Sears filed for bankruptcy this a.m.

If you’ve saved up a stash of Shop Your Way Rewards points at Sears or Kmart, now might be a good time to start using them.

Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection shortly before 1am Monday. The company plans to sell “a large portion of the Company’s store base” while it begins store closing sales at 142 other as-yet unidentified “unprofitable stores”.

“The Company expects to move through the restructuring process as expeditiously as possible and is committed to pursuing a plan of reorganization in the very near term,” Sears said in a statement shortly after the filing. “The Company intends to continue payment of employee wages and benefits, honor member programs, and pay vendors and suppliers” through the bankruptcy process – assuming it manages to come out of the process intact.

The entire article here.

The Creep Factor: uber personal coupons

The whole idea of personalized coupons is to offer you discounts that are likely to appeal to you. And the better the retailer knows you, the more relevant the coupon offers can be.

So, taken to its logical conclusion, the most appealing coupon offers could come if the retailer knows you really, really well – maybe a little too well.

Continuing its recent run of coupon-related patent applications, IBM is proposing a system that will analyze you as you walk into a store, immediately assess what you’re likely to buy, and offer you personalized discounts accordingly.

BOGO coupon brings down Walmart

There could be a Walmart gift card worth up to $100 in your future. The retail giant has agreed to settle a long-running class-action lawsuit, providing gift cards as compensation for certain customers who were charged too much sales tax when using coupons.

If you qualify, the window to claim your share of the settlement is now open. But don’t count your cash just yet.

The settlement pertains to shoppers who used a coupon when purchasing a taxable item at any Walmart store in the state of Pennsylvania, from June 8, 2007 through April 15, 2015. Pennsylvania is one of five U.S. states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri and Texas being the others) where sales tax is levied on your out-of-pocket total after all coupons are applied, instead of to your pre-coupon total.

That’s not what happened to Verona, Pennsylvania resident Brian Farneth back in 2013. He used a “buy one get one free” coupon for Gillette shaving gel at a Pittsburgh Walmart, when purchasing two items priced at $2.97 apiece. But he noticed he was charged sales tax on the full value of the items, $5.94, instead of on his post-coupon total of $2.97.

So he sued. And the dispute has dragged on ever since. The case was certified as a class action earlier this year, so potential class members were notified of their eligibility. But the case appeared headed for trial, until Walmart agreed to settle the dispute, without admitting any wrongdoing. Read the rest of the article from Coupons in the News here.

Target goes downscale with Smartly line

Remember when the appeal of Target was its “cheap chic” merchandise? Well, now Target wants to appeal to shoppers who like their merchandise just plain cheap.

Target is introducing a new low-priced, no-frills brand next week called “Smartly”. If Target’s Market Pantry brand is too upscale for you, and Up&Up too pricey, then Target hopes Smartly fits the bill.

Smartly is a line of “affordable household necessities”, encompassing more than 70 everyday items like detergent, body lotion, paper plates and razor blades. With basic block lettering on plain packaging and straightforward labels like “Liquid Hand Soap” and “Bath Tissue”, the items look a little like something you’d see in a hospital – minimalist and kind of sterile, like a moderately updated version of the old, generic-brand groceries with stark black-and-white labels reading “COLA” or “PEAS”.

“Our team dug deep to pinpoint exactly what guests were looking for in essentials and personal care – namely, lower-priced options unlike anything Target has offered before,” Target said in announcing Smartly’s launch. Smartly items will range in price from 59 cents to $11.99, with most items costing less than $2.

That represents an attempt by Target to attract budget-conscious shoppers who aren’t brand loyal, who might otherwise go elsewhere for more affordable items.

“It’s about showing people that I don’t have to go to ALDI or I don’t have to go to Dollar General to find what I’m looking for,” Target’s chief merchandising officer Mark Tritton told the Wall Street Journal.  Read the entire article here.

Scan a chicken, get a coupon?

Perusing the fresh chicken at your grocery store and just can’t decide what to buy? If you spy a QR code on some of the packages, give it a scan – and a coupon could help make up your mind.

Proving that everything old is new again, Foster Farms is putting QR codes on all of its fresh chicken packages. The effort is personified by “DORI”, a “friendly emoji style” virtual assistant whose name stands for “Deals, Origin, Recipes, Info” – which is what you’ll gain access to by scanning the code with your phone.

