When Is Everything, Not?

Yay! Choose from everything! But wait, what’s that asterisk?

Sorry coupon not valid towards the purchase of Krups, Capresso, The Sharper Image, iJoy, Wusthof, Nautica, All-Clad, J.A. Henckels, Tempur-Pedic, Custom Windows, Little Giant Ladders, Weber gas grills or Linens ‘n Things Gift Cards.

Guess that’s not really everything, now is it, milk bags.

The BBB guidelines state, “An asterisk may be used to impart additional information about a word or term which is not in itself inherently deceptive. The asterisk or other reference symbol should not be used as a means of contradicting or substantially changing the meaning of any advertising statement.”

While advisory in nature, adherence to the BBB code is considered (by the BBB), “a significant contribution toward effective self-regulation in the public interest.”

For bonus points, any reader care to find cite the New Jersey state law on appropriate use of asterisks?

via Insignificant Thoughts.


Edit Your Comment

  1. etinterrapax says:

    That would be, everything except what I would actually buy there, since everything else can be found cheaper at Target, and of comparable quality. Sheesh. They shoot themselves in the foot rather willingly.

  2. Why don’t they just say “off select items” instead of “off everything”?

    Oh wait, because that wouldn’t be deceptive.

    Really, it would be one thing if the asterisk was only for the gift cards but if you aren’t familiar with that store it reads like there isn’t anything left for the discount to apply to.

  3. Triteon says:

    With deals like this, Linens-n-Things can count on receiving 100%* of my disposable income!

    *Estimated 100% guarantee carries a standard deviation of 100%.

  4. Hilary says:

    Just a note: Bed Bath and Beyond has similar coupons with the same exclusions and they’ve always let me use the coupon, even for brands listed on the bottom.

  5. Drinker Nisti says:

    Hardly a new use of the asterisk: Macy’s (West anyway) has been doing this for years with their newspaper coupons: take an additional 10% off anything* in the store.
    *excluding Dockers, Henckels, etc. etc. etc.

    I love my Wustoff and All-Clad: all purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond, where the 20% off coupon really does apply to everything

  6. DeeJayQueue says:

    Try to find an employee who actually cares enough to pick that fight with you.

    I used to work for BB&B and our 20% off coupons said the same thing. Not once did I or any other coworker deny the coupon due to the purchase containing one of the excepted brands. Basically they have to exclude those brands because they have specific vendor agreements with them that say they can’t change the price of their goods or offer them on ‘sale’.

  7. Actually, Bed Bath & Beyond does something similar with the compons they send out in the mail, just maybe not with as many brands. It really irrited me when I tried to buy a Tempur-Pedic pillow, and they wouldn’t give me a discount.

    However, I do have to give them credit for the fact that they (Bed Bath & Beyond) have always ignored the expiration dates on the coupons, so you can still use them even after they’re “expired” (at least at the stores I’ve been to).

  8. Papercutninja says:

    I thought that BB&B and L&T were owned by the same company? I’m usually pretty good at that sort of thing, figuring out which companies are in cahoots.

    etinterrapax is right about the whole Target thing. Why pay more at BB&B or L&T?

  9. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    I’ve never had a problem with coupon exclusions for LnT or Bed, Bath, and Beyonce. Just last night I used the LnT coupon to buy a Krups Coffee Grinder. The woman at the checkout mentioned that they’re not supposed to take the coupons, but they do.

  10. mrbenning says:

    If you haggle enough with a cashier they’ll generally accept the coupon. If not, wait a few hours and try with another cashier. Promotions change on a weekly basis at stores like BBB and L&T, so your bound to find someone that can’t keep up (or is so beaten down they’ve lost the will to fight back).

  11. Ishmael says:

    Why buy at LN&T? Because my mother-in-law is an employee. I take her 25% discount, plus any coupons that happen to be out at the time. I got a $250 Kitchen Aide mixer for $150.

    So there!

  12. AcidReign says:

    …..If you think LnT or BBnB are expensive, just check out Williams Sonoma.

  13. SecureLocation says:

    Macys and Best Buy and Cicuit City are all guilty of this with their coupons. The Macy’s coupons exclude just about everything but the junk nobody wants.

  14. Brian B says:

    I had a similar experience with Papa John’s Pizza over the weekend. They had an online special for a large with “unlimited toppings” for $11.99. When you went to the build-your-pizza page, “unlimited” became “unlimited*” with the asterisk indicating that your unlimited toppings were limited to a total of 5.

    When did things like 100% guaranteed, free, and unlimited become subject to asterisk-ification?

  15. Timbojones says:

    In the PJ’s case, unlimited means that no type of topping is excluded from the deal.

  16. Dustbunny says:

    Macy’s always excludes perfume, cosmetics and some designer stuff from their “everything on sale” ads, I guess because Chanel and Coach don’t want to be involved in something as crass as a “sale”. Actually…just about every business I can think of has some kind of fine print exclusions on their sale coupons.

  17. JMC says:

    Nobody can hold a candle to Macy’s on these things. Though they use term “throughout the store” in lieu of “everything”, they usually exclude things like “jewelry”, “housewares”, and “clothes”.

  18. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    Maybe consumers-as-consumers can stomach this stuff, but this consumer is a philosophy major and IT HURTS, GAHD IT HURTS, the agony the newspeak.

    Bill Gates save them if I ever get bored; I’m making a hobby out of calling the BBB to complain about exactly this crap. Using a word which has an explicit, obvious meaning and then using Mouseprint to change that meaning into something totally antithetical to the original meaning (i.e. from “everything” to “not everything”) is NOT COOL. Heads should roll. Do we not care about our children, and their ability to think and speak about simple concepts??

  19. DeeJayQueue says:

    I have to agree, it would have been just as easy to not type that on there, or to add “Almost” in front of “Everything” and it would have been fine.

  20. Dustbunny says:

    Hey, Mary Marsala — when you’re done with that particular crusade, can you do something about those annoying “Free Gift” ads? If it’s a gift, it’s free, dammit. Otherwise it’s not a gift! Gaaah!