Yesterday, a lively discussion developed on the Albertsons weekly deal post discussing, among many things, the validity of the deals that are posting on FrugalLivingNW.com and some of your opinions on the blog as a whole. I have deleted the comments, not because I mind the discussion or don’t want it to be public, but because the post was getting bogged down with the debate and readers looking to discuss this week’s Albertsons deals were getting lost in the tons of threaded comments. To those who expressed your opinion, please know that I read and considered each one.
I would like to address some of the major points that were expressed in the discussion (I know most of you had no idea about said debate, but hopefully you will find some of the following educational):
UPDATE: I want to be clear that I was not offended at the conversation that occurred yesterday. I thought the comments were respectful and constructive. This post is my attempt to help everyone understand why you may find mistakes on this, or any, deal blog.
The deals we are posting are incorrect.
Yes, sometimes deals we post end up not working out. Part of strategic couponing is finding the “deal loophole” and it takes some creativity to come up with scenarios. Sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes what we think should work, doesn’t. If we only post the totally straightforward deals, then it’s going to get really boring and you won’t have the opportunity to save as much money. That’s the trade-off. The more risks you take, the more money you can save, and, unfortunately, the greater chance that a deal won’t work once you get to the store. It’s part of the game.
Side note: By “deal loophole” I do not mean shady, unethical deals. I mean deals that creatively use store sales, promotions and coupons to save as much money as possible.
Sometimes we share a deal that another Pacific Northwest blogger has discovered. We could verify the price in our store before sharing the deal, but we may not have a shopping trip planned so we depend on all of you to share if the deal is working or not. If we believe a deal to have a greater than, say, 5% chance of not working for you, we don’t post it.
Each of us working at FrugalLivingNW.com has multiple small children at home and running out to the store to verify the price of butter at Walmart this afternoon is most likely not going to happen. I believe that most of you would rather have timely deals posted with the small chance of them not working than not having the information at all.
The prices we post are incorrect.
The only prices we can absolutely confirm are those listed in your weekly ad. Every other price out there varies from store to store, from city to city and from region to region. This is especially true on Buy One, Get One FREE deals (BOGO). The sale is based on the regular price, which, again, varies by store. For instance, we know for sure that prices in Beaverton, Oregon Targets are typically 5-30% higher on some items than Targets on the eastside of Portland. A bottle of up & up Ibprofen at the Clackamas Target is $.99, while it may be $1.09 at the store closest to you.
Advertised prices also sometimes vary from region to region, which may account for some price inconsistencies at Safeway, Albertsons or Fred Meyer. For example, we use deals from Frugal Chic Living for Fred Meyer. Crystal is in Spokane and her ad may be a bit different than the Oregon or Puget Sound ad on a product or two, but Crystal is discovering deals and scenarios that far surpass anything I could come up with. I’ll take the chance that some prices will be a few cents different in my store to have scenarios that completely rock your Fred Meyer world.
The coupons we post are incorrect.
Each newspaper receives different Sunday coupon inserts which contain different coupons and for different values. In this Sunday’s paper, The Oregonian may receive a $1/1 Quaker cereal coupon, the Tacoma News Tribune may get a $.75/2 Quaker cereal coupon and the Salem Statesman-Journal may not get a Quaker cereal coupon at all. Manufacturers have limited marketing dollars and they release coupons in a way that they believe to help them best market the product. For this reason, we may list a coupon that you did not receive or the value may be different.
When we are aware of a coupon discrepancy, we do our best to share that with you, but we cannot list every coupon option because we don’t have each paper’s insert in our homes. There will be times when you have to figure that out yourself. You can also check the Northwest Regional Coupon Database to see if a coupon is in your newspaper (we post coupons for The Oregonian, Tacoma News Tribune, Seattle Time and Everett Herald). The database is not ideal, but hopefully it will aid in your research.
As for printable coupons, we do our best to make sure each link is working correctly and is correctly matched with the appropriate product. Sometimes a coupon will have reached the print limit by the time you try to print it and sometimes there are exclusions or specifics listed on the paper coupon that is not visible from the web. We do not print each and every coupon we post ourselves. That would be inefficient and wasteful for us as individuals.
If there is ever a discrepancy on a deal (a coupon is for a variety not on sale, for a different size, etc) and we post it, know that it is NOT intentional. Please don’t jump to the conclusion that we are encouraging unethical coupon usage. Just let us know in the comments, on Facebook or by email and we will fix the post as soon as we can.
The new site design sucks and is not user-friendly.
I certainly expect that some of you won’t like the look of the new design. That’s totally fine. I wanted to strangle the fools who changed the design on my Google Reader. Now I can’t even remember what it looked like before. Hopefully the new design will grow on you :).
As for the user-friendly part, the site is pretty much the same — the links are in the same spot, the navigation bar text is the same, and the pages are still there (I promise, I have not moved the location of anything available with the previous design). It just looks different. There was a few weeks of kinks, and I so appreciate all of your patience while my designer worked them out.
If you have been looking for something in particular that you can no longer find, please email me to let me know. I’m certain there are things we overlooked and I will fix those problems lickety-split.
What I plan to change.
Lest you think I’m going to explain away every criticism…
I know that our Albertsons deals are not ideal for people in Oregon and SW Washington. It’s been a struggle for me for years. Please know that I am actively searching for a solution. I want FrugalLivingNW.com to be your go-to place for Albertsons deals in Oregon and SW Washington, and it takes a tremendous amount of work to do so. We are going to experiment with my contributors’ schedules to see if I can make this happen with our present situation, but it may take some time. Until then, please continue to comment with how deals are working for you so we can update our posts to benefit other readers.
While I work out the Albertsons situation, I have decided to free Kate up to focus more on Target deals. I know that many of you have a deep affection for the red & white bulls eye and we want to help you save even more on your Target couponing adventure. I am also working on my family’s schedule with my husband to allow me to jump back into sharing more local Walmart deals.
What you can do.
If there is something specifically you don’t like or would like to see changed, please email me with your feedback. It is most helpful if you can be as specific as possible. Telling me “You’re ugly” is a tough one to change. Goodness, I’m ugly. How do I start to fix that? Telling me “You have bushy eyebrows”? Now, I can do something about that.
While I do want each of you to love this site (who doesn’t want to be adored by all?), I know that it is impossible to please each of you all the time. You may want something added, deleted or modified that is too labor intensive or does not fit with the vision and direction of this blog. That being said, I do appreciate each FrugalLivingNW.com reader and I do not take your visits for granted.
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