As much as I love getting great deals on everything from groceries to travel, the ethics of what I do are extremely important. There are plenty of ways to beat and cheat the system, but those aren’t the kinds of tactics in which I’m willing to engage to achieve savings. Through this column, I enjoy sharing some of my favorite tips with you to help stretch your dollars, too.
Occasionally, some of my readers take issue with the tips I’ve shared. I always welcome discussion and differences of opinion, so I’d like to share a couple recent thoughts from readers:
I religiously read your column. Many of your suggestions have saved me money and have been very useful. However, referencing your suggestion on mini vacations, I find that your information is disappointing and more than a little unethical. You stated that purchasing a one-night stay at a resort hotel and then checking out of the hotel the next day gave you access to the resort’s associated theme park until its normal daily closing time both on the day of arrival and the day of departure. I may be an older reader from a long ago era, but I find that your contract with the resort theme park is terminated upon your checking out. Therefore, your access to the facilities should likewise be terminated. Your suggestion is an example of the erosion of our moral character and the continuing assault on our ethics by a younger generation that attempts to cut corners, no matter how shady. How disappointing.
With regard to a one-night, two-day family resort stay (enjoying recreation options on the first day, then continuing to swim/play on checkout day) this practice is both allowed and encouraged by many resorts of this type. Our family has stayed at four different waterpark resort chains, all of which allow and encourage guests to “stay and play” after checkout until the end of the day.
The resorts at which we’ve stayed issue admission wristbands to guests to enjoy the water and amusement parks. Each day’s wristband is good until the end of the day, not just until checkout Consider that it’s absolutely to the resorts’ advantage to encourage this practice. Guests who continue spending time at the resort for a second day typically eat in the restaurants, enjoy on-site shopping, attractions and arcades, and generate more revenue for the resort versus leaving the property midday. In fact, this practice further benefits the resort by allowing them to service and re-assign the room to another guest on the second night while the first guests continue to spend money at the property for the remainder of the day.
Suggesting families take a mini-vacation for one night was in no way an attempt to be “shady” – it’s a wonderful way for families to get a two-day mini vacation for the price of one night away, again with the full blessing of many family-friendly resorts’ policies.
Most coupons I see say ‘Limit 1 coupon per purchase.’ People like you use a lot of coupons. So, how can you recommend people use multiple coupons? You encourage greed, fraud and bad morals every time you tell someone to use more than one coupon.
I believe this reader is confusing “purchase” with “transaction.” Each item you’re buying is a purchase. Each trip through the checkout lane, in which you pay for all of your purchases, is one transaction. The wording that limits one coupon to each purchase simply means that shoppers can use one coupon on each item. If I have four coupons for toothpaste, I can buy four tubes of toothpaste and use one coupon on each. What shoppers cannot do is attempt to use all four coupons on one single tube of toothpaste. That’s coupon fraud, and it’s something I’ve never encouraged.
You may also notice that some coupons state, “Limit one coupon per purchase. Limit four like coupons per transaction.” Here, the coupon is noting the distinction between purchase (one item) and transaction (one trip through the lane.)
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Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.