Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Something to Contemplate While Hanging the Wash

Warning: This whole "hanging the wash" thing is just my attempt to link the text of this post to the pictures. Also, you all should know this isn't even my wash or my clothesline, but my neighbor's. She has the most amazing collection of vintage aprons, a fact that's worth contemplating, but not what I'm contemplating today.



I went to Joann's fabrics today to buy a few necessaries like muslin, batting, and interfacing. I wasn't buying anything exciting, but it was a bit of a momentous occasion because I actually remembered to bring the coupon that they periodically send me in the mail. I can't even count the number of times I have been asked by a Joann's hostess (I assume they are hostesses because all the customers are referred to as guests) if I have my coupon. Once I admit that I don't they usually follow up by asking if I'm on the mailing list. "Yes," I say, "but I never remember to bring the coupons you send."
That might be a wee bit of an exaggeration. I suppose I have remembered a few times, but not often.



Most times I've realized that I'm sans the 40% off coupon, I'm more than a little disappointed that I won't get to enjoy the savings. However, the few times I have come armed with my coupon I've found it very difficult to apply it to any of my purchases. This is because almost everything at Joann's is at least a little discounted and therefore not eligible for the whopping 40% off coupon.



Mind you, I'm not complaining about the prices at Joann's. It serves its purpose well. What I don't understand and what I have tried to analyze as I walk uphill both ways to the banks of the river where I will, with washing board in hand, scour aprons clean and then hang them to dry in the sun is what's the point of this little bait and switch game. If the powers-that-be at Joann's want to offer nearly all their products at a discounted price, why take the time, money, and paper to mail out coupons? I would suspect that folks like me who regularly shop at Joann's for various crafting items don't really need the coupon to incentivize them into the store. Also, if I were new to the store and came in just because I had a coupon I think I'd find it a little frustrating that the only full priced item I could apply my 40% discount to is the $1.99 thimble. Said thimble would then cost $.79, but not necessarily make me feel like I'd gotten an amazing deal.



Here's my advice to the movers and shakers at Joann's: Either make the coupon truly worth the effort of bringing it into the store or stop offering it.
Just my 2 cents. With the discount coupon that's 1.2 cents.

45 comments:

Over40 said...

Congratulations on remembering the coupon today! I, too, always forget until I pull up at the door.

prim.rose said...

lol, yes!!!! totally. agree. with. you. =) If you send me a coupon.... the goal should *not* be to have to make me really work to use it.

Jessica said...

I think the coupons at Joann's are fantastic. I try to plan all of my projects around sales and coupons. (Luckily my nearest store is just a few minutes away, so I can stop often.) Very rarely do I buy anything unless the sale price is at least 40% off or I have a coupon. It's very easy to save a lot of money there by watching the sales and keeping track of your coupons. (They take competitor's coupons, too!)

Anyway... I just thought I'd share my thoughts on shopping at Joann's with you.

~Michelle~ said...

I'm guessing it's worthwhile for them to keep doing the coupons versus the Walmart-style "low price always", because maybe they sucker you into buying more things @ full price (or sale things marked down less than the coupon %) when you come in w/the coupon. But you cracked me up w/your discounted thoughts comment - thanks!

iris said...

So. There's all sorts of unconscious processes that go into everyone's actions (did you know that simply putting a credit card company's symbol on a check significantly increases the amount of money people leave for a tip? Or that the laughter of babies will make you buy more, spend more).

Perhaps their scheme doesn't make sense to us logically, but I bet this process is backed up by market research and psychological studies. Just a guess.

West Michigan Quilter said...

I totally agree with you about Joann's and their discounts and coupons. I get so angry when I rush in to use my coupon and find everything on sale and I can't use my coupon on anything I want. Doesn't make sense to me either. They have great sales, so why bother with the coupons.

Artsy Momma said...

amen!!!

courtney.janelle.sews said...

Like someone mentioned, you really have to plan it out well. you have to read the advertisement well, and know what you're getting with the coupon won't be on sale. either that or you have to go with your coupon withOUT something to purchase in mind. you can't say, well, I need tulle, coats&clark thread, and a Sidewinder, better take my coupon! Because of course, chances are they will all be on sale.

