Accused of theft at the grocery!

not stealing and not a biggie… however, if you get in the 10-item express lane with a cart full of items we are gonna have words!

The manufacturer doesn’t put the coupon inside the box because they want you to see it and be motivated to buy the product (plus another, in this case). They don’t put it on the outside for you to take it off and buy something else.

I know you guys know this. Justify all you like, you know that you are supposed to buy the product to use the coupon.

Another vote for “If you don’t buy the box, you don’t get the coupon.”

Another vote for the coupon belonging to the buyer of the box.

Well, if you bought one with a coupon and one without, why would you have to take a coupon off a box you weren’t taking?

If you buy the product the coupon was attached to, then it’s ok. If not, then it seems wrong to me.

You don’t put these coupons inside the box because they are ‘use them now’ coupons.

If you buy the box, you are paying for the box and the product. You have no right to the bonus coupon, and if someone takes it first, then too bad.

If you simply must have one that has a coupon, then take one that hasn’t been gotten to by Otto yet.

And if there are none, and it’s not worth it to you without the coupon, don’t buy it. Simple as that.


The manufacturer didn’t put the coupons there for people to take as they please. (If they’d wanted to do that, they’d simply put a coupon dispenser up, as noted – lots cheaper than designing a box with a coupon.) They put it there to stimulate sales of the product that had the coupon on it. The whole damn point is they want you to buy that product, and the coupon is a little reward for doing so. The coupon does not belong to whoever grabs it first. Just because it’s possible to do something wrong doesn’t make it right.

It’s stealing, it’s selfish, it’s low, and I’m flabbergasted that people think it’s all right.

It never occurred to them? Do they live in Pollyanna Land? I’m pretty sure Boca knew exactly what they were doing. Either way, you are buying one of their products, so why is this such a big deal? The coupon is on the box of burgers, but it’s good for the sausages too… so if Boca minded very much their coupons being taken this way, why not just make it for the product on whose box its affixed? Honestly, I highly doubt that Boca has a problem with this. The other customer who buys the box of burgers that should have had a coupon in it but doesn’t, that person might be a bit peeved. Ultimately, not worth getting into a lather about.

If this is a quick-use coupon, then why are other products listed on the coupon that you can use with them? (This would only hold strictly true with single-item coupons, but since I’ve seen those also, I think it’s relevant.) Companies that intend out of box coupons to only be used on the box to which they’re attached would have to be more careful about that if they think this is a problem… which I doubt.

I don’t see why. If I want Boca burgers, I’m going to buy them without a coupon. After all, I didn’t KNOW there’d be a coupon on the box, but whoo hoo if there is one. Also, the person is buying another Boca product, so who gets hurt here? The burgers will sell at the same rate they did without the coupon, most likely. I don’t think the absence of a coupon would make someone not buy the box who wasn’t expecting a coupon to be there in the first place.

Not a valid comparison. The box of Boca burgers is not defective without a coupon. It is entirely intact and unchanged from how it would normally be. The coupon is a bonus, not something inherent to the product. A blouse without a button, however, is damaged. Different situation.

The bottom line is, would you go up to a stanger and bitch him out if you saw him doing this? No way. I ( and I’m sure all of us) see other people doing semi-sketchy things in the grocery store all the time. I wouldn’t get involved unless it were actually criminal, dangerous, or somehow actually my business.

What? Its easy to steal therefore its ok to steal?

Rubystreak said (among other things) “The bottom line is, would you go up to a stanger and bitch him out if you saw him doing this? No way. I ( and I’m sure all of us) see other people doing semi-sketchy things in the grocery store all the time. I wouldn’t get involved unless it were actually criminal, dangerous, or somehow actually my business.”

Of course I wouldn’t confront someone I saw taking a coupon that he or she was not entitled to. I would think less of them, but no, it is not worth confronting. That doesn’t make what he did right, though.

