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June 2, 2014

For Once, The Small Print Giveth

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Humor — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:37 am

  We have lamented for years that “the big print giveth, and the small print taketh away.” For once recently, the opposite was true.

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a college food delivery service issued this coupon offering students 10% off:


In a twist, however, it included some very unusual and unexpected fine print.


“So you’re one of those people who have [sic] to read all the rules and stipulations. You know what we think about that? We think that’s awesome. On the other hand, we think you should probably relax. … we think you deserve an even bigger discount for listening to us ramble. Try “TIMETORELAX” for 15% off any order today.”

So, as a reward for reading the fine print, this service was upping the discount to 15%.

How many people actually read the fine print and got the bigger discount? According to Business Insider, only 12%.

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  1. Without a second code, or other instructions, how would one receive the 15% instead of the 10% (which one assumes the code is for)? How was the 12% who read the fine print determined?

    Edgar replies: Marty… The 10% code was in the big print and a different code was in the fine print for 15% off. The company knows how many people took advantage of the offer. 88% used the 10% code and 12% used the 15% code.

    Comment by Marty — June 2, 2014 @ 7:22 am
  2. Well, THAT’S embarrassing! I’ll blame my bifocals.

    Comment by Marty — June 2, 2014 @ 7:33 am
  3. Looks like Marty didn’t read all the fine print…:)

    Comment by Peter — June 2, 2014 @ 9:30 am
  4. What are you doing, Marty? You come to the fine print blog and then don’t read the fine print?

    I think this deal is awesome. Awesome that they did it and awesome that it could serve as a social commentary on marketing. 12% of the people who likely saw the coupon actually read the fine print (we assume). This goes a long way to to proving why stores are more profitable when they treat people as drones rather than individuals.

    Kind of off topic, but this makes me think of JC Penny’s 2012 attempt to remove all the fluff marketing and price goods without playing games. Consumers don’t seem to pay attention to details because all they want to see are big flashy deals no matter how consumer unfriendly the actual math is. If people would have taken an extra minute to do math – or in the case just read – they would have received an additional 5% off.

    Comment by Wayne R — June 2, 2014 @ 10:11 am
  5. but the fine print (that you did not print) says ‘valid 5/5/14 only’

    Comment by Roland Witte — June 2, 2014 @ 10:26 am
  6. That’s pretty cool. Edgar, why the ‘[sic]’? That reads ok to me.

    Comment by Alan — June 2, 2014 @ 11:13 am
  7. Brilliant use of fine print.

    Comment by Richard Ginn — June 2, 2014 @ 12:02 pm
  8. So you’re one of those people who have [sic] to read all the rules and stipulations.

    Why on earth did you put “sic” after “have” when it is correct …I am sure you would have preferred the incorrect “has”…’ …Of those people who have…. you are one.”

    Edgar replies: You have to ignore the prepositional phrase “of those people.” That leaves you with “you’re one who HAVE/HAS to…” Since “one” is singular, the verb has to be singular too. Hence, “has” is correct (according to what I learned in seventh grade English). Now some might say, “has/have” has to agree with “you’re” and not “one.” While “you have to” sounds right, “you’re one who has to” sounds right too. And the later, with “you’re” and “one” is the actual wording.

    Comment by trev greene — June 2, 2014 @ 12:04 pm
  9. @Roland Witte: why would you expect a Cinco de Mayo coupon to be valid on any day other than Cinco de Mayo? I suppose that they have to print an expiration date on the coupon for the people who would try to use it on, say,the sixth of May, but come on, use your common sense! It may technically be fine print but I see no problem with it.

    Comment by morlamweb — June 2, 2014 @ 2:34 pm
  10. You say “later”…I say “latter”…Cinco de Mayo, to me, doesn’t matter. 🙂

    Comment by Marty — June 2, 2014 @ 10:51 pm
  11. I bet the 12% that read the fine print on the coupon, are all subscribers of mouseprint.org

    Comment by Ken — June 3, 2014 @ 10:22 am
  12. Hmm. If you enclose phrases in angle brackets, they disappear altogether! Here’s what I meant to post:

    Edgar replies: You have to ignore the prepositional phrase “of those people.”

    Well, you do if “those people” isn’t part of the modifier. I read that as “you’re one of [those people who have to read alllllll the rules and stipulations],” which is a perfectly logical construction. It equates to “you’re one of [them].” The original wording is absolutely legitimate and does not require a “sic.”

    BTW, I’ve been a professional editor for 16 years. I can venture far deeper into the grammar weeds if you need more detail. =)

    Comment by CandiO — June 20, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

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