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January 18, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Sears coupon

Sears_coupon_1Andrew Shieh submits a coupon from Sears:

I placed an order at, and received this message when the order was received:

"As a thank you for your purchase, we would like to offer you a $5 coupon to use on your next in store visit."

I looked at the coupon and read the details. First, it said $5 off of $25. Ok, that's not unreasonable.

Then I read the fine print, which read, "Savings [...] apply to merchandise only when you use your Sears Premier Card or Sears Premier Gold Mastercard."

This bait-and-switch tactic is broken. I did not use a Sears card to place my previous order, so this is a sneaky fine-print method to get unwitting customers to use the coupon and sign up for the Sears credit card.

It is broken to try to mislead your existing customer base.


and the list of exceptions seems to apply to pretty much everything you could possibly buy there.

Posted by: gmangw at January 18, 2006 12:16 AM

Can you use the coupon at K-Mart? I think both stores are related. Yes, they are. Bob Vila and Martha Stewart make a great couple, don't they?

Don't forget that you have the pleasure of Printing the Coupon yourself. Make sure you factor in the price of the ink and the sheet of paper, which comes to about $.30. So not only are you saving $4.70 but you can have fun printing just like the guy in the HP commercial.

I sure hope their credit card has a grace period. Otherwise it will cost you an additional $1-$2 just to make the purchase with their credit card.

Unless you don't have their credit card in which case you will have to apply for one. But then you will be able to save 10% on all purchases your first day with their card. But remember you probably can't combine offers.

Wow this whole shopping experience is BROKEN.

Posted by: Confused Shopper at January 18, 2006 12:36 AM

It's all a big ploy to get you to spend more money...just like membership warehouse.

Posted by: Cole Passannante at January 18, 2006 12:57 AM

Whether or not it is broken is kind of an individual decision in this case. Coupons come with terms and conditions; they always have. It does not change the fact that it is underhanded.

As someone who has tangled with Sears credit, I will tell you that they did (at least historically) have a grace period, but that they also have one of the highest interest rates I have ever seen on a store credit card, currently 24.15% as of my last statement.

Posted by: Glenn Lasher at January 18, 2006 06:44 AM

I really like the line "Not valid on Exceptional Values."

Posted by: john russell at January 18, 2006 09:40 AM

Good point, John Russell. I wonder what is considered an "Exceptional Value". Clearly not this coupon.

Posted by: Julie at January 18, 2006 09:51 AM

Ya gotta wonder at the marketing genius who came up with this. Anyone who reads the fine print won't bother using the coupon, 'cuz it's just too damn complicated. And anyone who doesn't read the fine print will just be frustrated when they try to use it. So how exactly does it drive up sales?

Posted by: E.T. at January 18, 2006 10:36 AM

I like how it says "One coupon per purchase." and then later "May not be used with any other coupon."

Posted by: kwinse at January 18, 2006 11:41 AM

Bring it into the store and ask for the 1/20 cent cash value.

Posted by: Dennis at January 18, 2006 12:33 PM

The scam here isn't so much to get you to sign up for their credit card... instead they want you to run to Sears, pick out that something you've been coveting, bring it to checkout, proudly present your coupon, and then when you find out that the coupon won't work, buy the thing anyway to reduce your cognitive dissonance.

Posted by: Alex B at January 18, 2006 12:46 PM

NOT BROKEN!!!- Just sleazy technique: coupons; rebates and refunds are sleazy sketchy scams.- Watch Out

Posted by: smartypants at January 18, 2006 12:49 PM

On the legalistic side I'm symathetic to smartypants' argument, but this website is about improving user or customer experience. On those grounds, this is broken.

At least credit card companies do, these days, have to tell you the rules. Advice to all: Use these kinds of discounts and other incentives to maximum advantage, and never get yourself suckered into long term high interest debt. If you use the teaser rates, you can take out loans at zero interest and make money on savings accounts or CDs, then pay the debt off or roll it over to another card when the teaser period expires.

Living with high interest credit card debt is like playing the lottery: a tax on the stupid.

Posted by: Pat at January 18, 2006 02:13 PM

I also see the bait-and-switch tactic continues with the fact that the coupon itself expired nearly 9 months ago.

Of course this could be an old pic that the submitter saved until now, but somehow I doubt that the pic was *this* old.

Posted by: Z at January 18, 2006 03:56 PM

Also broken is that Sears has not bothered to have the thing proofread.

Posted by: beckett at January 18, 2006 04:24 PM

How lucky we are that this tactic is illegal in Denmark. It makes shopping so much easier. And cheaper, too. Who always pays for printing the coupons in the first place? The customer - the source of all money in any purchase process... :-)

Posted by: Morten at January 19, 2006 04:46 AM

If you look beyond the red outline you will see that the entire first paragraph should be outlined; Bose, Henkels, and other brands won't honor a measly $5 coupon. Not broken, but damaged by deceit.

Posted by: BastardMike at January 19, 2006 09:05 PM

I'm the original poster. I received the coupon on 12/20/2005. Thanks for pointing out that the coupon had expired; I missed that!

I still shop at, and will continue to do so; I like their easy and fast method of shipping to local stores for pick-up of items that aren't in stock. However, I'll never click on any promotional link they ever send to me. They have lost the chance to market to a willing customer.


Posted by: Andrew Shieh at January 24, 2006 07:29 AM

I work at Sears and if you think this coupon is broken. Let me tell you why the whole company should probably just fold.

Posted by: Mike at February 1, 2006 03:54 PM

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