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Frugal Friday Week 47

The week in which I mention my very odd interaction with Staples. It all started with this coupon. Wait. It all started with a new TI calculator. High School students I’ve been working with are using a pretty high end TI calculator, either the TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator or the newer nSpire CX. These bad boys cost $120 or $150 respectively. My issue wasn’t that I need the calculator to solve any problems, after all, these things weren’t invented when I was a kid, but rather, knowing how to use them to help the students with questions they are solving on the calculators. So, a couple weeks back I decided I’d like to pick up the higher level model. It was just a matter of finding it on sale or a used one on eBay. Then this coupon appeared in my inbox.


The question was, what is an “Office Supply”? The coupon listed things that weren’t permitted, no Apple or Bose products, for instance. No ‘technology’ either. Hmm. So I hop on to a chat with customer service. I write the coupon code and specifically ask what technology is, was a calculator excluded? No computers, laptops, netbooks, etc. The agent said ‘yes’ you can use this on a calculator, that’s not considered technology. Print that chat transcript. I then check for stock, and since there’s a Staples 5-6 miles away in every direction, I pick one and reserve a calculator. Nice process.

But. I get to the store, wait on line as there was one line for register and customer service/pickup. I get to the front and the cashier has to call the reservation guy. He says they had none in stock, despite what the web site told me, but he’ll order me one. He doesn’t like the coupon, but after seeing the chat transcript, he processes the paperwork to order it. But I have to go to the register to pay. Meaning I have to wait on line a second time. But when I say this out loud, the line parts like the Red Sea and says I should go ahead. Very nice of them, really. Now at the register, the coupon is still a problem, and I ask what items it was actually intended for? Even paper is excluded. I then show the cashier my chat transcript, and he overrides the system. $150 calculator is now $90. I like the idea of waiting at least a week for each $100 you plan to spend. So when I saw this calculator, I read the manual online, and thought about how much use I’d get from it, I then planned to wait 2 weeks to make the purchase.

I have to say, Staples made good on their mistake. That fine print is just a bit much.

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