Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rebate Welcomed

In a previous life I was never enthusiastic about applying for rebates. I rarely did it. The undertaking required work. Filling out forms, collecting receipts, finding a stamp and an envelope – it was not worth it.

Which is, of course, what companies counted on.

Rebates can now be requested online, avoiding the search for an envelope and stamp, saving 40 cents, 45 cents or however much a first class stamp costs nowadays (49 cents – just looked it up. Real $ !). Stamps no longer have a monetary value printed on them; the word forever appears somewhere on the design.

I venture to the post office every few months to stock up, choosing interesting images. I do not bother doing the math to figure out how much each costs.

For years, decades actually, I did not have the time to devote to rebate management. Working…raising kids…cooking meals…watching TV…cleaning …laundry…phone calls…something had to give. It did not seem worth the time or effort for a few cents or a dollar or two.

Although we are not on a fixed budget, hub is close to retirement. The necessity of careful budgeting is on the near horizon. So when recently purchasing paper for our printer at Staples and noticing a rebate offer, I decided to go for it.

Rebate requests are a quick, painless process nowadays, at least for the particular rebate requested from Staples. The receipt was already online. I punched a couple of computer keys and my application launched into cyberspace. A follow-up email stated my claim would be processed and a check issued in four to six weeks.

One day three to four weeks later hub retrieves the mail from our mailbox and throws the stack on the counter with the comment, “It’s all junk.” I grab the pile before tossing.

Sitting on top is a postcard, which initially looks like junk mail. Inspecting it closer, I realize it is my $4.00 Staples rebate check. No envelope. The postcard saves money, I am sure, but anyone can cash it. The amount is not a lot and its loss would in no way cause hardship, but the unsecure transmittal in this day and age of privacy and the too-common occurrence of stolen personal data seems inappropriate.

Nevertheless I will cash the check.

Luckily I reviewed the mail, or the check would have been tossed and lost.  I am not sure, after waiting futilely for weeks for the rebate check, that I would have followed up with Staples. 

Hub will be more careful pitching mail in the future.

Meanwhile there are all kinds of possibilities for the $4.00. I will splurge on something.

After all, we are not living on a fixed income yet.