Worst Than My Dad

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When I was a kid, my dad would go to the store with a whole bunch of coupons. I thought he was nuts and I thought clipping coupons was a waste of time. I vowed never to clip coupons when I grew up. And for the longest time, I didn’t clip coupons. I didn’t even buy things on sale. When I needed something, I simply went to the store and bought it.

Now that I have a big mortgage, a wife who loves shopping, and three kids, I find myself clipping coupons. Actually worst — I’m a mail-in rebate addict. Back in my dad’s days, mail-in rebates were rare. Now it’s commonplace. I actually hate mail-in rebates. I think retailers and manufacturers should just discount the product at the cash register. Instead they advertise the “after rebate price” and prey on the forgetfulness of shoppers. Luckily, I’m not one of those who forget and I have received all of my rebates. Some of course, took a lot longer than others.

Below are my lists of best and worst retailers and vendors (in terms of turnaround time for rebate check). Keep in mind that vendors are the ones who are actually responsible for turnaround time, but retailers can influence vendors. I submitted quite a few rebates to Costco and Home Depot so I can say they are good retailers (with respect to mail-in rebates). Costco actually makes it easy with their online system. I’ve only submitted to Walgreens once and Ace Hardware twice (they have rebates the day after Thanksgiving). Fry’s is all over the place. That’s why they are on the best and worst list. It’s interesting to note that on the worst retailers list, three out of five are office supply stores. I can’t really say a whole lot about vendors because generally I submit to each vendor only once or twice. However, I think you should stay away from the Mad Dog (computer stuff) rebates. It took Mad Dog over a year to send me my rebate.

Best Vendors (Products)

  • Clean Kid (kids bath stuff?) – 26 days
  • Encore (kids learning pc game) – 28 days
  • The First Years (baby monitor) – 28 days
  • Scotts (gardening stuff) – 29 days
  • Sony (laptop) – 30 days

Worst Vendors (Products)

  • Mad Dog (CD drive) – 371 days
  • Sanford Rubbermaid (plastic storage box) – 149 days
  • Sage Software (Peachtree Accounting) – 149 days
  • IMSI (clipart CD) – 128 days
  • Acco (card board storage boxes) – 108 days

Best Retailers

  • Costco – 20 days
  • Walgreens – 22 days
  • Home Depot – 29 days
  • Fry’s – 30 days
  • Circuit City – 32 days (added 9.22.06)
  • Ace Hardware – 36 days

Worst Retailers

  • CompUSA – 371 days
  • Staples – 149 days
  • Office Depot – 149 days
  • Fry’s – 128 days
  • Office Max – 94 days
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