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February 11, 2013

Dumb Coupon Fine Print

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:32 am

Last fall, Boston Market sent out an email offer to people on their mailing list promising a free rotisserie chicken. Of course, once you open the email, you learn that you have to buy a “family meal” in order to get it.

Worse, the coupon was geographically limited:


Boston Market

Considering those stores are 3000 miles away from MrConsumer… thanks, but no thanks.

Two days later, the company realized its blunder and sent out an apology, including a coupon:

Boston Market


The coupon requires “no purchase”, but the fine print indicates that you cannot use it if you buy one of their heavily discounted meals. In other words, buy nothing and dessert is on us, but buy something cheap, and like the soup Nazi might say, no dessert for you. Huh?

Clearly, the company merely copied over its standard exclusion language for other coupons without thinking. This is the most minor of issues, but there are other times when standard language in other companies’ coupons can be used wrong-headedly against a customer by an over-protective cashier.

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  1. Ok, I’m going to sound like an old “fuddy duddy” even though I am only 32, but I am starting to see how the “new generation” of kids are now in the corporate world. The generation where they get trophies and ribbons for just showing up, and then they still give ribbons to people that just “try”.

    This is also the generation that wants everything right now, they can’t wait 4 seconds for a video to load on a webpage, they want no inconveniences, etc… They are also the generation that can not spell, use poor grammar, they don’t care about detail, they will tell you “well, you know what I MEANT to say”.

    My point being, as I see them now working, I am thinking they are more the ones to blame for things like this. Gee, I didn’t check that it was just a regional thing, gee I didn’t check that it can be for any purchase, etc….


    Comment by Gina — February 11, 2013 @ 9:24 am
  2. Why even bother sending out a coupon through email if it is limited to a specific geographical area? There is a significant number of people who received that email and could do nothing with it.

    I also think that the second coupon just used copied legal language from another coupon without considering what the offer was for. Probably a feeble attempt to make it up to the email list.

    Comment by Wayne R — February 11, 2013 @ 10:44 am
  3. Gina, I am a little older than you, but I have had the same thought as yours many times. My local newspaper let many of their reporters go (experienced and higher paid?) and replaced them with younger (less experienced and less highly paid?) ones. A story in yesterdays edition started off with a warning of; “A chunk of space rock that would fit inside most high shool gymnasiums…”.
    A clear and precise description if I ever heard one.

    Comment by Mike — February 11, 2013 @ 10:54 am
  4. So I have to ask the simple question. Can I do separate orders.???

    First use the coupon to get a free desert. They in order number 2 buy the items the coupon does not allow???

    I could come with two people though. One uses the coupon and the other one does not. That is certainly one dumb coupon.

    Comment by Richard Ginn — February 11, 2013 @ 12:07 pm
  5. In the ‘Not applicable’ sentence one of the things not included is ‘grocery items’. What the heck is a ‘grocery item’? I wasn’t aware that BM was a grocery store.

    Comment by Gert — February 11, 2013 @ 2:10 pm
  6. And since the President of Brand Marketing was just on Undercover Boss trying to make everything at all of their stores better and more transparent, this is really bad timing for them.

    Comment by Jared G — February 11, 2013 @ 2:21 pm
  7. boston market frozen dinners are sold in grocery stores so that’s where the ‘grocery item’ comes from. Doesn’t make it make much more sense to have it on the coupon though.

    Comment by Anna — February 11, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

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