I don’t think the stores care, so I’m of the “it’s not a big deal” camp.

I really like Old Orchard grape juice. They make other flavors too. One day I was buying some and noticed that the apple juice and strawberry-kiwi had $1 off 2 coupons around their necks and the grape didn’t. I figured it was too bad, picked up my bottles of juice and was about to walk away when a manager in the asle took off one of the coupons and handed it to me, saying I must have missed it!

Yeah. Stores don’t care, so I don’t think I will either.

I’m curious about this line of reasoning. If the manufacturer intended the coupon to promote sales of the specific product to which it was attached, then why wouldn’t the manufacturer specify that product on the coupon itself? It’s just as easy to print up a coupon that says “60 cents off one box of Boca sausages” as it is to print one that says “$1.25 off the purchase of any two.” Or for that matter “1.25 off two bioxes of sausages,” if the goal is to promote the double sale.

Because there’s more appeal to a coupon good for any product rather than good only for one, especially when that one isn’t the most popular. The way you suggested could also work. I assume their marketing departments hashed it out, maybe trying both ways (perhaps in different markets) or consulting studies that might have been done on the practice.

Why is there any question about this? The coupon is supposed to be a reward for the person who buys the product they’re attached to, enabling them to get a discount on that or future purchases. They’re on the outside so that (1) you see them and are enticed to buy the product, and (2) you can use them at the register during that same trip to the grocery, rather than having to wait until next time. But they are absolutely the property of the person who buys the product they’re attached to, and taking them off without purchasing that product is stealing. Just because you’re virtually assured of getting away with it, doesn’t make it right.

Not implying that you, Otto, were saying it’s justified because you can get away with it. It sounds like you genuinely believed you were doing as the manufacturer intended. But I’ve certainly seen people in similar situations take an attitude that it’s the manufacturer or the store’s obligation to prevent them from doing what they already know is wrong.

Goodness, such vehemence. I’m not picking a fight and I never called for the oil to be heated so’s to give Otto a good boiling. On the cosmic ladder of eviltude I would rank filching a coupon about two steps above sticking one’s tongue out at one’s mother. I’m just reporting what I’ve been told.

First, why yes, they do live in Pollyanna Land (the lucky bastids). They ride their pink unicorns to work where they design a coupon promotion and reasonably expect most people not to take a coupon off a box that they do not intend to purchase. Please recall however, that I wrote some manufacturers do not intend for people to take the coupon, but are not suprised when it happens. We’re both correct, they don’t get in a lather about it, but it does result in some boxes being rejected. You might be a bit peeved and buy it anyway, others would pass that box over for another and avoid the product entirely if no intact box were available. In my first post I explained one reason why they don’t specify the exact product it can be used for, other posters have added reasons, as well.

One reason why they’d list other products on the coupon is that they’d like you to know what’s available, to increase the likelyhood you’ll seek them out for purchase. They’re the equivalent of an end cap display that way. After that part I get a bit lost in what you wrote.

Sure, you’re one of the customers they love, you’ll buy it regardless, because it’s practically a staple, and you’re laid back about a missing coupon. Other folks, not so much. Customers are strange, fickle creatures on ocassion and my friend has told me of times when a product wasn’t purchased because it was missing a coupon, or a half-penny bonus sticker or something. She had one man refuse a box of cereal, IIRC, because it had a little crease on the edge. The manufacturer loses whenever a missing coupon causes it not to be purchased, or delays it’s purchase. I know it sounds bizarre, I could hardly believe my friend when she’d tell me these things.

Actually it’s a perfectly valid comparison. Remember, there are those who won’t purchase the box without the coupon. They feel cheated of the coupon, don’t want one that’s obviously been handled, and so on. Now, as I wrote in my first post, having a box of food rejected because of a missing coupon isn’t as bad as a blouse without a button. Given enough time, they’ll probably sell, but they do end up being returned to the vendor or reduced in cost. My friend has complained about lugging boxes back to the warehouse often enough to convince me. Both a blouse without a button and a box without a coupon are viewed as damaged by many customers. People are fussy about food, especially frozen food.

