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Slickdeals Drugstore and Grocery Store Coupon Usage Rules and Guidelines

31,941 2,981 April 11, 2011 at 04:58 PM in Brick & Mortar (B&M) Get Slickdeals Coupons
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Last Edited by nuffsaid September 18, 2015 at 11:01 AM
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The following are the official rules concerning posting about coupon usage in the Drugstore/Grocery B&M Deals forum.

Rules:
  • Watermarks on ads hosted at Slickdeals must be the watermark of Slickdeals or Slickdeals user name. No watermarks from other sites or blogs allowed.
  • Materially Modified coupons are not allowed on Slickdeals. They are not to be hosted by, or linked to from, Slickdeals.
  • Immaterially Modified and Unmodified coupons may be hosted on Slickdeals as long as they do not violate any of our other rules.
  • Multiple Prints per Page(MPP) coupons are generally not allowed and will be examined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Users may link to offers from Coupon Printing sites, but they may not link to scans of already printed coupons. You may not link to a printable link from competitor site or a blog
  • Scans of Manufacturer's Coupons are not to be hosted by, or linked to from, Slickdeals. The exception to this is a link directly to a coupon hosted on the manufacturer's website.
  • Discussion of how to use coupons for anything other than their original intent is prohibited.
  • Discussion of store policies is acceptable. Discussing how to intentionally trick or fool stores into accepting coupons that they would otherwise reject is prohibited.
  • Store Coupons that are not widely distributed and/or issued to a particular individual are not allowed are not to be hosted by Slickdeals, also they may not be linked to if hosted offsite, unless hosted by the individual store
    - Target and CVS store coupons are not to be hosted by, or linked to from, Slickdeals.
    - Links directly to coupons hosted by Target or CVS are allowed.



Definitions:
  • Materially Modified: A coupon to which a substantial change has been made. For example, a change to the dollar amount, expiration date, bar code, or member id#.
  • Immaterially Modified: A coupon to which an insubstantial change has been made. For example, a coupon that has been resized to print more clearly.
  • Unmodified: A coupon that has not been modified in any way.
  • Coupon Printing Site: A site that requires users to install a proprietary "printer" before coupons may be printed. For example, couponnetwork.com.
  • Manufacturer's Coupon: A coupon from a manufacturer. For example, General Mills.
  • Store Coupon: Coupons issued by a store to be redeemed only in that store. For example, Target.

If a user is uncertain about the application of the rules, he or she should contact one of the Drugstore Forum Moderators. If there is any doubt regarding whether a coupon is allowed, users should not post until they have a moderator's approval.
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Community Wiki

Last Edited by nuffsaid December 20, 2012 at 08:50 AM
Welcome to the official Slickdeals coupon policy thread!

Everyone wants to save a buck or two, and coupons are a great way to achieve amazing savings on all of life's necessities. But with great power comes great responsibility and everyone on the Drugstore forum is expected to live by the rules. Couponing takes time, and it takes effort on your part. There is nothing "easy" about it, and there is a learning curve that everyone must go through. The tools are here, and they are free, but it takes a special person to be a true couponer. You can expect to be humiliated, berated, and even be made to cry at least once. And you will make mistakes. We all do. But a true couponer uses that mistake as a learning tool and improves upon it. Good luck to you!

We'll cover everything you need to know about how to use coupons properly and within the limits SD has set in place. I hope the below answers all of your questions, but if you need anything clarified, please don't hesitate to ask.


Coupon Wording

The wording on the coupon is of utmost importance. $10 off one 14lb bag of dog food means just that. Using it on anything else is a no-no, and discussion of such activity on this board is not allowed.

"It scanned, therefore it must be ok." Nono As responsible coupon shoppers, we are expected to know what the coupon means and what item(s) it is to be used on. Using it on anything else just because it will go through is improper at best, and unethical, fraudulent, and illegal at worst. Proper couponing involves more than just clipping a few q's and heading to the store…it involves lots of time reading and understanding the nuances of coding, as well as knowing each individual store's policies. For the basics of coding, check out this thread (Coupon Barcode Basics). If you want to know more about how a particular store's registers work, check out that store's thread here in the Drugstore/Grocery Store Forum Index. Everybody makes mistakes, and we are not here to castigate each other for them, but rather to help each other learn the rules and abide by them as we all pursue the best deals to be found.

If a coupon states "One per Transaction" or "One per Customer", then we must follow that wording. Any discussion of using multiples of a coupon with this language in a single transaction is not allowed.

