Friday, August 22, 2008

Sweating for the Deal -- Cheap Organic Milk But It Took Me HOURS

OK, last night I posted about knowing when NOT to do a deal. Now I'm going to describe a deal I probably should NOT have done. Have you ever tried to work a deal, either with coupons or online, only to realize that it is too complicated and will take way too long to be worth your time? But it's hard to know just when to quit, isn't it?

I read on one of my favorite blogs,, about getting an 18-pack of those organic milk boxes for about $2.50. Sure, it's UHT milk, which means it's not really as nutritious as regular pasteurized milk, but when I have these things in the house it saves me from being late on difficult days. Instead of putting together sippy cups for the girls to have in the babysitting room at the gym or on a long car ride, I can grab a milk box and know that they're getting an extra serving of milk.

Here's what said:

All flavors have been marked down to $22 for an 18-pack. Use coupon code
MILKMIL6 to take another 20% off of that, plus sign up for subscribe-and-save to
save another 15% (you can cancel it as soon as your order ships). What’s more,
if you spend $25+ in qualifying groceries, you’ll get a free subscription to
Self Magazine, which you can instead redeem for a $12 rebate.

Sounds simple, right? No? OK, but it turned out to be even more challenging than it sounded. I put the milk in my cart and went almost all the way through the checkout process only to find that you have to choose the "subscribe and save" option BEFORE you put something in the cart. Once I got the "subscribe and save" selected, I searched high and low for that Self magazine offer.

I started over from the beginning and found info about it. Turns out you don't have to do anything but buy the stuff, then you get an email about the free subscription afterwards.

Then I realize I'll need to spend $3 more to qualify for the subscription. Actually, I'm not clear if Amazon's "spend $ x" offers require you to spend that amount before or after discounts. But I search for a grocery item around $3 so I will have a $25 order. This takes hours, since I'm not too familiar with Amazon's sorting system. There are many low-cost items, but they are sold by outside merchants and don't qualify.

I found some nutritional supplement that qualified for $3 something. I added it to my cart, then ordered the milk through "subscribe and save." But, guess what? The subscribe and save orders are separate from anything in your cart. So I had failed to spend $25, which means I couldn't qualify for the free magazine, for which I was supposed to request a $12 rebate.

Instead, the 18-pack of milk was going to cost me $14. Which is similar to the Costco price, and I guess I was ok with that, but I had really wanted to get the good deal!

So I ordered the supplement separately, then went to "my account" and tried to combine the two orders. It said I couldn't. I thought this was because one was "subscribe and save" and one wasn't. The supplement wasn't eligible for "subscribe and save."

So I canceled the supplement order and tried again. This time I ordered I finally found a six-pack of raisin bags that did qualify for "s&s." They cost $8.32 after "s&s" discount.

Again, I went to "my account" and tried to combine orders. It still said they were not eligible for combining.

At this point, I thought of calling it a night. It was getting late, I'd spent my free time two evenings in a row trying to do this deal. And yet, I thought of one more thing.

I hunted around the Amazon site for a customer service link. I emailed customer service, explaining how I had tried to combine the two orders to qualify for the magazine, but had failed. I went to bed, satisfied that I had tried my best, and at worst, I'd be getting a decent price on two staples for the kids that would be delivered to my door.

This morning, I woke up to this email:

Hello from'm
sorry, but I couldn't fulfill your request because both of your orders have
already entered the shipping process.However, since you requested the
consolidation in time for us to do so--and we failed to accommodate your
needs--I've requested a refund for the cost of magazine $12.00 to your credit

Wow! So I got my $2.30 flat of milk! (Plus an $8.30 order of raisins, but that's also a good deal at about $1.80 a bag.)

Not so fast. The Amazon email continued:

In this case, I request you to place a new order for the same item. (Then it gave a link to the page showing the milk I had ordered, so I could order it again.)

Huh? So I'm NOT getting the milk after all? But my account page SAYS I'm getting both the raisins and milk delivered on approximately August 28. My account page also says I have a $12 refund as of today, just like they promised.

So, I'm going to do nothing and hope that my milk and raisins and refund all show up.

But that was exhausting! Worth it? No way. But, at some point along the line, I thought, I am going to go through with this just to figure out the Amazon grocery system and all the deal mechanisms therein.

And also, so I could have a good story to tell you, dear readers.

So I certainly hope you're grateful!


Laura C said...

Could one just order 2 pkg for a grand total of $28?

Carrie said...

Actually, you could do a little better than that. You could order two packages for $28, then they should email you an offer for a magazine subscription. You tell them you want the cash rebate instead of subscription.

So you'd get two cases for $16, or $8 a case. Very good since I heard on comments that at Costco these things cost around $13 for one.

Becky said...

Aargh. In my case, I fell for that spend $25 dollars on an Amazon Beauty item, then get a free subscription to US Weekly or $19. Somehow I now have a $25 makeup item and a subscription to US Weekly (which maybe I secretly wanted all along).

Nicole said...

That sounds painful! I enjoy getting a deal, but sometimes it just isn't worth the trouble.