However, having worked at Joanns (as well as Hancocks), I completely agree with you. NOT that you should go complaining to the poor employees because they don't know and they don't care (trust me, these are very very poor companies to work for....dare I say, worse than WalMart, and yes I've worked for WalMart as well). But now that I've had my share of customer service/retail positions I've decided that I am so sick of being an instrument of taking advantage of people. I went from Joanns to being a seamstress at an alterations shop, and still our aim is to take advantage of people. Completely frustrated. Wish we didn't have to do this to each other to get ahead....

Heidi said...

funny - just today I bought a pack of thimbles with my 40% off coupon :]

Gerry said...

It IS more than a little annoying to look for your coupon, put it in your purse, fumble for it when you get in line for check out only to find your item is already on sale.
A couple of weeks ago I needed some Pink fabric. Had 4 yards cut and when I offered my 40% off coupon was told my fabric choice was already on sale. At 30% off. I asked if I could buy at regular price and apply my 40% coupon. Nope, no can do. I walked ! ! !
Can't win at JoAnns but it's the only game in town.
Hugs,
Gerry

Mary Lou Rutledge said...

I only have Hancock's and it's the same way and always short of help. I give them credit though. I worked at a fabric store and lasted 3 days!!

r0ssie said...

hmmm. At my Joann's they let you take 40% off the regular price regardless of item's sale status. This isn't true of all Joann's???

Jennifer said...

rossie-- not at my joann's. they don't let you use the coupon on sale items, and my favorite items are almost always on sale when i have a coupon (just not a sale to equal the coupon).

Meghan said...

haha I always find something to use the coupon on. As someone who used to work in the retail world, coupons are supposed to get you in the door. They don't necessarily care if you use it or not, just that you're in the store shopping.

Oh, and one thing I do with coupons is always put them in my purse or wallet when I get them, that way I know I won't forget them.

Simply Sandy said...

Wonder how many times that has happened to me. It's like, let me buy it at the regular price and then apply the 40% off.

Martys Fiber Musings said...

Sandy, you definitely have an excellent point. If Joanns really wanted to give us a coupon, that would be the neighborly thing to!

Kim Hambric said...

What I usually find when I shop at Jo-Ann is I'm met with an empty spot where the item I needed should be. If they even have what I want, I am elated. If I've remembered the coupon, I'm even happier.

Then, I end up going home and ordering the out of stock item online. And then I figure, if I'm already paying the shipping charges, I may as well buy even more items.

Recently, my motto has been -- buy what I need and pay for it and get on with life. I tend to get so much more frustrated when I try to save a couple of dollars.

Funky Kim said...

I clip my Joanns coupons out of the newspaper ad or the mailer and put them in my purse, taking the old ones out at the same time. Then I'm always ready to go to that store and use one or four as the need arises. And using them to save a little over a dollar on a spool of thread is a great deal in my book. Better than I would have gotten if I didn't have those little pieces of paper with me.

Ashley said...

My response is exactly what Jessica said. I won't buy something on sale unless it is at least 40% off and if it is not on sale I always use a coupon. I made this whole blanket with coupons from Joanns!:
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/ashleyakers/babette-blanket

robin mg lawrenz said...

This quandary has troubled me often. I can't tell you how many hours I have wandered around the store, coupon in hand, looking for something I could buy that wasn't on sale so I could use my coupon. I am just that stubborn, and I'm guessing they make those coupons for people like me.

However, every once in a blue moon, they do offer those lovely coupons that are good for sale and regular-priced items, and I try to be very intentional about using those whether I need something at Joann's or not. I think this is part of the reason they print those other coupons...so the real ones are a HUGE deal.

kelly mae said...

I dream about havin' a clothes line. One where the grass tickles my toes as I hang out my vintage aprons to dry. Love your photographs!

Cheryl Arkison said...

Man, you are on a tear lately! Good for you.
I adore those aprons. I have a handful of my Baba's aprons - gigham with her embroidery. And I use nothing else.

