Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Am I the only one who is bothered by this?

Okay, I'm a bit late here. This offer just expired. Still, it is representative of a lot of deals Chapters/Indigo offers to their iReward customers.

Take a look at the coupon on offer here. It allows you to take 10% off any book in the store. That’s good.

But if you are an iReward card holder, you get 20%. That’s even better, right?

It is if you actually GOT 20%. In reality, you get 19%.

To figure out how, you have to look at your bill. The bill takes 10% off the top as you would expect from the deal. No problem there. But then, iReward card members get an additional 10% off the discounted price, not 10% off the original price. The latter would give the iReward card holder 20%. The former nets 19%. Chapters/Indigo saves themselves 1%.

So, if you spend $40.00 on books and you have a iRewards card, you would get 10% off ($4.00 off) for a discounted price of $36.00. With the iRewards card, you get an additional 10% off ($3.60) for a grand discounted total of $32.40 – a difference of 40 cents, which is exactly 19% off the original price – not 20%.

Now, if Chapters/Indigo had hedged their bets and said “iRewards card holders get an additional 10% off”, I probably won’t have much to quibble about. But they don’t. They make a blanket statement that iRewards card holders get 20%. It isn’t even mentioned in the fine print.

I know what you’re thinking. iRewards members are still getting a substantial discount and in the example above, all I am doing is quibbling over 40 cents. That’s very true. On an individual basis, my complaint is only over small dollar amounts. It’s probably the reason most people just suck it up. Even on a $100 purchase (pretty easy to do these days), you’re still only talking about a loonie.

But, taken at the corporate level, Chapters/Indigo makes an additional $10,000 for every $1,000,000 in books they sell. That’s more than chump change. If we take Indigo’s 2008 second quarter profits (I couldn’t find Chapters) of $191 Million dollars and use that to figure out what they might get, that comes out to be over $600,000.00. Now not all of those sales are from iRewards holders or even books, but if a third of it was, that is $200,000 in extra profit (not revenue) they would not have had if they calculated things properly.

So, is saying you get 20% and then only giving 19% in discounts still not a problem? I would like to hear your comments.

This Week's Reason to Read: Shimura Trouble by Sujata Massey - Alas, this is the 10th and the final book in the long-running mystery series which combines Japanese culture and murder mysteries and spins it with a little romance. I always found the series to be a light entertaining romp. The series took a turn several books ago and has never looked back. Now, the series last book is finally available in trade paperback, which should make it easier on the pocketbook for some. Here is what the publisher says about Shimura Trouble: In Agatha-winner Massey's engaging 10th mystery to feature antiques dealer and part-time spy Rei Shimura (after 2006's Girl in a Box), Rei and her father, who's recovering from a stroke, travel from California to Hawaii for a family celebration with previously unknown Shimura relatives, who turn out to be involved in a legal battle to recover land stolen from them during WWII. An appealing protagonist and memorable supporting characters blend smoothly with lessons in Hawaiian and Japanese history in a tale sure to win new readers for the series.

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