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Macy’s coupon fine print proves how not to offer a discount

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Macy’s shows other businesses how not to offer a coupon, in offering fine print so complex, one would think there is literally no reason they would be allowed to use a simple coupon. Not good.

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Macy’s coupon fine print is painful

Every coupon has fine print. You can’t use it on big ticket items, you can’t use it after a certain date, you can’t combine it with another offer, and other standard restrictions that coupon users are accustomed to. But Macy’s ran a coupon some time back that serves as a fine example for other businesses of what not to do.

For using the coupon, Macy’s users are rewarded with a lovely $10 off one purchase of $25 off or more, which is great, until you read the fine print highlighted on The Consumerist today. The coupon is not new, nor is the idea that there are exclusions, but for any professional considering running a coupon, read on to learn how to tick off your consumers.

macy's coupon

Here’s the fine print:

Set aside for a moment that the coupon cannot be used from a smartphone and that shoppers must print the coupon at home as it is not available in the store, and set aside that it is only good for two days before 1:00pm only, and focus on what all you may not use the coupon for:

“VALID ON REGULAR, SALE & CLEARANCE PRICES IN STORE ONLY. COUPON CAN ONLY BE USED ONCE AND IS LIMITED TO ONE PER CUSTOMER. COUPON IS NOT VALID ON MORNING SPECIALS AND MUST BE SURRENDERED AT TIME OF PURCHASE.

*Valid Friday and Saturday, September 7 and 8, 2007 until 1pm only. Cannot be combined with any savings pass, extra discount, or credit offer, except opening a new Macy’s account. Excludes Prior Purchases; Special Orders; Specials; Super Buys; Everyday Values; Cosmetics; Fragrances; Watches; Sunglasses; Optical; American Rag; I.N.C; Levi’s; Dockers; Lauren; Ralph Lauren; Michael Kors Shoes and Handbags; Coach; Dooney & Bourke; Juicy Couture Shoes, Handbags and Accessories; Cole Haan; Bridge and Designer Shoes and Handbags; Designer Intimate Apparel; DKNY, Material London, Buffalo, Hugo Boss, Claiborne, Nautica, Perry Ellis and Tasso Elba Men; Polo, Guess, Kenneth Cole, and Lacoste Men and Kids; Tommy Hilfiger Shoes, Men and Home; Tommy Bahama and Calvin Klein Men and Home; Kate Spade; Vera Wang; Martha Stewart Collection; Bedding by Barbara Barry; Michael Kors and Natori; Waterford; Baccarat; Lalique; China Dinnerware and Gifts; Regularprice Crystal and Silver; Westhof; All-Clad; Henckels; Electrics and Electronics; Holiday Lane Trim; Furniture; Area Rugs; Mattresses; Lease Departments; Gift Registry Kiosks; Restaurants; Macy’s Gift Cards; Gift Wrap; Services; Payment on Macy’s Credit Account; macysweddingchannel.com and macys.com.

Macy’s employees not eligible for Fine Jewelry extra discount.”

Forget about it

While there are not reports of Macy’s running fine print this ridiculous since, it restricted shoppers from buying, well, basically anything in the store. It would have been easier to say “Get $10 off full priced fine jewelry when you spend $25 or more on a single item,” or naming what shoppers can use a coupon for.

Customer service is about serving customers, and fine print may be standard in some industries, but a $10 coupon should never be complex. Businesses should only offer fine print on complex contracts, but here is the math we propose: one dollar per second is all it should take, so if you’re offering $10 off, it should take no more than 10 seconds to read a coupon from start to finish.

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