Deal or No Deal?

Scott McEachern |

Last night my wife and I were strolling the mall – developing photos before Blacks closes forever, checking out new cellphone plan options, and grabbing some dinner. We realized that we had a gift card from Bath and Body Works from Christmas that we’d yet to spend (because we hadn’t run out of hand soap yet!) So we decided to go in and have a look around.

When we walked in, we were politely greeted by an employee and handed a coupon. Everyone loves coupons!! There was a big “$10 OFF” in the middle of coupon. I quickly thought “Hey, we’re planning on spending $10, so this purchase will be free!” or at least that’s what I would have thought if I didn’t have a background in Marketing. I knew there had to be more, so I read the small print and sure enough you have to spend $30 to get “$10 OFF”. That’s still not a bad deal, right? Let’s do some quick math and present it in a pretty table below:

Intention to Spend $10 $30 $50
To Take Advantage of Coupon $30 $30 $30
Coupon Deal -$10 -$10 -$10
Actual Expense $20 $20 $40
Deal or No Deal? No Deal! Deal! Deal!


It’s not too complicated. As you can see, the coupon is actually a deal, but only if you intended on spending $30 before you actually knew the coupon existed. Otherwise, you’re probably spending MORE money just so you can take advantage of the coupon. Coupons have their place and anyone living on a budget knows the value they have, but don’t get drawn in to the marketing campaign of actually spending more money just to “save” money, because in the end, you’re still spending more money than you planned and in that case, it’s a NO DEAL!

PS. I’m not sure how effective the whole “wash your mouth out with soap” would be these days, but I know we’ll be washing our hands lots to enjoy our new Boardwalk Vanilla Cone (Ice Cream) scented soap!