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Europe commissaries upgrade with coupon scanning technology

Gilbert Ramirez, 20, from Ontario, Canada, scans coupons at the commissary in Darmstadt, Germany. Commissaries in Europe have upgraded their technology to ensure the items purchased properly match the item featured on coupons. Coupons will still be accepted six months past the expiration date, according to the Defense Commissary Agency, Europe.

JESSICA INIGO / S&S

By JESSICA INIGO | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 17, 2004

DARMSTADT, Germany — A technology upgrade to commissaries in Europe now ensures shoppers are using the correct coupons to purchase their groceries.

All commissaries in Europe completed the computer upgrade about two weeks ago.

Previously, coupons were manually inspected and sometimes used for the wrong product, according to Kay Blakley, consumer advocate for Defense Commissary Agency, Europe.

Now, computers compare the product code to the item listed on the coupon and, if there is not an exact match, the coupon is kicked back, Blakley said.

Because of the upgrade, some shoppers may experience problems with their coupons not being accepted. Blakley suggests closer inspection when using coupons.

“We certainly do not want to discourage people from using coupons,” Blakely said. “If a shopper uses coupons for extra savings, more power to them.”

She said shoppers must select the exact product featured on a coupon. For example, if a coupon offers savings for a specific name brand of a 16-ounce package of dry soup, a shopper cannot use the coupon on the same brand of canned soup.

“It’s got to be an exact match, or it won’t go,” she said.

Coupons should be given to the cashier prior to the transaction, with the exception of two-for-one or buy-one-get-one-free coupons. These are best left with the products.

Coupons in Europe are still accepted six months after the expiration date.


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