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Office Depot: New Rewards Program (Starts 7/1)

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Calling all you Office Depot shoppers! Starting July 1st, Office Depot will be offering up a whole new rewards program. For every $1 you spend on ink, toner, paper, and copy/print/ship products, you’ll snag 10 Rewards Points. Plus, recycle your ink and toner cartridges in-store and you’ll snag 200 points per recycled cartridge when you make a $10 qualifying purchase during the same month. There is no limit to the number of points that you can earn; and you will receive a $10 Rewards Certificate for every 1,000 points earned.

For those of you that shop Office Depot regularly, you can achieve Choice Member status when you spend $200 on almost anything they sell within a quarter. You’ll then get 5 points for every $1 spent on the 5 additional product categories you choose the following quarter.

Plus, if you are an existing Office Depot Rewards member, check your Inbox for an email entitled “Introducing Office Depot Rewards™!” from the email address specials@email.officedepot.com. If you did indeed receive this email, scroll down and you should see an offer to complete your member profile and earn 200 points! Sweet!

Office Depot Rewards FAQ’s:

* Point balances less than 1,000 carry over from month to month through the end of the calendar quarter. Balances of less than 1,000 points expire at the end of each quarter. For example, if at the end of the quarter you have 2,800 points, you will receive a $20 Rewards certificate for your 2,000 points and the remaining 800 points will expire.

* Rewards Certificates are issued online within 30 days after the end of the month to members who have earned at least, 1,000 points.

* Rewards Certificates expire 60 days from the date of issuance. The expiration date is printed on your Rewards Certificate.

* Rewards certificates cannot be used on purchases of any gift or prepaid cards.

* Valid coupons will be accepted when you make a purchase with your Rewards Certificates. Purchases made with Office Depot Rewards Certificates or Merchandise Cards do not qualify for points.

(Thanks, Kathryn!)

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18 Hip Readers Commented

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you for this Collin. I will definitely use this!

  • Linda says:

    I don’t know, this seems a lot like those algebra word problems I used to do (and hated) in school…”In August Jane had an existing purchase balance of $195 and decided on August 5th to purchase 3 reams of paper at $6.98 per ream, but got all but $5.98 back in rewards plus, recycled 6 ink cartridges, made a $15 dollar purchase of notebooks and $4.00 in Post-it notes – how many rewards did she earn, would she be able to use her choice rewards to buy school supplies despite the fact that school had already started…AND was it really worth it?”

    Yes, I am being a bit jaded about this new program. It seems like they have made it more difficult to keep track of what you are purchasing, what gets rewards and the ability to use those rewards quickly. If you purchase $200 in a quarter it doesn’t look like you get to take advantage of your Choice membership until the following quarter. That kind of sucks if you happen to hit your $200 threshold at the beginning of the quarter.

    Anyone else kind of “meh” about this new program, or do I just need to up my Premarin?? :-)

    • Willa says:

      Well said, except I love math (with word problems being a favorite of mine) and still don’t think this makes anything easier. I shop Office DePot because I hate the Office Max Rewards program.

    • annie says:

      i totally agree with you. i must have read and reread it and it’s confusing to me.
      bottom line, we the customer are on the losing end on this deal.

  • Stacy says:

    No better for me than before. I usually just buy my toner and recycle my cartridge. Gets me nowhere because I usually only use one toner per quarter.

  • Carol says:

    I really miss the days when I could just bring in my ink cartridges and get $3 off my purchase right then for each cartridge. I don’t remember if that was Office Depot or Office Max. Even Staples has made their program more confusing now.

  • Dee says:

    And it will all change again if the merger goes through!

  • cathy says:

    Starting in 2013 or earlier, you “earn” $2 per printer cartridge to recycle. You have to make a purchase, not using rewards, of $2 to “actually earn” the rewards from the recycling. So if I recycle 10 cartridges, then I have to spend $20 on merchandise (plus use up the rewards earned from last quarter) to receive $20 of rewards next quarter.
    You used to be able to roll your rewards, but you have to do spending beyond the rewards to receive rewards the next quarter.
    Is there any place that recycles the printer cartridges and lets you roll the rewards?
    I think Staples does because I have been regularly recycling printer cartridges at Staples and spending the rewards, but not much beyond that, and still get the next rewards.

  • Melissa says:

    I am seriously hating the point systems, regardless of which store is offering them. For example, Walgreens point system. Register Rewards are fairly straight forward as long as you don’t attempt to use them to purchase something from the same manufacturer. But their point system is terrible. Too many loop holes to keep one from earning/using the promised rewards. But I actually think that is the intent. These stores offer incentives to shop there and make you feel like you are getting a special deal by purchasing certain items, but they really hope you won’t fully receive what you earned. By making the system complicated they are assured that most customers will slip up at least part of the time

    • Rae says:

      I have not set foot in Walgreens in a year because of their points program. Id rather drive a little further to CVS with their straight forward rewards. Its usually not good when a company starts messing with rewards or sales programs.

      • Melissa says:

        I agree. I am much more comfortable with the straight forward program that CVS has. The first and only time I used my Walgreens points was at the prompting of the cashier. As it turned out, it was a big mistake because the items I was purchasing also promised points. I was only buying the items because it was a good deal with the points. Otherwise I would not have purchased them. But because I used the points at the same time I was supposed to earn the points, I did not earn the points afterall. So I ended up wasting money because of the confusion.

