Something For Nothing – Sometimes

Everyone likes to get something for nothing. I certainly do. That’s probably why I’m so enamored with rebates. I seek them out like crazy. I scour and searching for some elusive toy I’ve just got to have – as long as it’s free, or close to it!

Sunday’s are always fun. Before I read the newspaper, I check the ads. The biggest deals come from CompUSA, Staples, Circuit City and Office Max. Best Buy has the slickest ads – not the best prices.

I mention this, because I’ve just finished doing the paperwork for six separate rebates. That doesn’t mean six separate items, because often a single item will have two rebates.

Who’s kidding whom? Multiple rebates are there because it’s just one more way to discourage you from getting the rebate. That’s the sad truth. Rebates look a lot friendlier, easier and lucrative before you buy than after.

Each rebate form is a scavenger hunt with slightly different rules. Send a copy – no wait – send the original – no wait – circle the price – no wait … you understand. The idea is to make it as difficult as possible, as time consuming as possible, to regain your cash.

It is possible to make rebates easier to obtain, but that would fly in the face of what’s really happening. Rebates allow stores to advertise a lower price than the item will actually sell for.

I have a sneaky suspicion that some of the rebates I send in never produce a check. I keep receipts, but the whole process becomes so difficult and tedious that checking is nearly impossible.

Tonight’s paperwork should produce over $200 in cash and reduce my cost for these items to around $100. Not bad, if it works.

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