Sunday, July 09, 2006

Meijer - higher Standards?

How many are getting tired of bait and switch tactics by stores? Meijer’s on Lima Road repeatedly uses misleading store advertisements. On July 1, 2006 I was in shopping and saw they had a sale on 7-up products. Meijer’s uses a “yellow” colored sign to highlight a sale item. I look for these “yellow” colored advertisements. This particular one advertised a 12 pack of 7-up products was $2.00 save 98 cents.

I looked carefully for any clarifications (small print) such as limits and found none. My son even read the large yellow sign and saw nothing mentioned about a limit. I proceeded to place six 12-packs in my cart. At the check out the first five rang up at $2.00 each and the second rang up at $2.98. No some may call this picky on my part, but I feel a seller should clearly identify the price of their products they are selling. I do not like wasting my time or theirs in having to return items I find later were “overcharged.”

Meijer’s has now pulled a new one. On 7-7-2006 they advertised that if you spent $25 on P&G (Proctor & Gamble products) you would receive a coupon good for $5.00 off Meijer’s gas. If you spent $50 on P&G products you would receive a coupon for $10 off Meijer’s gas. Saving 20% basically on a product normally catches my attention. The only hitch was the P&G items were hard to find and which ones were they? Meijer’s had promotional signs up, but the location and which products one had to purchase were unknown to me. I went to the service desk to find out exactly which products were included.

The service desk directed me to the last page of the Meijer’s flier. I generally do not look at this because it is too busy and the print is too small. I tend to just go trhough the aisles looking for their "yellow" sales signs. On the back page listed items covered and additional savings. Because this included products I do not use, but my wife does, I was going to need help. My wife pulled out $11 worth of coupons for the products listed. Fantastic, P&G was going to contribute $11 to buy their products using coupons. I went through, filled my cart, paid special attention to container size and/or quantity and filled the cart. I dutifully pocketed a coupon when I put the item in the cart. I kept track of my total bill throwing in a few extra boxes of Puffs Tissues, which were a good buy just to make sure I was over the $50 threshold. At the register total P&G products before tax was $53.24 and after in-store savings. The register showed I saved $5.39 with in-store savings. In simple terms Meijer’s had valued the P&G products in my cart at $58.63 before taxes and in-store savings. Any way you slice it, dice it or cut it, Meijer’s showed I had $53.24 worth of P&G products.

I was feeling pretty good, get $10 off Gas and now I was going to save more. I handed my coupons to the cashier who scanned them. P&G was going to pay $10.00 of my bill. In addition Meijer’s doubled three of my coupons and was contributing $1.00 towards my $53.24 before sales tax bill. Meijer’s showed on my cash register receipt that Indiana sales tax was $3.13. The sales tax is 6% which means Meijer’s was reporting a total sale of $52.24. Total bill was $56.37. The sales tax was applied to coupons, but not the Meijer’s $1.00 contribution. Clearly Meijer’s was going to report to the State of Indian my total bill before tax was $52.24.

Here I thought I would now be eligible for a $10.00 off Meijer gas coupon, but what printed out was a $5.00 off Meijer gas coupon. I went to the service desk and asked why this sale only printed out a $5 off Meijer gas coupon. The answer was I did not buy over $50 worth of P&G products, but only $42.24. If I had only bought $42.24 worth of P$G products, why did I pay $3.13 in sales tax and not $2.53?

Proctor and Gamble on the back of their coupons state clearly that the merchant accepting the coupon will be reimbursed the full price plus a handling fee for accepting the coupon. Rather like a check. When I write a check and the store accepts it, the bank reimburses the store the full amount of the check. Does anyone think this means the bank paid the bill? Coupons are payment in kind, good for the face amount if used in accordance with the terms. In some cases companies will send you a free coupon to replace a bad product you bought previously (a refund). Meijer’s practice of subtracting coupons from the total in this case in my opinion is Bait and Switch. They bait you with a nice advertisement and then switch the terms to their choosing without informing the customer.

Meijer’s service desk hand wrote me a $5 off gas coupon, stamped it with the store seal and said to present it to the Meijer’s gas station. I went to fill up at the Illinois road station ($2.98) on the way back from a wedding and they would not take it. They said I had to use it at the Lima Road station ($3.06). But it does not end here. The coupon that was printed out says one must buy a minimum of 8 gallons of gas. The Meijer flier and advertisement within the Lima Road store never stated anything about buying 8 gallons of gas.

Meijer’s could have easily said Spend $50 or more on P&G products after coupons and receive $10 off Meijer gas with the purchase of 8 gallons or more. Would it have been that difficult?


At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Bobett said...

One of the best places to shop for
staples, fresh produce and good buys is at Aldi's. It seems to be a
well kept secret. It's called power shopping with out buying bulk. And their food includes,
name brands, gourmet types of staples, great produce, meats and feature buys at a huge savings over the major market chains. Just remember to bring a quarter to get your shopping cart
(it's reinbursed after you return the at the airports) and bring your own bags. There is a 10ct. charge for bags but they are qualitly shopping bags over the typical marts.

Shopping at Aldi's is like getting everything you need at 1/2 the cost
without the hipe.

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Bobett said...

No Hype at Aldi's...

At 10:53 AM, Blogger William Larsen said...

bobett I too shop at Aldi's. They have good prices on lettuce, string cheese, yogurt, onions just to name a few. I have also come across one-time sales where they have a product from Kraft that is half the price of Meijer's. When this happens I "stock-up."

This week Meijer's has the gimmick that if you buy $25 worth of general merchandise you will get $5.00 off your next gas purchase. Of course Meijer's may have conditions that is not stated in their add, so buyer beware.


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