Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What is a Catalina??

I received 3 almost identical emails in the last week. All 3 asked in some form or another "What is a Catalina?"  I bet others might be wondering also.

Catalinas (aka Cats) are the coupons that print at the register with your grocery receipt.  They get their name from the company, Catalina, who manufacturers the printers.  Catalinas are generated based on something you've purchased. The cats you get may be one of 3 things.

First is a coupon for a dollar amount on your next order (OYNO.) They are like cash off your next purchase.  They may have restrictions like $1.00 off your next deli purchase or $2.00 off your next frozen food purchase.  The best kind though are a dollar amount off you next purchase of anything.  With or without restrictions, these are store coupons and only good at any location of the store where they printed.
Second is a coupon for an amount off a specific item .... much like the coupons in the newspaper. These are often for a competitor brand of something you bought. They may have the logo of the store where they printed. If they say "Manufacturer's Coupon" then they can be used at any store that accepts coupons. Some cashiers may question them though if you use them at a store other than where they printed.
Photo From Mommy Snacks
Third is an advertisement for an upcoming catalina offer.  These will tell you that during a specific date range if you buy 1 of product A get $ off next purchase: Buy 2, Get $$ off or Buy 3 Get $$$ for example.
As far as knowing what cats to expect and when to expect them .... There's no always or never answer. Of course you would know about an upcoming catalina if you get one of the upcoming advertisements. I try to post about one's that I get .... so send me info about any you get.  In some cases there will be a shelf tag advertising the catalina and/or it will be in the store ad.  Mommy Snacks updates pages for current catalina deals at both Kroger and Meijer. Some catalinas are offered at both stores but sometimes it's just one or the other. Oh of course other stores near you may have catalinas too. Kroger and Meijer are the main stores in my area.

Meijer also offers their own version of a catalina.  These are sponsored by Meijer instead of the manufacturer.  They call them Custom Coupons.  They print the same way catalinas do.  Watch the back of Meijer's ad for a list of these.  They're there sometimes and sometimes not.

Getting a catalina can just be a surprise too... nice surprise of course!

When expecting a catalina I always go to a cashier instead of a self check out.   Especially at my local Meijer but sometimes at Kroger too, often the catalina machines are either out of paper or just not working.  When you do use a self checkout, watch for catalinas left behind by other customers.  I once found a $2.00 OYNO hanging from the printer.

Sometimes store employees are aware of catalina offers (like the one's in the store ad or that have shelf tags) but sometimes they may know nothing about it.  If you don't get an expected catalina, Customer Service will take care of you if it is a catalina they know about.  Call Catalina at 1-888-826-8766 if the store is unaware of a catalina deal that failed to print.  They are very helpful and in most cases will send catalina to you by mail.

Let me know if I missed something here.  And send me info about any upcoming catalina offers you get so I can pass it on!

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