Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pulling Out The Staples

It's one of those seemingly minor things that the majority of people don't give a second thought to, and don't complain about. Not complaining about consumer issues is not a good thing.

For the past few years, Staples has been among office supply sources offering a credit for returning finished printer cartridges to their stores to be recycled. Just a few weeks back, I got a $6.00 credit for bringing in three of my recently used cartridges.

Last week, I was going in to Staples for something unrelated, and, of course, used the opportunity to bring in two finished cartridges. When I handed them over, I was then told that "the program has been changed". The rep said something about how much I need to buy over a period of time, and told that I would not receiving any credit for these. Sure enough, my receipt showed "$0.00" for my returning the cartridges.

It is true that a $4.00 credit isn't worth this time time to deal with. But that isn't the point. Staples had been giving these credits for a few years (that I know of). If they were giving away "too many" of these credits, it really meant that they had a successful promotion to guarantee return business. If they weren't giving away very many of these credits, there shouldn't have been any reason to mess around with this promotion. This was not something they only did on a limited basis.

However, this action hurts them more than it hurts me. I can simply start throwing out my finished printer cartridges, and not have a reason that in the past would get me to go specifically to Staples. For years, I would often go there even though their nearest location to both my home and business is further than a couple of their remaining competitors.

This is nowhere near as strange as when OfficeMax did away with their Perks program a few years ago and took away a huge reason for frequent shopping there. And it wasn't long after that when that company's problems began.

While it's true that these businesses don't have to provide regular customers with additional benefits, taking them away is another story.

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