I am sure that everyone here knows this, but I want to point it out just in case. "One per purchase" does NOT mean "one per transaction". You can purchase 20 items in one transaction, and use q's to cover those 20 items, as long as the q's don't say "one per transaction" or "Limit four per Shopping Visit" a la Proctor & Gamble (P&G). YMMV on convincing that grouchy old cashier otherwise, but you are completely within the guidelines of legitimate coupon usage.


Store Coupon vs Manufacturer's Coupon

Many stores will allow you to stack a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon together on one item (make sure your store allows this before trying it!). However, it is getting harder and harder to tell the two coupons apart. What is a Retailer Coupon? What about the one that says CVS/pharmacy Coupon across the top?

The bottom line is that ALL manufacturers' coupons will have a 12 digit barcode that starts with either a 5 or a 9 (though some of the 9 ones may have an extra 9 in them, so they would be 13 digits). A true manufacturer coupon will also have a Remit To address and instructions so that the store can submit the q for reimbursement. These coupons will scan anywhere that accepts manufacturer coupons. As always though, pay attention to the wording. Some will say "Redeem Only At X Store", and should be redeemed only at X store, as other stores may or may not get reimbursed for it. Note that this is not the same as "Redeem At X Store"…if there is no "Only" in there, you can use it anywhere (YMMV on your cashier, but it should be accepted if you can talk them into scanning it).

Store coupons will start with something other than 5 or 9, and can have more or less than 12 digits.

Wording at the top of the coupon is irrelevant to the scanner. All it sees is the barcode. If it is a manufacturer barcode, the register will accept it (with proper usage, of course) as a manufacturer coupon (MQ), regardless of whether the coupon says "Manufacturer Coupon", "Retailer Coupon", "Store Coupon", or some other silly confusing phrase.

A coupon with a store specific barcode or other form of entry (for example, Publix q's do not have barcodes, they have a 4 digit LU number that the cashier has to enter manually) is a store coupon, regardless of what the q says on the top of it. I cannot use Publix q's with an LU anywhere other than Publix, and they should be considered store q's. But again, be sure you pay attention to the wording and follow your store's policies. Publix allows stacking a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon, but they recently put out a batch of store q's that say "cannot be combined with any other coupon"…so coupons with that wording cannot be stacked with an MQ.


Coupon Copying

Coupons from many of the popular sites, including coupons.com, redplum.com, and smartsource.com, have identifying ID numbers and barcodes that can be traced back to your computer. Copying these coupons is a big no-no and can potentially lead to you being banned from one or all of these sites. You cannot print these coupons to PDF, nor are we allowed to scan them and post as PDF files (though why would you want to? All those folks making copies of your PDF q leads to you not being able to print any more). PDF's of these q's are not allowed to be posted. You can however post a link to the q on the coupon website.

Printing from these sites requires that you download and install their software program. There is no way around this; if you want to print the q, you have to have the program. It is free, and I don't think anyone here has reported any malicious content or damage. If you are opposed to this download, that's fine…but you'll have to live without the q.

Some folks will trade Internet Printable (IP) coupons, but many others would caution against it, unless you know or trust the person you are sending it too. Remember, that IP can be traced back to you, and you can be penalized for someone else's misuse.

Some manufacturer's still release PDF coupons (though I can't imagine why…). SD allows us to post a link directly to the source of the coupon, whether it be the manufacturer's site, or the store flyer that contains it, or wherever it originated from. We are NOT allowed to post the PDF itself as an attachment, nor are we allowed to host it on Google docs or any other site. We are also not allowed to post MPP's of these PDF coupon (multiples per page).


Coupon Begging

So sorry you missed that H-O-T Physicians Formula PDF, but begging is NOT allowed. Check out the RAOK thread here to see if someone is giving away the q you want, or check out the Coupon Trading Thread here to see if someone is willing to trade with you. Can't find it? Take your search to PM, and see if someone is willing to send it to you. Or do a Google search…surely some site with lower standards than SD has it posted. Please do not post a request in the threads, unless of course you just want someone to mod alert you so your post can be deleted.


BOGO 01 vs BOGO 14

This is a big deal. We're using 14 as an example, but the same rules apply for 02, 14, 16, and 19. If you don't know what these mean, please stop now and head over to the Coupon Barcode Basics thread here, read the first post, and then come back.

Coupon wording is king, but if you intend to be a serious coupon shopper (and if you are here on SD, you do intend to be a serious couponer nod ), you need to know a little bit about coding as well. Some q's will beep even with legitimate usage, depending on how that q is coded and how the store's registers are set up. Knowing which ones will beep and why can be a tremendous help to you.

