Make us your home page

Digital coupons at Publix offer pros, cons

I tried the new digital coupons at Publix the other day. The grocery chain is introducing paperless coupons at its 1,068 stores and began rolling them out at some Tampa locations last week.

Overall, I give the coupons a solid B. They aren't going to revolutionize my grocery shopping, but they are going to give me another tool for saving money. All Publix stores in Florida should offer them by March 8.

Here are some pros. It takes just a minute to sign up at and it's easy to scroll through the coupons, virtually clipping the ones you like. Your picks get stored in your account and you can email them to yourself or print them out.

The system deletes them when they expire, eliminating the need to check which ones are still good every time you go to the store.

The biggest advantage is that you can never forget digital coupons at home or lose them in the bottom of your purse. You just enter your phone number at checkout, and any eligible coupons are automatically applied to your bill. What's really cool for hardcore clippers is that your account keeps a running total of which coupons you have used and how much you have saved. Over time, that might feel pretty good — particularly if you've just splurged on a purchase and need some justification.

Here's what I'm not crazy about: The coupon selection is limited, you don't know when new ones are posted, and there's some duplication of traditional coupons you get in Sunday's newspaper. Of the 100 digital coupons available last week, I clipped just nine, most with savings on par with other kinds of coupons.

The whole paperless part is somewhat misleading. Unless you can remember every coupon you have — which is doubtful — you really need to print or write your list, noting which coupons have purchase requirements.

I used my iPhone to view my coupons online but found it cumbersome. There's no way to mark off items as you collect them, so you've got to constantly scroll through your list as you walk around the store. With paper coupons, I separate them by store section — freezer, refrigerator, dry goods — and put them to the side once I find the item. It's not high-tech, but it works.

Redeeming the coupons at the checkout was a little tricky, too, although I suspect that will improve with time. I was not able to enter my phone number into the keypad as advertised and the clerk ended up calling over a manager to help. I had to shout out my number in front of a bunch of strangers, which felt awkward and a bit too personal.

By the time we figured everything out, the line had swelled to five people deep. The manager yelled for a backup cashier. I slinked out the door without making eye contact with anyone in line behind me.

Total digital savings: $4.15.

• • •

Kate McKenzie Clothiers in Tampa is throwing a party this week to celebrate 15 years in business. That's no small feat for an independent retailer.

Owner Wendy Guzzle says she has survived by adapting to changing times and listening to customers. When they stopped buying $200 dresses during the recession, she found less expensive lines. When the Internet fueled competition, she started promoting the store on Facebook and calling customers personally when new shipments arrived.

"You definitely have to love it," she said. "In the first four years, I was there six days a week. You really have to like the people and every year try something new. You can't get too attached to anything."

To celebrate the milestone, the store at 1550 S Dale Mabry Highway in the Carriage Trade Plaza will have 15 percent off all merchandise Thursday and Friday and prizes for the first 15 customers each day. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Susan Thurston can be reached at or (813) 225-3110.

Digital coupons at Publix offer pros, cons 02/18/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 9:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  2. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy


    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Owners to level Port Richey flea market but may rebuild

    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY — The owners of the recently shuttered USA Flea Market have agreed to demolish all structures on the property, leaving open the possibility of rebuilding the weekend shopping attraction, according to Pasco County officials.

    Pasco County officials shut down the USA Flea Market after it received hundreds of citations for health and code violations.
  5. Kimmins Protégé-Mentor Program a crash course on business know-how



    Williams Landscape Management Company was founded 30 years ago with one employee.

    Marisela Linares and Jorge Castro listen to speakers during a workshop at the Kimmins Contracting Corporation on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.   Kimmins Contracting Corporation is handling road construction projects Jeff Vinik's company as he remakes the Channel District. To do some outreach, the company is partnering with three minority contractors, but it's a unique partnership with Kimmins not only giving them the opportunity, but taking them through a series of workshops. It's essentially providing training to the subcontractors so they will be in position to get other contracts.