs the RR program for Walgreens is called Catalina Marketing. They develop and program the coupon printers that print out the Register Rewards. Frequently, you will get other coupons and marketing messages from the Catalina machine based on your purchases. Besides Walgreens, you will also see these printers at many other stores such as Kroger, Safeway, etc. Folks here and on many other forums and boards will refer to these printed coupons as a "Catalina" or a "Cat". You can also call them at (888) 322-3814 if you have problems with coupons.
Q) What is the policy on returning items I have purchased with coupons?
A) Managers may tell you different things on this one, but officially, Walgreens policy is to refund the full amount on items purchased with manufacturers coupons and the price paid on items purchased with Walgreens coupons. See e-mail from corporate below:
Q) What is Walgreens policy on Rainchecks?
A) See this thread for more information regarding this.
Q) I got one of these Red "W Cards" when I returned something without a receipt. It doesn't have a phone number to check the balance. How in the heck do I check the balance?
A) The balance of a "W Card" can be check here [walgreens.com]. If you link the card to your Walgreens online account, you can also view the activity on the card, including receipt detail.
Frequent Abbreviations and weird words
B1G1.... Buy One Get One (usu. means Buy One Get One Free)
BGLP.... Buy Get Lower Price (code on Wags store receipt for BOGO items)
BOGO.... Buy One Get One (usu. means Buy One Get One Free)
BOGOF... Buy One Get One Free
CAB..... Childrens Activity Book (a Coloring book sold only at Wags that contains Wags coupons)
Cat..... Catalina (coupon printed from Coupon Machine)
CRT..... Cash Register Tape (usu. refers to a CVS coupon)
CVS..... A nationwide drugstore chain that is a competitor to Walgreens
ECB..... Extra Care Bucks (a CVS promotion)
ESC..... Easy Saver Catalog
FAR..... Free After Rebate
FARR.... Free After Register Reward
GC...... Gift Card
HSB..... Healthy Savings Book (a Walgreens coupon book)
IP...... Internet Printable
IPQ..... Internet Printable Coupon
IVC..... Instant Value Coupon
Insert.. The coupon magazines that come in your Sunday paper
Man Q... Manufacturer Coupon
MQ...... Manufacturer Coupon
ONYO.... On Your Next Order
OP...... Original Poster (person who started the thread)
PG...... Procter & Gamble, usu. references a certain Sunday coupon insert (P&G BrandSaver)
RA...... Rite-Aid, a large regional drugstore chain that is a competitor to Walgreens
RP...... Redplum, a brand name of a Sunday coupon insert (aka Valassis)
RR...... Register Reward
SQ...... Store Coupon
SS...... SmartSource, a brand name of a Sunday coupon insert
SW...... Safeway, a grocery that sometimes has coupon books (sister stores: Tom Thumb, Randalls, Vons, Dominicks, Genuardis)
V....... Valassis, a brand name of a Sunday coupon insert (aka Redplum)
VAL..... Valassis, a brand name of a Sunday coupon insert (aka Redplum)
WQ...... Walgreens Coupon
Wag Q... Walgreens Coupon
YMMV.... Your Mileage May Vary (ie: this may not work for you)
Thanks to MFH for the pdf file.
Wags Q Policy.pdf
(Whover wrote the policy on the BOGO sale with a BOGO coupon got it wrong. The customer would get two free items, not three.)