In a nutshell, a BOGO q that is coded 01 attaches to only one item. However, a BOGO q that is coded 14 attaches to two items. Here are some more concrete examples as laid out by Slayers750 (minor formatting changes, but the idea is intact):
Guidelines regarding a B1G1 manufacturer coupon with a regular manufacturer coupon
A) B1G1 coupons say buy X get Y free. If the coupon is coded "01", the coupon is only applied to the one that you get free, in this case Y.
There is nothing to say that you cannot use another coupon on the one product you are actually buying, in this case X. So YES, you CAN use a $1 off 1 coupon on X.
However, if the coupon is coded "14", then the coupon attaches to both items and you will not be able to put an additional coupon on the "X" item.

Example: Buy 2 HE products use one $1 off 1 HE and 1 X B1G1
This is YMMV according to many stores and only allowed if the coupon is coded "01".

If the coupon was coded "14" then you cannot do this as the register will beep. Asking the cashier to force through that coupon in this situation is not allowed.

The manufacturer can choose the coding in this case ("01") or ("14") and this determines if the manufacturer will allow you to do the above or not.

B) Using the example above you can NOT use a $1 dollar off two items because that coupon applies to two products.
Example: Buy two HE products and use $1 off WYB 2 HE products and 1 X B1G1. <--- This is not allowed.

OK to do: If you buy a total of four products you can use two B1G1 coupons + $1 wyb 2. In this situation you have four products: The two B1G1 coupons apply to two products and the $1 wyb 2 applies to the other two products for a total of four.
Again, this can only be done if the B1G1 are coded "01" -- if they are coded "14" then you would only be able to use the 2 B1G1 coupons only. This is YMMV according to many stores.

C) The rule of thumb is that you can NOT have more coupons than products.
Example: Buy two herbal essences use two $1 dollar off one product and one X B1G1. <--- This is not allowed. There are too many coupons for the number of products.

D) 'WYB' VS. 'AND': If a coupon says Save $1.00 on X WYB Y, you CAN use a coupon $1.00 off one coupon on Y. If a coupon says Save $1.00 on X AND Y, then you can NOT use another coupon on either X or Y because the coupon applies to BOTH products.

Example of an abusive situation:
You cannot abuse the system like this: Buy two of product x and use a coupon of $5 off two products of x AND also the $1 off product x just because the $5 off two products is only coded for one product ("74").


"Piggybacking"

You purchase the following:
Olay Body Wash $8.99
Venus Spa Breeze $9.49
Zest 3pk $3.29
Total pre-coupon: $21.77

WRONG:
Coupons used:
Buy Venus razor get Olay BW Free
$2 off Venus razor
Buy OLAY BW get Zest soap free
This is called piggybacking, and is unacceptable to discuss on SD.

In the above scenario the coupons would apply like this
Olay Body Wash $8.99 Buy Venus razor get Olay BW Free
Venus Spa Breeze $9.49 $2 off Venus razor
Zest 3pk $3.29 Buy OLAY BW get Zest soap free You do not have two items to use this BOGO on at this time

I know that more lenient sites discuss, if not encourage, piggybacking. I also know that some stores have register programming that will find this acceptable. We at SD want to maintain integrity of the site and of couponing. after discussing and researching have taken this position.

The short version:
Is you need two items to apply one BOGO.
Your "BUY" may not also be a "GET"



Odd & Ends and Other Miscellany

If you have any questions that pertain to coupon usage at a specific store, please visit the thread(s) for that store. A q that beeps at RA may not beep at CVS, so you are better off checking the RA thread for specific information as to why that q beeped. And since coupon acceptance policies vary from store to store, that store's thread is going to be your best source of information as to what you can or cannot do within their policy.

Coupon coding as we know it is coming to an end. Many stores are already using that funny looking barcode on the right side of your coupon, and the rest are supposed to be able to soon. Just wait until your q beeps and you can't tell why anymore! MsGal is right...better go ahead and start drinking laugh out loud


Per The Raddish:

Slickdeals will not be issuing warnings for posts breaking store policy, but we absolutely will have a zero tolerance approach to dealing with blatant coupon fraud.



Special Thanks to rydergal for authoring the framework of the guidelines wiki. worship

And rydergal would like to thank anyone and everyone that gave their feedback on my "first draft", including but not limited to reg036 and MsGal. Thank you!

161 Comments

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The wiki is meant to be a tool to be edited by you, the DS/GS users as a way to help new coupon users learn the ropes ethically. Please edit the wiki as necessary to reflect good/bad scenarios. The idea would then be to link users to specific pieces of the wiki in answering repeated questions that you guys see every day.

For example, if someone wonders why it is not okay to use a 50¢ off Jimmy Dean Sausage Links on a package of Jimmy Dean Sausage Patties, you might link them to a scenario in this wiki.

