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Failure at Penny Shopping

10 ways Not To Be A Failure AT Penny Shopping

I follow Facebook boards of people complaining that they never find anything when they penny shop. For those who do not know what penny shopping is click here to my link: Finding pennies at Dollar General. 

I totally get that. Feeling like a failure when you don’t find pennies when you try and try can make you give up. There are several reasons why it’s hard to be successful at penny shopping.

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1. The store pulls well.

The store pulls well. It’s their job to pull items before they become a penny. The most success I find is in stores that are sloppy and messy. The stores that are super duper neat, it is much harder to find pennies. I think mainly because they have the staff to pull items, and to stock. 

I was in a very neat store and did find a placemat for a penny. The manager came over to me and asked me where I found it. I was pretty sure she hated that she missed it. Just by her reaction, I knew they are diligent about working hard to avoid any penny sales. 

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2. Lots Of New Penny Shoppers Thanks To Social Media.

Social media can be good and bad. The good thing is that it opens the door for us to find ways to save money. The bad thing is too many people always spell trouble. I have seen people totally destroy a store over pennies. Getting cheap stuff can make people turn into bullies! They block aisle so their folks can get all the goods. They are disrespectful to the cashiers and staff. They often feel entitled, which ruins it for people who are just trying to make ends meet or get items cheap to be a blessing to a homeless shelter. 

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3. Not Paying Attention To The Visuals

It’s easy to fail at penny shopping when you are not paying attention to the visuals. It is important to look and know what you are looking for. When I go into the store, it can be overwhelming because you are not the only one searching for penny deals. There may be other penny shoppers in the store looking for the same thing. I take pictures of the visuals on my phone so I can review them over and over when I am looking for items. This is especially important when there are several items on the list.

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4. Not Going Out On Tuesday.

Tuesday is the day most items will turn to a penny. Sure, you can find the same pennies on other days, but your chances are much higher the day it turns a penny since other people will be out there looking. The early you go the better. It only takes one person to find a group of penny items and take it all. Taking all of it is the best thing because once the store knows the item is a penny, they suppose to pull the rest. I was in one store when Easter candy pennied. Instead of taking all of it, I just took a few because I really didn’t want all that candy. I was going to tell a customer about the candy but before I could the manager had already removed the rest of the candy. 

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5. Failure to Search Completely

Another failure at penny shopping is not being thorough enough. I know for me it’s easy to go to several stores and just get tired of looking really hard. But not looking hard, you can miss items. I hear one YouTuber that says, “look high, look low.”

I recall being in one store after several others and was tired of looking. Inspite of how I felt, I went down every aisle and came across some S21 pouches. I have a habit of looking at the tag just in case it’s an old year. This store had two cases of S21 pouches. If I would have rushed through the store, I would have missed it. To understand S21 and other symbols in penny shopping, click here.

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6. Being Intimidated.

Another failure in penny shopping is being intimidated. If you are in a store and feel paranoid just looking around and scanning things then you won’t be successful.  One of the managers at DG was telling me that he saw one lady trying to hide that she was scanning products and it was so ridiculous to him. DG made the app for us to scan things, so you are not doing anything wrong. Also don’t be daunted by workers coming down the same aisle and watching you. People steal. So since they don’t know you, it may make you look suspicious if you are in the same area scanning or in the store for a long time. It just doesn’t bother me since I am on a treasure hunt. From my experience, cashiers and managers figure out what I am doing. I’ve had plenty of conversations with them about pennies because of it but I don’t bring it up unless they do.  The more you do it, the better you will get at it and will feel less intimidated. 

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7. No Big Score!

Another failure is thinking that you have to score big all the time. You just won’t. You will have days when you find an abundance of pennies and other times just one or two things. I use to feel this way. I would come home defeated and feel like I wasted all my time, gas, and energy. I had to change my point of view. I start looking at it as if I didn’t go to this group of stores, I would not have known what they had available. I can write them off my list of not to visit again. I also have to look at the times when I went to stores and found an abundance of penny items. If you want to see some of my discoveries click here

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8. Be Consistent.

