Hey big retailers, I don’t want your crappy coupons.

There was once a time when stores sent you coupons that you could bring in for a percentage off your purchase. I hardly ever buy things at full price, so I appreciate the gesture and reward such establishments with my business. Unfortunately, in the last few years, it’s all gone to shit, really. It’s mostly complication and inconvenience and a million little details.

Coupons once drew people in to spend, and spend willingly the people did, glad in the knowledge that they’d save a little money on what they were buying. Now, big retailers seem to hope you’ll either misplace their coupons or forget that they exist. They tie in a bunch of rules to help ensure that you never bother with the damn thing. It’s “Here’s a coupon that you can use at an (inconveniently much) later date” or “Here’s a coupon with your receipt that you can use for your next purchase with us; the coupon is valid starting two weeks from tomorrow; make sure you bring both the coupon and the receipt stapled together, otherwise you can’t use the coupon.” Sure thing– I have time to keep coming back to your store every two weeks to buy stuff, and I love to clutter my home with old receipts.

In the spirit of meanness and non-generosity, many big retailers who still mail coupons to their customers are sure to mail out these crappy coupons looooooong before the time that the coupons are valid. This way, you set the coupon down somewhere on a table, then put stuff on top of it over the course of the next several days, then forget all about it, then ideally shop without the courtesy of the discount.

Williams-Sonoma mailed me a coupon roughly two weeks ago, telling me that for every $50 I spend between December 18 and December 24, I’ll receive a $10 coupon that I can redeem between Dec 26 and Jan 30. I went to Williams-Sonoma twice over a week ago to get a Christmas gift for my husband; their little reward would have been nice. Unfortunately for me, my patronage has cost me more because I refuse to shop at stores the week of Christmas–my sanity and sensibility won’t allow it, plus I run the risk of what I seek being out of stock. Williams-Sonoma, what gives? Give me something I can use TODAY. Don’t bother mailing me crap like that–save paper and postage.

On a related note about saving paper and postage, check out the amount of Christmas-gift-inspired buying madness printed matter I got from Bloomingdales within a two-day window; a tad excessive, n’est-ce pas?:

Two days, four catalogs

So big retailers, I don’t mind that your coupon is valid between December 18th and December 24th. I’m just asking you to do me the courtesy of mailing that coupon around Dec 14th, as opposed to say, November 28th. And I’m asking you to do me the courtesy of offering me a real discount, a SIMPLE discount, not a “spend this in one week, then come back in three weeks and get X amount of money off something else  if you spend Y” shenanigan.  If that’s all you’re gonna send me, I’ll happily buy your stuff on Amazon instead…where prices are most often cheaper and where I get free two-day shipping with my Amazon Prime membership. Hey big retailers, you listening?

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