June 30,2011, 2011 -- Extreme couponer April Cuevas says an altercation with a Walmart employee regarding coupon policies led to her temporary banishment from the company's more than 4,000 stores.
The penny-pincher claims that during a trip to a Nampa, Idaho, location a disagreement about competitor coupons -- which Walmart honors under certain conditions as part of its Ad Match policy -- led to an argument with a store manager at the Franklin Avenue Supercenter.
"I was going to Walmart like I usually do, and I only had a few coupons in my purse that I was going to use because I was only going for cheese, milk and candy bars," the mother of five told ABCNews.
At the check-out counter, "I was trying to use a Target coupon and the checkout lady said, 'No, you can't use this.'" Cuevas, a daily Wal-Mart shopper, asked to speak to a manager because "it doesn't say anywhere in the store [Walmart doesn't] accept competitor coupons."
"We are aware there was an incident that occurred at a store based on a coupon we should have accepted," Lorenzo Lopez, a spokeperson for Walmart, told ABCNews. "We certainly understand her frustration. After gathering all information, we think both sides could have handled it differently. We have apologized to Ms. Cuevas and we have invited her back to the store. She has returned to the store since the incident."
During her quarrel with management, a separate incident took place at an aisle near Cuevas, and she began filming it with her iPhone.
"I saw four big men running toward me and I grabbed my iPhone and start recording because I thought they were headed towards me," said Cuevas. But the employees were headed to another aisle and she kept recording.
According to a source familiar with the even there were two isolated incidents at the store.
Cuevas told ABCNews.com that when a separate manager approached, he attempted to slap the iPhone out of her hand. "He told me I either pay for my stuff and leave, or leave my stuff and leave, and that I can't videotape in the store," said Cuevas.
After paying for her items and exiting the store, Cuevas says a woman began trailing her family through the parking lot.
"We unloaded the groceries into the car and I tried to tell my license plate number," says Cuevas. "She said, 'I already got it, and don't leave because you're leaving the scene of the crime.'"
While she was exiting the parking lot, says Cuevas, the employee began chasing the car on foot through the parking lot and the streets, frightening Cuevas enough to call the police to report the employee for chasing her family (her three daughters were with her). The dispatcher suggested the shopper pull into a nearby gas station and had an officer waiting once she pulled her vehicle into the station.
At the gas station, "the cop told me I was banned from Walmart for the rest of my life," says Cuevas. She said that when she asked the officer if it was every Wal-Mart or the specific Wal-Mart she recently visited, the officer stated the ban was for "all Wal-Mart's nationwide and even Sam's Club."
The news was a surprise to Cuevas, who says she never had a similar incident with Walmart. The previous day, a store manager declined to a do an "ad match" but "they were very nice."
Cuevas says she has only returned to the store once and her ritual of buying 20 newspapers and clipping coupons with her older daughter has ended.