Staple this to your earlobe!

Version 2

I had to buy printer paper so I went to Staples. Four reams of normal printer paper was $21.39, including tax. A $15 “Easy Rebate” was offered to those who would fill out a form online. The form asked for my “Easy Rebate ID,” which would be found on the paper “Rebate Redemption Form” that came with my receipt. The Easy Rebate ID was nowhere to be found. But could it be:

  • The Rebate Offer Number: 17-23964?
  • The Staples Promotion Number: 17-23964?
  • The Rewards Number: 3494461134?
  • Or, under the bar code, 00030918178876102?

Silly me, I called them up. After a wait, a young woman answered, who after several minutes of consultation, and after assuring me that it was definitely not the Staples Promotion Number, informed me that it was the Rebate Offer Number (which was the same as the Staples Promotion Number). I went back to the form on my screen and typed it in, but was told to “Please enter a valid 17 digit easy rebate ID.” Huh? Well, I decided to count the digits in the number under the bar code. Lo and behold, 0030918178876102 has how many digits? Seventeen! So I typed that in. It worked. I am now assured that I will get my Easy Staples Rebate in only 4-6 weeks.

Four to six weeks! That’s almost as long as it takes to get the first issue of a magazine subscription! Doesn’t anyone realize that we live in the Computer Age? Can’t wait for the self-driving automobile!

But what about the inability of Staples to label the number under the bar code Easy Rebate ID? Was this accidental or on purpose? Evil or merely stupid? Which is worse? I don’t know, but I will have to be satisfied with an insipidity of revenge: On the form I had unchecked the “Please Send Me Emails for Junk I Don’t Want” box. Ha!

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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10 Responses to Staple this to your earlobe!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Overheard from a Staples’ employee: Paper? Doesn’t anyone realize we live in the Computer Age? 🙂

    Like

  2. I was there! I bought the paper! I did the rebate! Sitting at my kitchen table, saying to myself, c’mon, Nancy, you are a smart person, why can’t you figure this out….I was determined to do it and finally did – OMG…make it difficult enough and you toss away the multiple receipts and say …. ..

    Like

  3. A Subscriber says:

    Plausible deniability. Staples exists to take your money, not to make it easy for you to get any of it back – but their gesture sure looks and sounds good, though, doesn’t it? A few determined folks like you will persevere, but most will give up. That’s how it works for them.

    Like

  4. William S. Kling says:

    So true. I’m only a recent reluctant user of online anything. Even in-store little of the supposed tech revolution makes things easier. I am a big fan of CVS because their Extrabucks system ALWAYS works, even with my antique (2002) loyalty card. And I don’t have to keep track of points, like RiteAid or Walgreens; your free stuff and free money appears automatically, printed out on your receipt when you have earned it. The only other site I have used that is seamless is B&H Audio/Video. Even in-store, Staples has had an employee go on the big touchscreen with the codes and printed copies of offers, and have to call for a supervisor because Hal said “I can’t open that door”. But what can we do, the chance for revolution has been co-opted by the shareholders who don’t have these problems- they can just call the CEO directly. Thanks again for Lost Providence, it made a great b’day gift for my brother, and his wife also likes it! Buddy

    Like

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