Update: Went shopping today to spend my $40 off coupon. I did a fair amount of browsing but loitered close to the cashier to see how she handled the discount cards.
The first lady walks up with her little basket and the cashier rings her up and asks, “Do you have a scratch-off card?” The woman says no and the cashier hands her one and says, “You might as well try. You’ll get at least 40 cents off.” The woman scratches off the card and says, “10% off. Well, that’s nice.”
Second customer walks up with a card, hands it to the cashier with her basket and announces, “I have a buy one, get on free” coupon. Cashier takes the card, “oh, wonderful!” and proceeds to ring her up.
The next man doesn’t have a coupon and doesn’t want to scratch one off, thankyouverymuch.
The older gentleman in front of me in line looks in both pant pockets and finally his shirt pocket to find his discount card. He hands it to the cashier, who looks at it and rings him up. I have no idea how much it’s worth because she doesn’t announce it and I can’t see the display. He obviously had already scratched it off.
So, I think, cool, most people have already scratched theirs off so I should have no problem. I hand the cashier my basket and proceed to take out my card. While she is ringing up my dozen or so items, I place the card on the counter and scratch it again for good measure, just in case. She has no way of knowing that I had already scratched it off at home. She tells me the total ($64) and I hand her the card. She looks at it and frowns. She scratches it again to see if there is a decimal in front of the 4. Nope. She looks at my total ($64), looks at me, and you can tell that she is suspicious that I did exactly what I did. She calls for the manager to input a special code and says to me, nicely, “Ma’am, in the future, you’ll need to let one of us scratch off the cards as is written very plainly on the coupon.”
I raise my eyebrow and say, “I don’t think it says that.”
She points to the card and says, “It says it right here.”
I read aloud, “‘Scratch your game piece at the register.’ It doesn’t say a cashier has to do it.”
You can tell she wants to tell me that she knows I didn’t scratch it off for the first time at the counter. But how could possibly prove it? “Well, just know that next time a cashier should do it.”
Yeah, right. Let’s see them try to enforce the “just know” rule.
End result: she gave me the $40 off and I’m pretty convinced she would have honored it even had I not put on the charade that I scratched it off at the register. So I’m happy.
However, there’s still the issue that had she NOT honored it, could I have successfully pressed the point that she was inconsistent in how she treated the customers. The ones with insubstantial discounts were not made to follow the rules nor were they given a lecture about the rules. In fact, I witnessed her handing the first customer the card to scratch off herself. She didn’t scratch it off.
So while I’m definitely not looking for more lawsuits in this country, it does make me wonder how their marketing ploy would stand up in court. And would it matter if they cheerfully bent the rules for those with insignificant discounts and only enforced the rules on the significant ones.