I don't want to be, and am not, ungrateful, and I've never been one to turn down something free, but I noticed this last year, and I'm noticing it again this year. All those places that ask for your birthday so they can send you something are sending out the most lame deals you can imagine. I just got one from Office Max giving me $15 off a $75 dollar order. Someone, I think it was Boston Market, recently sent out a coupon where if you buy two dinners you get a free drink.
This is just my personal opinion, of course, but if you're going to give someone a gift, which these offers purport to be, make it a real gift, i.e., with no strings or requirements attached. Chances are, I'm not going to walk into a restaurant and just ask for my free drink, or free cookie or whatever, it's going to get me into the place and then I'm going to have a meal and get my free item. But making the free thing contingent on purchasing quite a bit of other stuff just rubs me the wrong way.
And I guess the thing that really irks me is the way these things are presented, i.e., an email with a subject line like Office Max's -- "A Special Birthday Gift for You." Really? How special is that? If I come up with $75 worth of stuff, I'll only have to pay $60 for it. Sure, it's something, but is it going to make me run out to Office Max and buy $75 worth of stuff? Not likely.
I know that fast food restaurants and other places offer these kinds of coupons all the time--buy one meal, get one at half price, or buy a meal and get a free drink, or upsize or whatever--I think it's the fact that they act like it's such a big deal, and that they're giving you something of such value when really, like in the case of a free drink when you buy two meals, they're getting you in to spend $20 or so and giving you something worth maybe a dime, realistically.
I think I'll keep track of the birthday offers I get this month and see who actually gives things that are worth getting and not just deleting.
- Office Max/MaxPerks - $15 off a $75 order
- Colorful Images - Free shipping on an order of $20 or more. Not bad. I probably won't use it, but I always appreciate free shipping.
- Nature's Bounty - $1.00 coupon. I can't tell what the $1 is off of, though, because I would have to install a coupon printer application in order to print it, and I'm not doing that. Something else that I find completely irritating.
- Michael's - 20% off any regular price purchase. Nice, but not too exciting, since you can usually find 40% off coupons in the Sunday paper.
Oh, and by the way, since the holiday season is coming up, I wanted to mention that I have given up the post office box, and the forwarding order has apparently expired (if it was ever effective in the first place), so if anyone wants to send me a Christmas card and you don't have my home address, just email me and I'll give it to you. Assuming you're not the creepy stalker dude . . .