Walgreens, it’s great that you’re trying to encourage sales of your “Nice!” house brand by giving away free coordinating stuff with, say, a bottle of dish soap. It’s the part where you’re underestimating their intelligence that’s kind of bad. For example, charging an extra 60 cents, then saying that something is on “sale” and comes with free stuff.
Jared is a regular Papa John’s customer, but please don’t judge him for that. He ordered a pizza online, and the driver got terribly lost. As an apology, they sent him a coupon for a free pizza that was more of a free* pizza. For no immediately clear reason, the coupon code made the pizza cost $1.29. [More]
It was probably a glitch and not a nefarious plot on Dell’s part, but Chris found it odd when he tried to take advantage of Microsoft’s back-to-school promo where a free Xbox comes with certain Windows laptops. Dell’s site kept showing that adding on the free Xbox promo made his total $100 higher than with just the computer. Huh?
This year instead of a free burrito, showing up to Chipotle on All Hallow’s Eve wrapped in tin foil will only score you a discounted $2 burrito. “It cost us a fortune,” Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer told Advertising Age. “And it wasn’t doing a whole heck of a lot for me from a marketing perspective.” Expensive + ineffectual, seems a good reason to stop doing something.
Todd writes that after he paid for his sub at a local pizza/sandwich shop, the helpful counter person asked him, “Would you like a drink while you wait?” Assuming that she was offering him a beverage while he waited for his sub to be made, Todd accepted. Except the drink wasn’t complimentary.
Kayce writes that back in June, she saw an offer online from beauty retailer Sephora promising a free manicure to promote the launch of a new nail decal. She hadn’t seen anything that claimed any kind of purchase was required, and was confused when she learned that the “free” manicure required a $15 purchase.
The Ohio Public Utilities Commission has announced that they are asking FirstEnergy, the utlility company that was going to force its customers to pay $10.80 per light bulb as part of an energy-saving program, to delay the implementation of said program until they can figure out what the %#$& was going on.
Hey, who doesn’t like to get free stuff from the power company? So it’s awfully nice of Ohio utility FirstEnergy to deliver compact fluorescent bulbs to their customers’ homes. Except for the part where the bulbs aren’t free, and customers are being forced to pay nearly five times the retail price of the bulbs.
Regular Consumerist readers are familiar with our exposure of Target’s absurdist pricing policies, and this is a particularly confusing example. Reader Rob in Minnesota noticed a nice promotion on a 3-pack of Brita water filters, which came with a free small Nalgene water bottle and a few packets of drink mix. Nice deal, but he couldn’t help noticing that the identical 3-pack of filters without the “free” water bottle cost $1.50 less. See a bigger picture and a twist to the story, inside.
There is no such thing, dear readers, as a free computer. Particularly, Ray learned recently, in the case of Verizon’s “triple play” promotion for new FiOs users, where one of the options is a “free” netbook. Sure, you never expect “free” items to be completely free, but his situation is even more complicated than that.
Someone needs to explain to Stonyfield Farm that free usually means that you don’t have to pay any money for the item in question. Especially in a case like this, where you’re already having to send in multiple proofs of purchase to prove you’ve “earned” the “free” item. What you find when you peel back the foil lid is some fine print that explains you also have to pay $2 for this free offer. SLR, who sent in this tip, adds, “I wrote to them via their web site asking what part of free don’t they understand, but received no reply.”