Saturday, August 13, 2011

Whats the deal with mail in rebates? (say it in a Signfeld voice)

     Our story starts with a stressed out Macbook Pro and the standard 32bit OS maximum ram of 4gb. How will this lead to the subject of Mail in Rebates? shut up and read on after the jump.

If you don't have this, get it.
     atMonitor is an excellent little, HIGHLY recommended App for Mac OS X. Its a System Monitor and process explorer Tool I've been using it for the past two years to see what my system gets itself into while I'm running the many many applications I use on a daily basis. I recently started paying attention to it again and realized that i'm almost always maxing out my ram. So I finally decided to upgrade to that magic number my PC has enjoyed for the past two years: 8, as in 8gb of ram. Now a days you can procure two 4gb laptop DIMMs at amazingly low prices. I scored mine for only $35 after a $15 mail in rebate (I'd post the deal, but its over, sorry). This means that when I get the ram in the mail I need to print out the PDF of my digital receipt, cut out the UPC from the RAM packaging, cram it all into an envelope and then send it back to basically the same place I just got the ram from.
     I find it hillarious that even though your buying these components for a computer (using a computer I might add), you still have to use the postal service to access these rebates. Why? Because, people are unreliable and likely to not follow through to the stage of actually redeeming these rebates. Just like back in the day when You bought whatever you got the rebate for from a real store.
     When I was little My grandfather would save battery rebates from Radio Shack and then give them to me as gifts. He'd give me the UPCs (barcodes), the receipts and an envelope. I'd do the dirty work of filling out those tiny pieces of paper with a smeary ball point pen, throw a $0.29 stamp on it all and then 6 to 8 weeks later get a check for a whopping $1 in the mail. Kind of crazy to go through all that for $0.71. But I did it every time!
     Fast forward a few years to 3 Ball productions; a reality television production company I started as an executive assistant. I was always filling out rebates for my bosses. In fact, when I started there was a file of incomplete rebates I had to tackle before they expired. And this is my point. People buy stuff with rebates because they're supposedly cheaper, but then they neglect to fill them out or loose the UPC, or mail it to the wrong place and then the suposed savings go out the window. The rebate system is built around the inevitability that half the consumers are going to mess up somewhere during the redemption proses if they even get that far.
      So This is why its so important to keep the rebate system in the realm of snail mail. If set in the digital domain they would become far to easy to complete in the timely manor required for proper redemption and more people would actually complete the process (horrors!)
     As it stands the only reason I'm so good at following through on rebates is because of my Grandfather either wanted me to learn the true value of a dollar, or was to lazy to finish filling out his own rebates. All I know Is That withough him I probably wouldn't have bothered redeming these Pabst rebates I got last year.

That months bank statement was awesome.

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