We'll be leaving this sticky for a week or so, and adding a link to it in the index thread for easy reference thereafter.
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Last edited by The Raddish April 11, 2011 at 05:08 PM.
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Wow 3 hours and no feedback...

First Thank You to all involved especially to rydergal, I appreciate the humor!

Just wondering, is there an official policy on "super stacking"? t was before my SD time but I understand that it truly killed off deals at a certain drug store and I'm sure almost all drug store policies restrict it and put it into the store Q wording.
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Last edited by reg036 April 11, 2011 at 08:24 PM.
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The only thing I would add is maybe a little "blurb" at the bottom stating that coupons are currently changing and that by January 2012, all MQ's will have one barcode and no barcode numbers at all, adding to the confusion and chaos we currently experience each day.

Save yourself some time and start drinking now. laugh out loud
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Some people need a sympathetic pat on the head ... with a hammer.
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Quote from The Raddish
:
The following are the official rules concerning posting about coupon usage in the Drugstore/Grocery B&M Deals forum.



Rules:
  • Materially Modified coupons are not allowed on Slickdeals. They are not to be hosted by, or linked to from, Slickdeals.
  • Immaterially Modified and Unmodified coupons may be hosted on Slickdeals as long as they do not violate any of our other rules.
  • Multiple Prints per Page(MPP) coupons are generally not allowed and will be examined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Users may link to offers from Coupon Printing sites, but they may not link to scans of already printed coupons.
  • Scans of Manufacturer's Coupons are not to be hosted by, or linked to from, Slickdeals. The exception to this is a link directly to a coupon hosted on the manufacturer's website.
  • Discussion of how to use coupons for anything other than their original intent is prohibited.
  • Discussion of store policies is acceptable. Discussing how to intentionally trick or fool stores into accepting coupons that they would otherwise reject is prohibited.
  • Store Coupons are not to be hosted by Slickdeals, but may be linked to if hosted offsite, subject to two exceptions.
    - Target and CVS store coupons are not to be hosted by, or linked to from, Slickdeals.
    - Links directly to coupons hosted by Target or CVS are allowed.

Definitions:
  • Materially Modified: A coupon to which a substantial change has been made. For example, a change to the dollar amount, expiration date, bar code, or member id#.
  • Immaterially Modified: A coupon to which an insubstantial change has been made. For example, a coupon that has been resized to print more clearly.
  • Unmodified: A coupon that has not been modified in any way.
  • Coupon Printing Site: A site that requires users to install a proprietary "printer" before coupons may be printed. For example, couponnetwork.com.
  • Manufacturer's Coupon: A coupon from a manufacturer. For example, General Mills.
  • Store Coupon: Coupons issued by a store to be redeemed only in that store. For example, Target.
If a user is uncertain about the application of the rules, he or she should contact one of the Drugstore Forum Moderators. If there is any doubt regarding whether a coupon is allowed, users should not post until they have a moderator's approval.
Whee Yay! So glad to see this! I know I wrote the wiki part, but I have a question about your post, TR. And I promise I'm not just trying to be dense or difficult...I want to make sure I understand the subtlety here. The 3 lines I highlighted in purple...
Immaterially modified or unmodified q's CAN be hosted directly on SD...but in no case can an MQ be hosted here, correct? So basically what we are talking about then are store q's (except Target or CVS of course), right? Except you go on to say that store q's can't be hosted on SD...they have to be linked off site. So what kinds of q's can we host directly on SD?

And while I'm here...MPP's. I know we can't post links or host MPP's of MQ's, but what about store q's? I'm thinking specifically of Publix...they've been putting PQ's on their wesbite lately, with unlimited prints and no restrictive "one per person" wording...would love for my P peeps to be able to help each other save paper whenever possible, soon to be P peep TR Wink
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Reps are back...for now. Stick Out Tongue I owe loads of gratitude to everyone that got me where I am! Read the *NEW* CVS FAQ and post your questions there. Let's keep the deal threads deal-related, please.
Would it kill you to read the wiki? Or to read the thread? All the experts got to where they are by reading...you can too.
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By the way, I read the wiki, and it didn't kill me. Big Grin
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Yeah, but does your "poo" produce ECBs? LMAO
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Quote from reg036
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Wow 3 hours and no feedback...

First Thank You to all involved especially to rydergal, I appreciate the humor!

