Well, the field report on these coupons is mixed. I traveled to the four K-marts that remain in the SF Bay Area. If these K-marts were any farther away from where I live, they would count as taking a vacation. Seriously, I'm fortunate that they only require a total round trip of 50 miles in an afternoon.
Armed with four coupons for $5 off, I set out to buy some Mattel products. Let's recap the action:
Store #1--Redwood City. I start off well; there are three 10" purple box JLU Figures (Cloth Cape Aquaman and Batman, plus Superman). I bring all three to the register with the coupon; it won't scan. The register readout for the coupon indicates that the total does not match the previous item. The clerk and I are confused by this. This is a $20 Mattel toy purchase, and the coupon should work. The clerk runs off to check with the supervisor, and comes back with the correct key combination to make it work. The receipt reads "NFS MFR Coupon."
Store #2--San Mateo. Five 2007 purple 10" Figures (A JLords Superman, 2 JLords Flash, Cloth Cape Batman and Superman). I take the cloth caped figures with coupon to the registers. The coupon fails to discount after scanning. This time the supervisor comes over; she looks like she has seen her share of big-box store hooligans, tomfoolery and balderdash. "I'll have to check on this. It doesn't say K-Mart.com on it." I pull out my ace, the previous K-Mart receipt. "Will this help?" It barely works this time as the supervisor grudgingly accepts the coupon while suggesting that this is breaking the rules somehow. The trend is not encouraging.
Dinner break near Talbot's
, a locally-owned toy store in San Mateo where I bought my first bike and the G.I. Joe Bridgelayer vehicle. Hey! They have 10" Purple boxes for $1 less than K-Mart. I buy three to support the fine, friendly folks there.
Store #3--Hayward. Snark jackpot! Two yellow-box 10" Atoms on the shelf; I take them to the register with the coupon. It scans, but the error code comes up again. I ask the clerk what that means; she thinks that it means I have to buy an item that is listed on the logos at the bottom of the coupon: Hot Wheels, Barbie, Fisher-Price, etc. I skip the discussion of the word "any" on the coupon (that topic is better left to the AFI Boards) and head back to the toy department to test the theory.
I bring back a ShadowTek Batmobile and a Hot Wheels monster truck. I state to the cashier, "Let's conduct an experiment. I don't want to buy these items, but, let's scan the coupon and see if it works." "I can't do that." (no offer to check with supervisor) I flip to super polite mode to avoid yelling and throttling. I'll just take the Atoms and these Hot Wheel Track packs, please. She rings them up and asks to try the coupon on the Hot Wheels; it fails again. I very politely ask for the coupon back. I get it and leave with the figures. Good customer service, Keyshia G.
The sting of rejection is reduced when I see that the Hot Wheel track packs were 70 cents each! 50 feet of track for $3.50. I plan to launch a Hot Wheels car from my roof into my neighbor's chimney. Or make a JLU scale waterslide park.
Store #4--San Leandro. The soothing balm of the familiar sight of six yellow box 10" Green Arrows, but I already have a bundle of them from the $1.48 Target clearance. I search the toy aisle for 4" figures, after searching all of the yellow carded Zatanna and Steel three-packs, I see that they have two completely full pegs of purple single-carded figures with one Flash and one Wonder Woman on the shelf. The score is the Blue Devil that has fallen behind the other toys below.
I ask the toy department staffer if he has seen any other purple-box figures; he hasn't, but he asks me if I can take a card to the register. It is imprinted with his signature under a barcode; the cashier scans it to tally my customer service moment with Gilbert. It is mandatory.
I buy the Blue Devil and a Flash and Wonder Woman to help keep the toy section cleaner; the pegs are stuffed with Superman and Batman, and Gilbert is really putting in an effort to clean the wrecked toy aisles and help customers. I go to the checkout and skip the coupon this time; the cashier is friendly, as is the heavily tattooed greeter who checks my receipt as I leave.
The coupon apparently is good for "any" $20 Mattel or FP Toy (not Toys
) purchase. Even though the fine print mentions "the product(s) purchased.
If you like to haggle, this is the coupon for you! My guess is that it is for a single purchased Mattel/FP ITEM of $20, which is not clearly specified by the coupon and remains untested in the field. Who knows? It's good until 11/30/07; try it out!