“As more shoppers and retailers embrace scannable technology, including QR codes, we see DORI as a new channel to deliver information about our products and reward our loyalists,” said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms. “People are looking for convenience and savings and want to know more about where their food comes from. DORI is a new tool for us to share information that our consumers care about.”

I really see issues with this, since digital coupons so often mess up (MyMixx, anyone?).  To read the entire article, click here.

Shop at Kroger, pick up at Walgreens?

Do you want to buy your groceries and pick up fresh food at the drug store, while getting your prescriptions filled and browsing a full selection of health and beauty items at the same time?

That’s what Rite Aid and Albertsons envisioned, in their proposed merger that never came to be. But the idea lives on, as Walgreens and Kroger are now teaming up for what they hope could be the next best thing.

The two retailers announced this morning that they are collaborating on an “exploratory pilot”, to offer “a one-stop shopping experience where customers can access products and services from both companies”.

For now, the experiment will launch in 13 Walgreens stores in Northern Kentucky, near Kroger’s Cincinnati, Ohio headquarters. The stores will feature Kroger-branded groceries, and will serve as pickup locations for customers who order Kroger groceries online.  Read entire article here.

Fake Cats make deals at Walgreens

Two Walgreens shoppers are now facing criminal charges, in a $29,000 counterfeit coupon scheme that already ensnared two New Orleans-area Walgreens employees earlier this year. And it all came unraveled after the store began to question how many high-value Catalina coupons they were accepting, how many gift cards they were selling – and how many lollipops were flying off the shelves.

39-year-old April Ansardi of Gretna, Louisiana is due to be arraigned today on one count of felony computer fraud. 37-year-old Latina King of Harvey, Louisiana missed her scheduled arraignment this week and is due back in court to face ten counts of felony computer fraud next month.

The two are accused of conspiring with 35-year-old Kewanta Young of Avondale and 40-year-old Fanny Kelley of Harvey, both of them former shift leaders at a local Walgreens just across the Mississippi River from Uptown New Orleans. Together, police say, the four women were involved in a scam using counterfeit Catalina coupons to defraud the store out of more than $29,000.  Entire article here.

what do shoppers use coupons on?

Savvy shoppers like saving money anywhere they can, whether it’s on clothing, travel or at restaurants. But day in and day out, what they really want to save money on, is their groceries.

To kick off National Coupon Month a few weeks ago, Valassis released the results of a survey that said 93% of respondents are interested in finding coupons for groceries, making it the top category for couponing. Now, to wrap up National Coupon Month, Coupons.com owner Quotient Technology is revealing exactly what types of grocery savings are most popular among couponers.

So far this year, Quotient says the most frequently-selected printable and digital coupons on Coupons.com and from its retail partners, are for laundry detergent. 92 million detergent coupons worth almost $261 million have been clipped so far, with Texas alone accounting for nearly 10% of that total.  Entire article here.

IL Tollway Family Safety Fair this Saturday

What’s holding you back?
Grab the kids and their safety seats and join us for the Family Safety Fair featuring free kids’ identification cards and safety seat checks!

September 29, 2018
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Illinois Tollway Headquarters – South Parking Lot
2700 Ogden Avenue, Downers Grove

Safety seat inspections will take place in the east parking lot closest to Authority Drive, while kids’ ID cards will be processed in the lobby on the south side of Tollway headquarters.

About the Family Safety Fair

This free event brings fun and safety together with family-friendly activities in partnership with Illinois State Police District 15 on National Seat Check Saturday. The Family Safety Fair is the final event in the Operation Kid 2018 program offered by the Illinois Tollway and Illinois State Police District 15, which featured 11 Kids Identification and Safety Seat (K.I.S.S.) events at locations around Northern Illinois. During those K.I.S.S. events, District 15 issued more than 780 child IDs and inspected nearly 450 child safety seats to help keep kids safe.

Laminate your coupons for longer use!

You’ve got to admit that laminating the coupons was a nice touch.

What better way to ensure your illicitly-obtained coupons stay crisp and clean, and able to be scanned over and over again?

Proving again that coupon crime is not limited to American shores, a British grocery store employee has been convicted for her role in what could be described as a couponing inside job.  Read the entire article here.