The Unethical Man, a reader who shared controversial tips to save money in Vegas (like taking hotel toilet paper), has a financial dilemma to share. Your thoughts?
I have one for you, and I would really like your honest opinion. I signed up for Del Taco’s Raving e-club a long time ago. From time-to-time, they send out emails containing a link to print out coupons to try something new. The coupon typically gives the bearer the new item for free with any purchase. I can and do print multiple coupons. The coupon does specify that only one coupon may be redeemed per customer per visit.
I’m sure that most people would place their typical order and throw in the free coupon as an added bonus. I’m sure that’s what the company is hoping for too. But when I go to redeem my free item,
I only purchase one regular taco which costs only $.49 everyday. The current freebie is the new Carnitas Taco Al Carbon (very good by the way). The value of which is $1.59. So my bill total with tax is a mere $.53. So far no controversy. But between work and my home are three Del Tacos located very tightly together and conveniently from the freeway. I repeat the same order at all three locations. End result? I get six items with a face value at $6.24 (before tax), but spent only $1.59 (tax included). And I still have 3 more coupons printed with the capability of printing even more before the offer expires on 09/21/11.
So do you think this is unethical, clever, frugal or just plain cheap? I’m not breaking the law, so it’s certainly not stealing. I could go a step further and say that I paid each transaction with my cash rewards card, but I used the loose change that I had in the car.
In essence, the question is how many coupons can you use before it become unethical? If you asked the folks on Extreme Couponing, the answer would be unlimited.
My take is that if the coupon does not state something to the effect of “one per customer,” then The Unethical Man is free to spend his own time and gas money driving from one Del Taco to the next, scooping up almost-free food. I suspect Del Taco receives a good amount of valuable word-of-mouth publicity from The Unethical Man and others who take advantage of its deals.
What do you think?