Trial Size Trouble

Last night we went to Publix in a neighboring community. I like going there because it doesn't seem to get totally cleared out of moneymakers and BOGO deals. I think because it's a more affluent area, less people use coupons there. But after our shop last night, I think the couponers stay away because the staff are nervous about coupons and resistant to take coupons when they realize the customer is making money on the deal. I've been scouting the clearance rack for trial size meds, in the past scoring some moneymaker deals on Zantac and Bayer with coupons that didn't exclude trial size. Just this past weekend there was a $1/1 MQ in the 11-13 RP insert for Advil Congestion Relief that stated "ANY" size. I knew there were a bunch of trial Advils CR on the clearance table at this one store, so that's why we made the trip there. Sure enough, I got 13 and planned to use 13 coupons. Along with some Idahoan potatoes, Phazyme, Sundown Vitamins there was enough overage to get some beer for our weekend trip to the NASCAR race. Except the beer was gone, so we had to ask customer service to substitute two 12 pks for a case that was on sale. They said sure, just come check out in Lane 11 when you're ready.
 
So we finish our shop and go to Lane 11 nearest the customer service. Here's my list:
14-Nov 44   114.04 22.69 90.79 tax 0.56 45 -99.51%
Product qty price subtl B1G1 -Q   total Q# Q details
beer 24pk 1 17.99 17.99       17.99    
banana 2 0.35 0.70       0.70    
HJ pancake mix pouch 1 0.99 0.99   1.00   -0.01 2 $1/2 MQ 11-6SS + $1/1 TQ
HJ pancake mix box 1 1.79 1.79   2.79   -1.00 2 free mix wyb syrup + $1/1 TQ
HJ pancake syrup 1 2.79 2.79   2.00   0.79 1 $1/1 TQ
Idahoan Potatoes BOGO 8 1.33 10.64 5.32 8.00   -2.68 8 $1/1 MQ print
Smart Balance Milk 1/2 gal 4 2.50 10.00   6.00   4.00 4 $1.50/1 MQ print zip 48047
Emerald Nuts BOGO 6 5.79 34.74 17.37 6.00   11.37 6 $1/1 MQ 11-13 RP
Advil cong relief trial size 13 0.42 5.46   13.00   -7.54 13 $1/1 MQ 11-13 RP
Vit D 4 2.99 11.96   18.00   -6.04 4 $3/2 MQ email + $6/2 PQ
phazyme 2 3.49 6.98   9.00   -2.02 2 $5/2 TQ + $2/1 MQ print
Publix Gift Card 1 10.00 10.00   10.00   0.00 1 Get $10 GC wyb $50  x11/15
$/$$ coupon   0.00 0.00   5.00   -5.00 1 $5/$30 PQ Take Budget by horns
$/$$ coupon   0.00 0.00   10.00   -10.00 1 $10/$50 Sweetbay
 
At this point we've been in the store about forty minutes - looking for Emerald Nuts, waiting for raincheck stock checks, waiting for them to find a case of beer in the back, etc. Finally, we check out and I hand over my coupons. The cashier starts sorting them and spreading them all over the counter. I think they do this so the cameras over their shoulder can capture the whole transaction. Actually, afterward I felt like we were being scrutinized way earlier when we were in our store. They were looking at the stuff in my cart as they were trying to find me some Emerald Nuts. Anyway, I digress. She couldn't find anything wrong with my coupons so she started scanning the MQ's first and the Advil coupon would not scan. She tried to hand it back and said we can't take them if they don't scan. I said they can verify its correct use on the right product and then do an override and enter it as a generic vendor coupon. The Advil coupon has the new long barcode and no short one, so I couldn't suggest covering up the long one to make it scan (like on the CWS). Anyway, she tried to tell me is was invalid for the trial size. I explained that if it were not allowed the coupon would state excludes trial size, which it did not. So I ask her to get a manager to approve the coupon. The asst customer service manager came over and looked at the trial size and the coupon and said they couldn't take it if it didn't scan.
 
At this point DH and I are getting a little frustrated. I said I'm calling corporate right now (I have the number in my phone (Publix Consumer Relations 800-242-1227) and started dialing. Then the customer service manager says, I'll get the Store Manager. DH said thanks. Unfortunately it was after six p.m. and there was no answer at Publix. The Asst Store Manager came over and said the coupon wasn't meant for trial size and the computer wouldn't accept the scan. Then she points out "Limit One Coupon Per Purchase" printed on the coupon. At this point, I realized we were dealing with a bunch of untrained staff. I had to demonstrate using my products and coupons the difference  between one per purchase, and one per transaction. We had to explain that the whole cart was a transaction, but each item was a purchase. DH says to the ASM, "You know in my job just because the computer can't do something, doesn't mean I can't do it. Sometimes you have to approve actions and handle them manually if the computer won't perform as you expect. If the coupon doesn't scan and you have verified its the correct product, any size then you should take it. I'm not taking NO for an answer. You're not making this shopping trip very pleasurable."
 
We both dislike having to stand our ground with coupons, and if it were our "home" store we would have skipped the purchase without a fuss. But this store gave me a hard time about the CWS last week too. They act like the money is coming out of their own pockets. They also know that most people are afraid of conflict and will back down and say it's okay that you just denied my coupons. The staff are friendly enough, but its not genuine. I feel looked down upon because I use coupons there and its not a good feeling. I'm sure they don't care if I ever shop there, since most of their customers are wealthy and spend a lot more than one dollar like me.
 
The ASM listened patiently to DH and then said "Natasha will put in an override for you this time". Fine, we whined enough and got our way. But they left us feeling like we were wronged. I hate it when they say "we'll take it this time" - it really means don't come back and try this again. It's correct coupon use, but they don't like it. So of course, they're going to try to discourage coupon use on moneymaker deals. The store manager can do that, it's his prerogative. I'll just have to try to fly low under the radar when we go there, get smaller orders and avoid having to get "numbers" by getting fillers if my coupon count is higher than my items.
 
How do you handle trial size hassles?

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