When the late, lamented Borders was around, we Borders Rewards members were used to getting an almost-weekly barrage of coupons. It was not unheard of to get 25, 30, even 40% off coupons, week after week.
In retrospect, that probably significantly contributed to the demise of Borders last year.
Barnes and Noble (hereby shortened to B&N for the rest of this article) are a little more miserly with their discount coupons. They come a lot less frequently, often are geared towards a small list of books on sale, and try and push you to their website to use the coupons. I don't like the B&N website. I kinda don't like their stuffy-looking stores either.
But they do one coupon that drives me absolutely bat-shit crazy. It's the one I got today, headlined as a "Surprise Savings to Make You Swoon," because you know, Valentine's Day is coming, and someone still thinks the love puns are timely and cute. (It even had little candy hearts on it.) This coupon offers a discount of up to 50%, but here's the catch...it can be anything from 15% through 20%, 30%, or 50%. But you don't find out until you check out.
If I get a 50% discount, I'm going to buy a much-higher ticket item, like that $35 book I've had my eye on since before the holidays. When you add in my 10% member discount, that $35 book is now only $14.00 or so. If it's 15%, it's $26.25. So in order for me to maximize my savings, I have to schlep up to the checkout counter with a stack of books I want and have the cashier figure out what the discount is and then decide which book to buy based on said discount. The one time I just took the coupon up to the cashier and asked what the discount was, her head--and the cash register--almost exploded from the mental gymnastics required to figure this out without a book being present.
So Mr. Barnes or Mr. Noble--whichever of you actually reads blog posts by disgruntled, cheap bastards like myself, who are unable to look a gift horse in the mouth and just take the damn discount as offered--please stop doing this. Just send me a coupon where the discount amount is clearly readable and stop making us play Coupon Roulette with books and your cashiers. I am grateful for the discount. Just stop making it so damn difficult to figure out what to buy.