Sunday, January 15, 2012

Using Alternate Zip Codes for Printing Coupons - An Ethical Question Answered

An ethical gray area has come to my attention recently. It is a common practice to use a zip code other than your own to print coupons online. I see a lot of bloggers posting the zip codes, and I am betting a lot of people use them to print. I personally don't do this, because I always imagined that if a company was able to handle those requests from many zip codes, they would have made the coupons printable there.It turns out,there are a few other reasons you don't want to use zip codes other than your own when printing coupons.

1. Some coupons are meant for a certain target market - perhaps one that is lacking in sales, who knows. But if the coupons get used wherever, willy nilly, then the effectiveness of their marketing goes down. They lost money on a coupon campaign, and the company overall will suffer. This mean we, the consumer, will suffer too.

2. Manufacturers do not like this practice, since it costs them money and makes their marketing ineffective. This means they will, quite often, not reimburse the stores. This means higher prices for us, the consumers, in the stores.

3. It also means you are basically stealing from the stores, especially in the case of 'Buy one/get one' coupons, or situations where you can otherwise get an item for free.

I am sure that the majority of you are not out to defraud anyone. But there will undoubtedly be a few of you who think "corporations have so much money, they can do with a little less". For you, I would like to add one last point.

4. You ruin it for everyone. Stores are now changing their policies, some won't accept ANY printed coupon. If you play by the rules, we ALL win. If you break them, we ALL lose.

It is really that simple.