How do you define friends and family? Well family, that can be defined by blood if it must be, at least for retailers’ purposes. But what about friends? While some consumers have come to interpret “Friends and Family” discounts as basically “pretty much anyone who finds this coupon and wants to buy stuff from us,” that is definitely not the case at baby product peddlers Aden + Anais.
Consumerist reader Sarah writes in that she’s a member of an online moms group where one of her fellow moms posted a friends and family promotion code to get 50% off a full order. Of course, that’s a great deal, so plenty of people placed orders using the code, and the customers were happy.
Until this morning, Sarah says, when A+A sent an email to those who’d ordered with the code saying the orders had been canceled. That’s not what Sarah has a beef with, she explains — it’s the air of the letter that she says she finds “pretty damn insulting.”
To Whom It May Concern:
It has come to our attention that someone has stolen our internal friends and family discount code and blasted it to thousands of people. This code is not a public discount and is intended only for aden + anais employees and internal use. Overnight, hundreds of orders have come through using this code. We will not be honoring the inappropriate use of the discount by non-internal members as it is unfair to our loyal retailers and the millions of customers that are happy to pay full price for our products.
We will be issuing a refund to anyone who has used the discount without written approval from an aden + anais employee. Please know we are actively looking for the person who stole and leaked the code and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.
While we’re not particularly peeved by the email, it does beg the question of what friends and family actually means to retailers — do they want their customers to feel like friends and family, or should it really be viewed as a literal definition of only people who are actually friends and family?
While A+A seems to take the latter view, it should definitely have made that clear before upsetting customers.
On the other side of the argument, my colleague Laura Northrup forwarded me an on-topic email from another retailer with a friends discount, although she is not, in fact, friends nor family with anyone employed at the company.
How should we view friends and family discounts?