Monday, July 26, 2010

Fine Print

I know I've included a link to the angry customer letter to Proctor & Gamble about Always pads and their "Have a Happy Period" slogan before, but here it is again. I'm including this link because I've never felt more connected to this woman in my life...however, I'm not [currently] irritated with feminine hygiene (although I have spoken out on the subject before). The other day, Amy Jo and I hit up Office Depot because we're in the process of puppy-proofing the house before Lola (my new puppy!) arrives. We're trying to cover up all the various cords so that's why we were looking at an Office supply store. Although we didn't find what we went in for, I did find a portable external harddrive. I had a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase, which would've made the product about $110 or so. But when I got to the counter, I was told that the coupon did not apply to technology.

Am I the only one who is sick of this fine print bs? If I had a nickel for every time I wasn't allowed to use an alleged "coupon" on something, I'd have enough money to completely eliminate the need for coupons. This has happened one too many times. Office Depot was the straw that broke the camel's back. I looked at Amy Jo and said, "They may have caught me in just the right mood to get an angry letter." I was already writing this letter in my head when I discovered my receipt told me that Office Depot wanted to hear from me. Excellent. Here's what I wrote:
First of all, I should point out that I made this purchase a good 12 hours ago and I'm still pissed.


My problem is not with the specific store; all the employees were friendly, helpful, etc. My problem is with the Office Depot corporation. I'm a teacher and a member of the Star Teacher Rewards program. And if that's not enough, I LOVE office supplies. I've enjoyed being a part of the Star Teacher program, I receive notices about sales and various coupons I THOUGHT I could use. If it weren't for the coupons, I wouldn't go to Office Depot--your prices are FAR from the best. To be quite frank, I find many of your prices to be quite ballsy. It's paper--not diamonds.

Today, I went into Office Depot with a $10 off a purchase of $50 or more coupon. I've received several of these and with school about to start, I was planning on making good use of them. Today I was looking at portable external harddrives and was pleased to find what seemed to be a great one. The price was $119. It seemed like a good deal, and it more than met the requirements of my coupon. Imagine my outrage and irritation when I got to the register and discovered I couldn't use my coupon.

"This coupon can't be used on technology purchases," the cashier told me. "Well, of course it can't," I muttered. Because why wouldn't a coupon come with conditions? Why would a company reward a member of a program with a coupon that could be used on just any purchase? That's just silly.

That's the problem people have with big businesses. You trick us into thinking that you're being generous, only to continue screwing us in the end. Here's a novel concept: if you don't really want to give someone $10 off a purchase, maybe don't send them a coupon. It's not hard. Just don't send the coupon. Not sending coupons is one of the easiest things to do, I do it every day.

In addition to being a teacher, I also have a degree in business. So let's think about this from a business perspective. Today, you were able to keep $10. Good for you. Now tomorrow and the days to come are another story entirely. I just started teaching. There are years and thousands of dollars of office supply purchases in my future. So today's $10 gain is more of a long-term loss when I take my business elsewhere.

Now, I know that I'm probably not going to put a dent in your profits. I also know that whomever is reading this [if anyone] is not the Office Depot President and is in no way connected to prices or coupon exclusivity. I'm aware that my threat to take away my business is ridiculously cliche; and I don't care. It feels good to finally tell someone what I think about companies who behave like this.

Ironically, guess what I'm going to get by filling out this survey? Another $10 off a $50 purchase coupon. That's great, because the one I have right now is about to expire and apparently not good on half the items in the store. So why don't you do me a favor and hold onto that coupon, because I'm certain anything I'd want to buy wouldn't meet the purchase qualifications.
I'm adding the elimination of all fine print to my list of campaign promises should I ever run for President. I also plan on making a campaign promises page on this site so I can keep track of all my brilliant promises.

1 comment:

Jess said...

YES...I love it. I cannot wait to see what, if anything you get back.