Thursday, December 3, 2009

Staple's Joining the Darkside?

I had long considered Staples to be one of the more reputable stores when it came to salesmanship. Now it appears that Staples may be dipping its toes into disingenuous business practices similar to Intuit, Verizon, and PayPal.

Recently, I went in to Staples buy some printer ink and was greeted by a variety of large colorful "sale" signs. Get $3 back they touted for recycling your old ink cartridges and 10% off the purchase of a new ink cartridge they screamed. Good news!

When I got home, I had the chance to finally sit down and read the terms and conditions of the "sale". See below.

It quickly dawned on me that this "sale" was illusionary. It required that I "earn" a minimum of $10 in reward points in a quarter. Failing to meet that goal meant that I would loose the money that I was supposedly saving from the "sale". Since I don't have much reason to buy lots and lots of stuff from Staples, the supposed savings from the "sale" price were a fallacy. I returned the items to Staples and bought the same items from at a cheaper price.

While I am at it, I might as well mention an article that appeared on TechDirt: "Yes, We Can Write Our Opinions Without Contacting The Company We're Writing About First". While this TechDirt article does not deal with the topic at hand, it does contains links to how companies are scamming their customers. One particular link leads to an article by Michael Arrington: "Video Professor Tries To Bully Washington Post, Fails". Additionally, Jim Harper wrote about shady business practices in: "The Negative Feedback Loop Begins". While Staples has not yet descended to these levels, the fact that Staples is toying with misleading sales points to possible continued future use of deceptive business practices. Our Country is on a slow agonizing downhill slide.

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