So I went into the world's largest store, Macy's, today. Wanted to purchase a cocktail table that I saw on sale. Regularly very expensive, reduced to just expensive, now on sale. Sounded good, because I have a Macy's charge card, which usually gets me an additional 10% discount from the sale price on furniture.
But not this time.
The saleslady said that with this particular sale, the sale price listed was for everyone and there would not be a further discount.
Now I realize the ad did not actually say there would be a further discount for card holders. But if that has been a store's usual and customary practice, I do not think I was out of line to expect this to be the case today.
We are all somewhat accepting of the exclusions on the back of store coupons, listing the various and multiple purchases which don't qualify for the offer broadly proclaimed on the front of the coupon. But we shouldn't be.
More important, stores have to break this pattern; it is bad marketing. It is bad for their image, bad for their customers, bad for their reputation. The cliché that "the headline giveth and the fine print taketh away" has an unspoken "and the customer will eventually walketh away also."
If you have to use an asterisk or fine print to limit the extent of your offer and/or keep your lawyers happy, think of a way to make your exclusions minimal, your tone customer-friendly, your reasons for the exclusions reasonable.
We can't all promise, "Guaranteed. Period." But it is something we can all aim for.