Gift Certificate Success

As you may recall, I enjoy discussing gift certificates and what a good deal they are for the store. I wanted to share with you my recent success at cheating a store out of it’s expected monetary return.

Earlier this week I walked into Home Depot with my partner and we had a $100 gift certificate to spend.  We had been creating a list of items that we needed so we purchased nothing that was unplanned.  I kept a rough running total in my head as we went, so I expected to be $105-110 total.  We rang up at $99.59.  I was thrilled.  Probably inappropriately thrilled. It was a crowning achievement in my books.

My euphoria was lessened slightly when I asked if we could cash out the remaining 41 cents  of the gift certificate.  I was thinking even if it wasn’t standard policy (as it would be in CA) the checker might be kind. (It was only 41 cents for heaven sake)  I was mistaken.  The checker actually laughed at me for suggesting such a ridiculous statement.  I feel as though I’ve been abused for my beliefs in financial logic.  I threw out the card with its remaining 41 cents.  As a friend told me, “It rounds down to 0%.”

My second, and even more glorious achievement was at HOM Furniture.  They sent me a $20 off any single item coupon in the mail.  They did this (I’m sure) because I recently purchased a new bed and couch on an interest free loan deal for my new apartment.  They thought, “How could we go wrong with this customer? She is already in debt to us.”  Boy did I show them!  I found one of the 5 items in the store that cost less than $20.  An item so inexpensive they don’t even list it on their website. I found a lovely little clock for our newly decorated living room.  I placed my $19.99 clock to the desk to purchase.  It will cost $21.37.  I place my $20 off coupon on the counter- fully expecting the cashier to inform me I can’t use it on such an inexpensive item.  She punches the coupon into the computer and because I only get taxed on what I pay; I now owe exactly $0.00 for my new clock. Pull out the confetti!  Free money!  Living on a student salary isn’t so hard if money keeps falling from the sky!

About Samantha from SocialMath

Applied Mathematician and writer of
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2 Responses to Gift Certificate Success

  1. I expect you have discovered two of the many instances where the people (homo sapiens sapiens) have been converted to merely interfaces between the customer and the computer. I imagine in both cases, the checkout person only does what the computer allows. In the first case, there is probably no way to request a refund of the gift card balance (though we know the function has added in California), and in the second case, the coupon is scanned and whatever the computer decides is the outcome. Some programmer, possibly living in India, could have refunded you the penny on your coupon, but …

  2. Pingback: They did it again! « Social Mathematics

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