Diana Ramirez said...

I use the coupons to buy magazines and books I've been waiting for. That way I can justify to myself spending the extra money on building my library.

Kris said...

I liked this post. (Even with all the freshly scrubbed aprons - I appreciate the pretty pictures even if they have nothing to do with the words!) We don't have Joanns here in Aus, but we do have a discounting fabric store called Spotlight that does the exact same thing. It's like there's a bunch of rules for being a discount fabric store and everyone has to follow them. (They too are not a good company to work for. What's with that?)I say shop at the more expensive small independent stores! I think Joanns must have to enter into deals with the devil to get some of their prices and do you really want to be a part of that transaction? Down with large multinationals that want to cheat their customers AND their employees!!!

Kris said...

Or not. Got a little carried away. It's something to think about whilst hanging the washing.......

Fibra Artysta said...

I think Joann's should come up with a little key thingie like the grocery stores and drugstores have. And then the coupons would just be with you all the time.

It used to be that they would take 40% off the original price if something was on sale but they stopped doing it at the one I go to. It definitely puts a damper on thing.

Anonymous said...

Hiya! We at JAS are referred to as team members, although I like the 'hostess' bit! As I am quite often stuck doing the guest service bit, I hear variations of your complaint quite often. JAS did used to let their guests use their coupons on anything. I myself was still just a 'guest' when this was allowed. However, several years ago the company was sold to new owners, and quite a few of the practices were changed, the coupon policy being one of them. If you really want your voice heard and the coupon policy possibly changed, I incourage you to voice your opinions to corporate.

Tamara said...

I can understand your frustration. I do love the coupons though. They seem to work for me. Just last week I was able to use them on olfa rulers that weren't on sale. Often I use them on zippers if I am there and everything else I am getting is on sale. What really bugs me right now is that they keep putting the magazines 10% off. I usually use my coupons on mags but lately it has been difficult to find a time they are regular price. I have a love/hate relationship with Joann's.

The suggestions about putting them in your purse or car is a really good one.

Camilla~ Bloom said...

I found you thru a friends blog...I just wanted to tell you how much I admire your work. So unique and colorful...makes me happy.
Off to look at your book.
Have agreat weekend.

HollyM said...

I have the same beef with Micheal's. We don't have JoAnn's Fabrics here but i had the same experience at the Micheal's store.

Amy said...

Oh my gosh, you read my mind! I have two 40% coupons in my purse that expire tomorrow, PLUS a 20% off my total order. Good luck with any of it! The magazines will be 10% off, as will the books. I need more yarn like I need a hole in my head...still, I feel like if I don't go look, I'm missing out....

My Joann's lets me use multiple coupons with the same purchase as well. You can get the 40% off the sunday paper, plus sign up for email and get another 40%, plus the mail...and use them all at one time. When I lived in Oregon, it was one coupon per transaction. Here in Ohio, I guess they got sick of people standing in line and buying things one at a time?

piecemealquilts said...

I'm fortunate that my local JoAnn's is about a five minute drive from my home, so it's no big deal to drop in. I recognize that this isn't true for everyone. That said, if you watch the flyers you'll see that they cycle through departments to feature. One month it's scrapbooking, the next it's quilting, the next it's floral. If you need something NOW, the coupons aren't going to be much help, but if you plan properly, you can usually find something that will make it worth the effort. I like to use my 40% off coupons on Kona Cotton or Kona Muslin (the muslin in white or unbleached is beautiful enough to piece with), so I can get a few yards and still have a substantial savings. I not only get the mailed coupons, but I get them online, too. If I'm unable to use my coupons, I find someone in the store with a big ticket item and I give them the extra coupon. I figure if JoAnn's offers the coupons, someone ought to benefit.

JulienmiZ said...

Enjoying this blog (I learned about you, MK, from your article about Quiet Quilts in QA last year -- or the year before, and maybe it wasn't QA, but ANYWAY I loved that article & clipped it out which I rarely do!).

I put store coupons in a shoebox in my car for unplanned stops at the chain stores (Michael's, BBB, LnT, JoAnn's, etc). Periodically I clean out the pile that builds up, but the current ones are always on top, of course.

