Friday, July 13, 2012

Disappointing Staples Teacher Deals

Now that we are in July, stores are beginning to have their "Back to School" deals and sales. Last year I was able to score on a bunch of school supplies at Staples. This was awesome because as a teacher, we usually have to get creative on ways to stock up on school supplies. Especially with budget cuts and the needs of the classroom changing. Not all families have the means to purchase the  amount of supplies needed each year for their child in the classroom.

In 2011, Staples allowed teachers to increase the limit to 25 on any Extreme Deals that were posted in their Weekly Ads. The savings were directly at the counter when making the purchase. This was awesome. Click here to see what I was able to score last year.

However, this year Staples Extreme Deals policy has changed for teachers. (Sad day!) Teachers are allowed to increase the Extreme Deals limit to 25 but with new rules in place:

**Note - the following is my understanding as a customer who is part of the Teacher Staples Rewards Program. Please check your local Ad and store for information**

1. You need to have a Staples Rewards card with your card being listed as a teacher (as opposed to personal or business).

2. Teachers can purchase 2 items under the Extreme Deals and 23 items at regular price.

3.The 23 items extended limits will be issued as Staples Rewards at the end of the month.

2011 = 75 items = 75 cents with minimum purchase of $5 = $5.75 at register

2012 = 2 items at 0.01 each + 23 items at 1.99 each = $45.79 at register
I purchased the $10 Savings Pass which takes off 15% of every purchase ($6.90) = $38.89 at register

This is the email I received in May from Staples.
Really Staples? This doesn't make going back to school a lot easier for teachers.

This means that I am having to front a lot of the cost to get back a certificate to spend even more money in the store.  According to Staples, I will get the rewards back 100% for the extended limit items. The rewards should come in email at the beginning of August.

I have to spend more money to get any future Staples Extreme Deals back in rewards, which will also come in an email at the beginning of August. Upon further reading it is also my understanding that the rewards will be issued for an entire month as one reward total. Once redeemed, you get a one time coupon for the remaining balance. You must spend the entire balance on the next redemption or the balance is forfeited.

Something else that is not clear to me is that it states up to 25 items. Does this mean 25 total items or 25 items per Extreme Deal?

The Extreme Deals for the week of 7/15 in my area are 1 cent Avery Dividers, 1 cent 8 1/2 X 11 Notepads, and $1 Avery 1" Binders.

Dividers are regularly $1.49 x 23 items = $34.27 up front with an expected $34 in rewards
Notepads are regularly $1.49 x 23 items = $34. 27 up front with an expected $34 in rewards
Binders are regularly $2.99 x 23 items = $68. 77 up front with an expected $45 in rewards

I really don't know many teachers that can pay that upfront with the possibility of getting the money back in rewards to spend at a later date in store.

Last year, Staples was my favorite school supply shopping destination. I was so excited to stock up my room and I can't even begin to tell you how much those supplies helped throughout the year. I understand their policy change probably had to do with the crazy amount of savings teachers were able to get in store and yada yada about cost. Now teachers have to spend more upfront, then come back to spend more in store to get the deals. If they don't use the deals within 3 months they expire.

This afternoon I started to google information about this new Extreme Deal Policy and here are some interesting links I found! - Keep the 2011 Extreme Deals Policy

Staples, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

I know I should be grateful that a company is giving such awesome deals to teachers. Truly, it is awesome. However if you are going to offer deals for teachers, make it in a way that teachers can actually benefit from the deal. Most teachers I know aren't going to participate this year in the Extreme Deals due to the new policy. It's just not budget friendly.

Rather than this new policy, Staples should have changed the price or the limit for teachers to still provide a great deal. Even if the Extreme Deals were 10 cents orr 25 cents at the register or with a limit of 15, it would have been awesome!

I haven't decided if I will use the 25 extended limit on any other Extreme Deals this summer. I may just stick to the general customer limit of 2 items. There is no way I can spend $100 on supplies each week in hopes to receive a rewards to spend even more in August.

Looks like Walmart and Target may be getting more of my business this year for school supply shopping!

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