Yu Nakasone, a cashier at the Camp Foster Commissary, scans coupons using an electronic scanner on Friday.

Yu Nakasone, a cashier at the Camp Foster Commissary, scans coupons using an electronic scanner on Friday. (Mark Rankin / S&S)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Defense Commissary Agency recently made upgrades to its Pacific stores to help speed up lines and make sure customers are using correct coupons.

In early July, commissaries began using an automated coupon scanner to enhance the checkout process by quickly verifying products against coupons, according to Al Zimmer, Kadena Air Base commissary store director.

Zimmer said before the new system, cashiers manually checked coupons against purchased items, which could bog down the checkout process.

Diolita Abel, customer service manager at Camp Foster’s commissary, said the scanners have sped up lines and customers have noticed.

“The scanners have worked well here and the cashiers and customers seem to like the process,” Abel said.

Zimmer said if a scanner does kick back a coupon, the cashier can override the system and give the discount if the customer purchased the product and the coupon is still good.

If the customer didn’t purchase the item, Zimmer said the cashier simply informs the customer the coupon can’t be used and gives it back.

Commissaries will still accept coupons up to six months after their expiration date.

Penny Fontana is a frequent commissary shopper and uses plenty of coupons.

“I try to use coupons often to save money, but you have to use [a lot] to get a discount,” Fontana said.

“I like having the scanners — it makes the lines move faster.”

“Anything that makes our lines move faster and helps us to save money is welcomed,” said Leila Rodriquez, another Camp Foster shopper who regularly uses coupons.

Zimmer said he hasn’t heard any complaints to date about the scanners.

To him, no news is good news.

“They’ve virtually had no affect on us here … we’ve had no comments, positive or negative,” he said.

“So far, we’ve had no problems.”

— Mark Rankin contributed to this report.

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