Just wondering, is there an official policy on "super stacking"? t was before my SD time but I understand that it truly killed off deals at a certain drug store and I'm sure almost all drug store policies restrict it and put it into the store Q wording.
Ah, superstacking. I never got to participate in that, but yet I still miss it so. Oh, how I long for the good ol days! LMAO

I would say that superstacking would vary based on each store's policy, and it would best be explained in that store's FAQ or discussion thread. I know it is covered pretty extensively in the CVS Coupon thread...dunno about RA or Wags or the grocery stores. I would guess that most stores have done away with this, or minimized it greatly, by utilizing that friggin' restrictive language on q's, just like CVS has...

Quote from MsGal
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Save yourself some time and start drinking now. laugh out loud
You got that right Teehee
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Last edited by rydergal April 11, 2011 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Hmm....I love the categories...materially modified, etc. How much did the "guys" in suits charge you for their learned counsel??

But what I REALLY like is this (and it is so right) .. you said ..

"Per The Raddish:

Slickdeals will not be issuing warnings for posts breaking store policy, but we absolutely will have a zero tolerance approach to dealing with blatant coupon fraud.

"
Now, someone has it straight. PM me if you have any interest in why .... clue #1 - Walmart is giving full value/cash back.....and I offer this free of charge!
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Last edited by alwenz April 12, 2011 at 01:13 AM.
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Quote from The Raddish
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Immaterially Modified and Unmodified coupons may be hosted on Slickdeals as long as they do not violate any of our other rules.
Ok, just to clarify on this point as it seems to have changed from what was allowed in the past....so a PDF, even one that has been slightly resized to, say, clear up a blurry UPC, is allowed to be hosted (as in an attachment to a post) on SD?
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Quote from bailey327
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Ok, just to clarify on this point as it seems to have changed from what was allowed in the past....so a PDF, even one that has been slightly resized to, say, clear up a blurry UPC, is allowed to be hosted (as in an attachment to a post) on SD?
I'm a bit confused on this too...because the rules go on to state that MQ's cannot be hosted on or linked to from SD (other than direct to the manufacturer or original q site...which rules out ones that have been modified, even if only immaterially) and the rules also go on to state that store Q's cannot be hosted on SD (but they can be hosted off site and linked). Still trying to figure out what kinds of Q's can be hosted on SD (ie as an attachment)...
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As for MPP's, the long and short of it is that if something would be allowed when it's one to a page, it is still allowed when you have more than one on a page. If you have to modify it to get more than one on a page, and modifying coupons of that type isn't allowed, then the MPP isn't allowed.
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Quote from The Raddish
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As for MPP's, the long and short of it is that if something would be allowed when it's one to a page, it is still allowed when you have more than one on a page. If you have to modify it to get more than one on a page, and modifying coupons of that type isn't allowed, then the MPP isn't allowed.
Ok, so spell it out for me. Let's use this for example. Would an entire page of each one be acceptable?
http://www.3m.com/brands/scotch/p...coupon.pdf
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Ok, so spell it out for me. Let's use this for example. Would an entire page of each one be acceptable?
http://www.3m.com/brands/scotch/promos/welcomecoupon.pdf
That's a manufacturer's coupon. I'm not sure how you'd do anything with that other than link to the manufacturer's website and still stay within the rules. Dontknow
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Quote from The Raddish
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That's a manufacturer's coupon. I'm not sure how you'd do anything with that other than link to the manufacturer's website and still stay within the rules. Dontknow
That's exactly the type of Q that folks want the ability to attach to a post and also want to make a mpp of so that you don't waste paper printing only on top or bottom of a page. PDFs aren't unique and can be saved to your computer and printed multiple times. So folks have wanted to attach those files to a post. It's not materially modified, it would be immaterially modified per the definition, it is not a scan of a coupon. Dontknow

I'm asking this not to be a smartie but because I've never really understood why we have problems with these on SD. It's completely understandable when it's a scan of a unique coupon -- that's absolutely not okay. But if the manufacturer posts a pdf or even emails it out, why can't it be shared as it's not unique?
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Last edited by bailey327 April 12, 2011 at 07:50 PM.
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Quote from bailey327
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That's exactly the type of Q that folks want the ability to attach to a post and also want to make a mpp of so that you don't waste paper printing only on top or bottom of a page. PDFs aren't unique and can be saved to your computer and printed multiple times. So folks have wanted to attach those files to a post. It's not materially modified, it would be immaterially modified per the definition, it is not a scan of a coupon. Dontknow

I'm asking this not to be a smartie but because I've never really understood why we have problems with these on SD. It's completely understandable when it's a scan of a unique coupon -- that's absolutely not okay. But if the manufacturer posts a pdf or even emails it out, why can't it be shared as it's not unique?
This is a good point.

I've gone back to the guys in suits and asked for a revamp because, quite frankly, I'm not so sure I like the rules. Can't post any dang coupons with 'em! Annoyed
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