Shopping Discussion

Scratch and Save - Returning item to try for higher discount

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 1st, 2008 1:04 pm
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 31, 2005
592 posts
156 upvotes

Scratch and Save - Returning item to try for higher discount

I think the Bay was the first major retailer to really promote Scratch and Save about 15-20 years ago. They used to mail you the scratch card and you were able to scratch the card BEFORE you got to the cashier to pay - this way, if you were purchasing an item, you'd know exactly how much discount you would get. Now, most retailers give you the card AT TIME OF PURCHASE. That means you're really guessing what the discount could be; this could be a big deal for big ticket items (such as home theatre systems).

Two issues comes to mind:
1) Is it ethical to return the item and purchase it again just to get a TRY at a larger discount? You're grounds for return would be you're unhappy with the price paid for you're item. I'll use Canadian Tire only as an example - this week in BC, they have Scratch and Save with the following odds:
1 in 100 - 50%
2 in 100 - 25%
7 in 100 - 10%
90 in 100 - 5%
This give an expected discount of 6.2%. That is the discount I should expected to receive when I purchase an item. So if I value a table at $94.00, and I see one selling regular for $100.00, I would consider purchasing it if I had 6.2% off. But if I get only 5% discount and pay $95.00, then I'm actually worse off (THINK ECONOMICS and consumer/supplier surplus). Therefore, I would return it.

2) Is it worth the time to return the item? I'm looking to redo my entire garage and backyard with CT. The total cost of everything is estimated at $5000.00. So A 5% discount difference would actually make a huge difference.

What do RFDer's think?
6 replies
Deal Addict
Mar 11, 2008
1281 posts
39 upvotes
Langley
Usually with scratch and save promotions I look at the minimum discount and see if I would want to buy the item at that price. If I do then I will buy it and then if I get a higher discount it
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2006
1897 posts
447 upvotes
Burnaby
IMO it is unethical to return and buy back to TRY and get a higher discount. If you abuse it, they'll just take it away or make the discounts less. I'm sure people abused the scratch and save before when they used to send them in the mail (ie get a bunch cards). Also they used to let you reuse them multiple times, but people abused it so now they only allow you to scratch at the time of purchase and its only valid for that one time purchase.

Like the previous poster said, if you're looking into a bigger ticket item, haggle. Usually there is a bit of room to negotiate on the bigger ticket items anyways.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 22, 2006
9820 posts
855 upvotes
Although the expected discount is 6%, you should expect 5% discount and NOT 6%. 90% of the time you will only get 5%. Long run average, you will get 6.2% but its unethical to go and try 100 times to get a big discount. Heck on average, you will need to try 10 times before you expect to get a discount bigger than 5%.

What you could do is when you are making the large purchase, make a deal with a sales rep to get multiple ticket and use the best one you get. Most of the time, with a big purchase (like 5k), they will allow you to do more than 1 ticket. I remember my dad doing that back in a Sears S&S and got 10 or so tickets but kept getting 10% (i think that was the lowest). The cashier felt bad and said keep going till you get something >10%. After like 25 tickets or so he got a 25% off and they used that. If you were to return each time, this would be a big time drain and unethical. If you agreed on a deal ahead of time, then it saves you time and isn't unethical.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 9, 2005
3398 posts
1424 upvotes
Ontario
Who the hell has that kind of time?

Is it really worth your time and effort to gamble that you'd get a different rate?

After the third time of returning the stuff and buying the same stuff again, they'd probably revoke your scratch and save privileges.
Kaboom! Kaboom! KABOOM!
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 8, 2002
11632 posts
3011 upvotes
GTA
I'd try what previous posters have said. Grab a senior manager and explain to them that you are willing to drop five grand in their store, provided you get a 10% discount. Most of their stuff is overpriced, so any smart manager ( is that asking too much?) should give you the discount. Tell them that you are going to a few different CTs to see who'll oblige.

Also, you may be able to buy a giftcard from someone at a discount.
Sr. Member
Sep 6, 2004
510 posts
64 upvotes
Toronto
TCWeasel wrote:
May 30th, 2008 8:38 pm
Who the hell has that kind of time?

Is it really worth your time and effort to gamble that you'd get a different rate?

After the third time of returning the stuff and buying the same stuff again, they'd probably revoke your scratch and save privileges.
+1. Definitely seems highly unethical. Seriously, just think of the scratch-and-save as a bonus, no need to abuse it. Plus how much time are you going to waste doing this???

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