Thursday, November 11, 2010

Holiday Dinner Rip-offs: The Series

From 2005:

"From the REAL mailbox:

Madison Avenue has done it again…at least in MY neck of the woods.

After receiving my weekly Tuesday Junk Mail batch, courtesy of the U.S. Postal System (which nobody can opt out of), I scanned the latest offerings of a local grocery store. Their idea of promoting Thanksgiving “bargains” goes like this (directly from the ad itself, complete with bullet points):

Sept. 21st-Nov. 15th
• Shop 6 of 8 weeks
• Present your Thanksgiving Dinner Card, MVP card, and spend $45 per visit
• Collect 6 different weekly tickets
• Redeem your 6 tickets for your *$20 Gift Certificate
*See official rules at store office for details. Redeem tickets by 11/22/05

Now sitting here in the comfort of my own home, not having looked at the official store rules, I can tell you that this is a very complicated and very expensive “bargain.”

First of all, the ad doesn’t even state what this “dinner” consists of—just the turkey, or some sort of fixings to go along with it. This store usually wants you to jump through flaming hoops just for the turkey each year.

Next, they want you to cut out these “tickets” which look like manufacturer coupons from their weekly ads for up to 8 weeks, PLUS spend at least $45 per visit—this means store receipt verification, so more paperwork keeping on our part.

Lastly, by obeying their own rules as stated and doing some math, 6 visits at $45 each comes to $240 minimum just for a $20 gift certificate toward a turkey dinner! This is the saddest and sorriest excuse for a holiday “sale” ad I’ve ever seen. I wonder what a $240 turkey dinner tastes like.

The really sad part of this is that lots of neighborhood residents will take this grocery store up on this offer. This store’s ad agency is preying on the ignorance and/or complacency of the clientele. All it does for me is show the degree of desperation the store is in for making any money at all this holiday. I can hardly wait to see what they dream up for Christmas dinner advertising.

I’ll keep you posted."

From 2007:

"UPDATE--2007’s rules go like this:
• Sept. 26th-Nov.20th
• Shop 6 of 8 weeks
• Present your cards (see above) and spend $45 per visit
• Collect 6 different weekly tickets
• Redeem them for a $20 coupon
• Redeem tickets by 11/27/07

~~The rules haven’t changed, but the lesson remains the same~~

In 2010:
--Shop 6 of 8 weeks from September 29-November 23.
--Spend $45/visit.
--Now the coupons have gone electronic: you now get credits on your VIP shopping card. Messages appear at the bottom of each register receipt you generate with a count of how many "turkey credits" you've accumulated so far.
--Instead of a $20 coupon, you now get a $15 coupon.
--All tickets must be redeemed by December 7.

It's still the same old rip-off plan, only now your "reward" has been downgraded by $5. You still have to spend $270 to get $15 ($45 X 6 = $270). You'd have to spend no less than $33.75/week over 8 weeks--if you're spending that much in one regular grocery store a week, you aren't saving any money at all!

In the past, this "sale" was listed on the front page of the flyer--now, it's on the back page all the way at the bottom.

If this isn't bad enough for you, this particular grocery store now has an affiliate store in town (different name, same products), and is offering .37/lb. turkeys with an additional $25 purchase. If the rest of Thanksgiving dinner costs $25, you're doing something wrong.


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