        I am still confused. And since Walgreens doesn’t always consistently have stickers up to tell you about the the points you earn from buying certain items, it is hard to know when you are buying something that will negate the points you are supposed to earn. Again, I think Walgreens intends for it to be confusing. Either that or they have an idiot in charge. But, since so many companies are switching from straight forward reward programs to complicated ones, I am thinking its program and others like it are intended to confuse customers into buying but not cashing in on their rewards.

    • Emily says:

      I totally agree! I rarely shop at Walgreens because the points system is so confusing. When you’re trying to deal with so many other things in life, I’d rather have a simple system like CVS or Rite Aid offers. I liked the Workplace rewards program Office Depot used to have. it was simple and straight forward. I have a feeling too many people were buying their Workplace Rewards Program eligible items and they were coming out on the losing end somehow. I don’t know! I felt like I was shopping more at Office Depot because of the old program but maybe they were on the losing end, who knows.

  • sarah says:

    another new policy i got to remember, yeah excited…rolls eyes. yup sounds like its taking a walgreens approach, i hate the walgreens points system, its hard to rack up good points, probably less and less deals and savings with this new office depot program too. sigh

  • brandice says:

    Is.this bettet or worse than the program out now

  • Jo says:

    It is worse. Used to get rewards for purchases other than ink/toner/paper. Now have to spend $200 just to get the privilege of adding a category and what if you don’t spend that much the next quarter. I am looking at buying all my supplies online from somewhere else. This is a ripoff. Us went online and my points for period through June 30 have disappeared

  • Larry says:

    I read the Terms & Conditions of this Choice member program, and it is missing a key element. It says at the end that if a Choice member does not spend $200 on qualifying purchases during a quarter, then their membership reverts to a Standard Program membership. The problem is, there is nothing on their website that defines what a “Standard Program membership” is.

    I have written to Office Depot to ascertain what happens if your membership “reverts.” I will post the response online when I get a reply.

    I think I know what is going to happen though. I suspect the recycling program will remain essentially intact with one exception. Say you recycle 10 cartridges in a month with a qualifying $10 purchase. You get 200 points per cartidge. You should get a $20 reward certificate. Now, the exception. In the past, you would get 10% (sometimes more) on the purchase of ink, toner or paper. But if you are no longer a Choice member, I think you might not get any additional benefit from buying your ink, toner or paper from Office Depot if I am reading this correctly. You should still get benefit from recycling, but not from actual purchases. I’ll let you all know if I am correct about this. The one benefit is that supposedly you will get a reward certificate monthly instead of quarterly. This is good (and bad). The good is you get your certificate quicker. The bad is that the certificate expires within 60 days from issuance. Under the old program, you would get your certificate in the month after a quarter ends, and you have until the end of month after the next quarter to use the certifcate. That was useful if you didn’t need anything during the new quarter, but you wanted to delay until the following quarter to purchase items and recycle simultaneously so you could maximize your benefits (e.g., future reward certificate amount.

    Anyway, I wonder who thinks up these complicated programs. Is there an actual job out there where someone sits around and thinks up ways to confuse their existing customer base as much as possible. I agree, that there is some weird math involved. But what is even stranger about this program is that I am not sure if it is designed to promote sales or reduce benefits. Loyalty programs should be designed to promote sales, especially from a firm’s existing customer base. As the saying goes, it is easier to keep existing customers than trying to get new ones. They kind of do that by allowing members (Choice) to pick up to five categories per month to constitute their point allowance. The new program appears to try to encourage people to go their website. It is an interesting idea. But shopping should be an easy and pleasurable experience, not a chore. Theirs is a chore. The program also appears, like each program before it, to reduce some benefits. There was a time when you could trade in your toner or ink for paper. That ended, and then they instituted a rewards certificate. That was okay, but once people figured out how to use it, then they created their Worklife program which expired purchases at the end of each quarter instead of each year. Now, for regular shoppers who do not spend $200 per quarter, they appear to lose benefits from the purchase of ink, toner, or paper accumulated each quarter. This becomes a deterent to shopping Office Depot. That seems counterintuitive.

    These Office Depot programs reminds me of an old adage I heard from a VP I worked under at an company back in the early 1990s. He was fond of saying, “where there’s confusion (or chaos), there’s opportunity.” That company, ironically, was an office products company as well. That company no longer exists by the way.

    • Melissa says:

      Good points, Larry. I can not even fathom the contortions the brain behind this new “rewards” program took to come up with such a convoluted plan, nor the reasoning behind the company executives who approved it. The program is so complicated I can not remember it all or even understand it when I am examing the details. When programs are this complicated, you can pretty well guarantee than the employees won’t understand it either, so it is pointless to ask them. The only thing that makes any sense to me is that the new “rewards” program provides Office Depot with a new advertising strategy they can hype which sounds generous but really isn’t because it has so many loopholes that allow Office Depot to not have to pay out on their promises. Plus with the smaller windows of time to use earned benefits, they can count on a lot of customers not using their benefits. In the end I don’t think this program will last before they replace it with a new program. I predict two years at maximum.

  • Das Goat says:

    I stopped caring when they stopped giving rewards for technology purchases and stopped giving you Depot bucks (or whatever they were called). Now I buy at BJ’s if I can. Straight up 2% back. Easy…..

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