That may mean taking a break then getting back in. I love to travel from my area, just to get away and enjoy the scenic route. So for me that is part of the adventure in penny shopping. So if I have a lousy day, I at least enjoyed the ride and discovered what stores I should not return to. I recall one Tuesday the app or system was all weird. Brown and gray dot had pennied, but in some areas it was showing a penny and in others full price. I went to my first store and they had computer issues so did not open. Penny shoppers know that alone is frustrating because you plan to be there right when the store opens to grab those pennies. Now you hope you can make it to the next store and the items are still there. I went to the second store, but the app was still showing full price. I decided to take the stuff up anyway hoping it was a penny. The manager who knows me well, told me nope, it’s full price. So I put all the items back. Well, long story short, I went to a couple more stores and came back to the store when the system finally showed a penny. I was able to get everything I previously had to put back. The store with the computer issues was finally opened and I was able to get clothes and other penny items too! Apparently, other people had tried, but when they were in store, the app was still off. That was a lot of work, but my consistency paid off.  

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9. Get To Know Your Store

Get to know your store.  Another way to fail at penny shopping is not having a clue about your local stores. Do they pull items? Are they superneat? Do you ever find penny items in their store? You should know your local stores. This may take time, but see if they pull items. I know a store near me, rarely pulls penny items. So I know I will find items on Tuesday. I like to go in and see what items are left. Some people go on Monday. If you go in the store on Monday then on Tue. the items are gone and you were the first one there, more than likely they pull. Another way of knowing is if you never can find any items then it’s time to focus on another store. I talk with managers all the time. By talking to them, I get a feel about how they feel about penny items. Yes, you should never go into a store asking about penny items. But, sometimes the conversation will come up by them. One manager told me that things go to a penny and he doesn’t remove them. He rather people buy them to get it out of their store. But let them tell you that information.

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10. If My Suggestions Don't Work

If you follow everything on this list and STILL can’t find anything, then if I were you I would focus on the sales and clearance events. DG always has seasonal items that will go from regular price to 25% all the way down to 90%. I will buy things at 90% because that is still a super awesome price.  I was in the store the other day and purchased $8 rugs for .80 cents and $10 hampers for a $1. Hey, 70% is a good discount price too! It all depends on what you are willing to spend or risk waiting for. You can study your stores to see how people buy. If you know people will rush to buy at 70%, then it may be best to buy it early.

2 thoughts on “Failure at Penny Shopping”

  1. Penny shopping really took off about ten-fifteen years ago when everyone bought a smartphone and all the stores had free Wi-Fi. Big mistake for Dollar General to not upgrade their inventory control system. Before that time, the “penny list” was for employees only and they used their hand-held computers to find the items and remove them from the sales floor. Now, DG allows customers to use their free wifi, they can spend hours in the store searching, and the employees really can’t do much about the penny sales. The district manager will see the penny sales and will reprimand the store manager. The store manager will then reprimand the employees for not doing their jobs. With the poor staffing, it’s very difficult for an overwhelmed, overworked employee to spend time searching for the penny items. Dollar General must change their inventory control system so that customers cannot see penny items on their DG phone apps. The items are marked out of stock, and they are supposed to be removed from the sales floor.

    1. Hey, thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s interesting and I think that Dollar General might keep the penny list going as a way to draw more customers. I mean, before I knew about penny shopping, I hardly ever set foot in DG. But now, I’m there all the time, picking up groceries and using coupons. I’m with you on the whole staff situation – they’re definitely stretched thin. I’ve chatted with a bunch of managers and cashiers, and they’re just decent folks trying to make ends meet. Whenever I score some good finds, I often share with them, and they really appreciate it. It’s a shame, though, how big companies don’t seem to value their employees as much as they should.

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