I don’t believe that is the bottom line. Otto essentially asked whether we thought taking the coupon was okay to do or not. To answer your question though, no, I wouldn’t. I don’t bitch out anyone and I don’t confront strangers, it’s not my nature and it’s not my job. However, if it’s just snitching a coupon off a box, or eating a grape, of course I’d drop it. If it’s someone opening boxes to check for a particular prize or dropping cans so as to get the ‘dented’ price, I will report it to someone who works there. In the end, this is hardly relevant. Whether I’m willing to die to uphold my convictions doesn’t change whether my convictions are correct or not.

I wouldn’t. I just posted that so people had the exact details of the situation. How it shook out was Product A had the coupons good for money off the purchase of any two Boca products. I didn’t want product A. I wanted Product B and Product C. So I peeled off two coupons from Product A boxes and bought two of Product B and two of Product C. It seemed like some people were basing their opinions at least in part on the idea that the coupon was good for money off the purchase of just one item. Whether that ultimately will make a difference to anyone, we’ll see.

Didn’t take it that way at all, mostly because I don’t feel like I’m “getting away” with anything or that what I did was wrong. I’m not convinced of the wrongness of my actions based on what’s been said here. I get what people are saying, I just disagree with it.

If I understand the argument of some posters here, it’s okay to take these coupons because the manufacturer isn’t taking greater steps to prevent you from taking them. Have I got that right?

Suppose you’re car-shopping at a dealership. On a whim, you stick the key of your current car into the door lock of one of the cars on the lot. To your surprise, it opens. It turns out that your key works in the ignition, too; the car’s even got a full tank. Is it okay to drive off because the manufacturer didn’t do a better job of keeping you out of the car?

Sure, my hypothetical is scaled up ridiculously, but the principle is the same: you aren’t entitled to the goodie you walk off with simply because you had no trouble taking it.

That said, I’d probably steal the coupons if I were sufficiently strapped for cash. Or bored.

Those Boca people may well ride unicorns to work. Hippies. :stuck_out_tongue:

I actually want to ask my friend’s fiance, who stocks the natural foods section of the grocery store where I shop. I imagine the manufacturer probably intends to attract customers and probably doesn’t care which product they buy. Maybe they’re trying to boost the sales of the product with the coupon, but I am still skeptical that they’re against people using the coupons for other stuff. I am actually so curious that I e-mailed Boca to ask. They’re probably going to think I’m a big weirdo, and they’re probably not wrong.

Honestly, how likely is it that the burgers with the coupons removed will waste away and have to be gotten rid of? I imagine the coupons would go pretty quickly, and then, when there are no coupons anymore, all the products would revert back to its non-discount status. No one would reject the burgers that used to have coupons on them but don’t anymore if there aren’t any coupons left anywhere. I think frozen foods last long enough and turn over fast enough that no food would be wasted.

I don’t understand why taking a coupon off a box should be equated with damaging a product. It’s possible that the later customer wouldn’t even know there used to be a coupon there, so how would it even affect his decision to purchase? The product is undamaged, so I imagine if someone wants it, they’ll buy it whether or not it has a coupon on it. It’s not like the box was open, or crushed, or the food not good. This is why I don’t think it’s the same as a blouse without a button or a box that’s dented.

Why would it be obvious that it had been handled? Those coupons peel right off, leaving no marking on the box. No harm, no foul, IMO.

If Otto had taken four coupons off burger boxes when he was only buying one box, I agree that’d be selfish and not right. But he was using it to buy another Boca product, and didn’t damage the one that had the coupon originally.

If I actually receive a response from Boca in the near future, I’ll let you know what they say, and if you guys are right, I’ll be more than happy to admit it and change my thievin’ ways.