I don't make special trips to JoAnn's because of the coupons (it's a 40 minute RT excursion) except when I need something expensive (Gingher, Ott Lights, quilt rulers, big piece of batting).

My strategy is simple: I call the store to check if I can use the 40%coupon that day on that item (and I ask for the clerk's name). This seems to cut down on the aggro factor.

mjb said...

So my Hancocks works like this, so I usually don't get the 40% off. Joanns lets me use the coupons by the register, but they scribble out the deals I've used even though I'm sure they would just pull another one from the stack the next time I came in. Sometimes I end up buying basics online so I don't have to time my local craft store visits so accurately.

stitchsister said...

I LOVE your two cents, no wait, 1.2 cents comment. Classic.

Kathy F said...

Funny you should mention this. Just last week I tried to use my 50% off coupon (special deal) but what I was buying was already on sale. Of course, there was no sign anywhere saying that, so I didn't find out until I got to the register. I left my purchases there and tore up the coupons. This is the second time in a week that has happened to me at Joanns.

Nichole said...

i actually haven't had too many instances where i haven't been able to use a couple because it is already on sale. the thing that always gets me at joann's is that they send me coupons and then they aren't valid until two weeks from now. and THEN they are valid starting on a sunday. who starts sales in the middle of the weekend?! i have been so frustrated about their "valid dates".

Linda/Thistledown and Co. said...

Too funny! I have been better at bringing the coupons but like you said I end up using it on a tiny little purchase because everything else is "on sale"
Love the clothesline pics - I can smell the sunshine!

KARIMA said...

Figure out early that if I have a 40% coupon, that what every I want will be on sale at less than the coupon amount. If I remember, I'll take it with me just in case there is something not on sale that I can use. Usually it's fabric. But you really can't beat some of the sale prices on certain things (sewing patterns).I usually go into joann because of the sales and not with the ideal of using their 40% or 50% coupons.

Karen said...

I receive coupons in the mail and online and have found them to be extremely useful.

I seldom buy anything that is either not significantly reduced or purchasable with a coupon.

My store is about ten minutes away and is very easy for my to drop by. This makes it much easier for me than it may be for others. BTW, a big sale starts today.

Carol said...

I often shop at Jo-Ann and always have coupons because I put them in my wallet as soon as I get the ad in the mail or the paper. It does seem that many of the things that I want to buy are already on sale. I buy quilting magazines (sometimes, with a 40% or 50% coupon, it's less expensive than a subscription) and I've noticed that the magazines are 10% off much more often than they used to be. If I wait until they're not on sale, often the magazine is sold out. (That's my only real complaint about Jo-Ann's). The store I shop at doesn't allow buying a sale item at full price and then using the coupon. (If you are an AQS member, and show your card, you can get an additional 10% off on sale items.)
I have bought all my quilting rulers and mats at Jo-Ann's (back when there were always 50% coupons) and used to buy batting there but now they no longer carry Hobbs 80-20. :-( I rarely buy fabric there---the selection and quality is much better at the many local quilt shops we are lucky to have here.

Anonymous said...

you can use the coupons on magazines!!!

KateKwiltz said...

I think they just do that so you'll buy a full-price item IN ADDITION TO whatever sale things you went in for!

I just read all the fine print a couple of weeks ago and wondered why they even bother, given all the exclusions.

Argery Araya C. said...

qUE BELLEZA COM LE HAN QUEDADO ESTOS TRABAJOS LA FELICITO UN ABRAZO A LA DISTANCIA.

Katie said...

I didn't read any of the other comments yet so I'm sure it's been said already: Why would they spend all the time, money etc., like you said on the coupons and not let EVERYONE have one. Like other stores who offer them printable online. And allow you to print one for your friend who doesn't have the internet or printer?! The Joann's police are everywhere look out... your friend might save 79 cents on a thimble with YOUR coupon. give me a break sheesh - don't even get me started on that rediculous place. - the ones in my area are the rudest, people - thankfully though, a hobbylobby just went in right next door ; )