A Target shopper shared a hack to saving money when paying at self-checkout. While the shopper later clarified her video was intended to be a joke, others claimed they used the trick in the past—but it hasn’t always gone to plan.
In a video with over 2.8 million views, TikTok user Vivian (@vivianinthecity) demonstrates the tip in action.
At the beginning of the video, she scans a product at a self-checkout for $5.49; by the end of the video, she’s gotten the product’s price down to $3.56 after tax.
The secret is two-fold.
First, Vivian applies a coupon from the Target app, which allows her to take $2 off the normal price. Second, and most importantly, she tells the self-checkout she is using 9 reusable bags.
This lowers the price because Target offers discounts for using reusable bags. In general, these discounts amount to 5 cents per reusable bag, meaning that if a shopper claims they’re using the maximum allowed number of reusable bags, they’ll save 45 cents on their purchase.
In the comments section, Vivian clarified that the video is a joke. Still, many users took this tip at face value, with some saying they’ve faced issues trying the trick themselves.
“I tried that once and a thing popped up saying a worker was coming to check that I had that many smh,” a user wrote.
“I did 3 bags once and it called a team member over lol,” another shared.
“I held my two items in my hand in did that and got yelled at bc ‘my hands aren’t a bag,’” a third alleged.
“I did this one time and the checkout lady threw a fit and tried to embarrass me in front of everyone,” an additional Target shopper recalled.
Other shoppers implored users not to try the hack, as abuse of the system has the potential to cause the discount to go away.
“Please don’t ruin this for us who actually bring a reusable bag,” a commenter begged.
“Y’all don’t ruin it for a few cents,” a second pleaded.
Still, some said that this hack presented an opportunity for malicious compliance.
“I do this but I actually bring 9 or more bags as proof,” a user claimed.
Update 8:30am CT, Feb. 16: In email to Daily Dot, Vivian shared the following: ““I was surprised at how individuals reacted to the video. Saving money is clearly on people’s minds, especially given the economical climate. While people should not be dishonest about the number of bags they bring, there are many other ways to save money at target- such as getting a debit redcard to save 5% everyday. I love showing people how to save money and life living in a city. Follow @vivianinthecity for more!”