Did Office Max hire an accountant with an I.Q. of 62?


I think I may be losing my grip on reality.

Recently I received four coupons in the mail from my local Office Max. Two coupons were for $10 off a purchase of $10. I'm not the best number-cruncher but I figured that meant I got two $10 items for free. I was right. I strolled into Office Max, picked out two $10 items (pack of batteries, paper supplies) and after tax the grand total came to around $1.40 for $20 worth of product.

"How on earth could Office Max benefit from this?" i pondered. "Perhaps people will come into the store and buy way more than $10 worth of stuff?" I then thought. Seemed like a reasonable conclusion to me.

Then, I get two more coupons from Office Max, each offering $15 off a $20 purchase IF I sign up for MaxPerks, their reward card. I wonder to myself why Office Max is so eager to get me back to the store, but I need a few more things so I return.

First, I buy a case for my external hard drive. Retail price $19.99. I hand over my coupon and the cashier doesn't even blink. He doesn't ask me to sign up for a form, he doesn't care that the coupon requires MaxPerks membership to be valid. I just get $15 deducted from the bill and walk away with a $20 item for just $5. "Could this happen again?" I once again wonder.

This is where the story gets even more strange.
I go back to the same Office Max store the next day and, armed with my coupon, pick out a microphone/headset combo for my computer. Retail price $19.99.

The cashier asks me if I'd like to buy an extended warranty on the $20 item. I laugh and say no. But then he says "Well, if you buy the $2.99 extended warranty I can give you a $10 coupon good for this purchase."

"Ah yes, but I'm already using a coupon" I honestly respond.

"Oh, that's ok, it still counts" he replies with a big grin. "But you'll need to grab a few things to bring the total up so that I can deduct the addtional voucher."

Dazed, I walk around the store trying to find something else I need and settle for a few packs of gum and some mints.

My grand total came to $25.40. After a lot of fiddling with the system, he duducted the $15 voucher and the $10 voucher, so I paid 40 cents for the whole purchase. And once again, I never even had to sign up for the MaxPerks card to get the discounts.

So, can anyone tell me what is going on with OfficeMax? Is the idea to make customers so amazingly happy that they'll come back and spend more money? I doubt I'll go back unless I get another voucher because generally I find Target has the things I need for a little less.

If anyone from OfficeMax corporate office can shed any light on this "give the store away for free" promotion, I'd love to hear about it, too. Because quite frankly, I can't see how this one turns a profit.

Super photo by Wiseacre . Thanks.

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Guest's picture
Sick of Debt

I've been getting some of these now for a few months, not as good as the ones you described, they all have been $10 off a $20 purchase. I was there yesterday, second time I used it. I now have enough paper to last me a year and all my other office supplies that I need. Next time I'll look for that external hard drive case you picked up. If you really want to go nuts with them, check out on eBay for OfficeMax coupons and you'll find 100 cartridges you can exchange for $300 worth of merchandise (only $15/day/person).

Guest's picture

There are probably many places to get this kind of information, but fatwallet.com is a good example of people figuring out how to use rebates and coupons creatively at OfficeMax to get free or nearly free stuff.

Doesn't seem as easy as what you are talking about but it is the same idea.

Guest's picture

I ordered a box of paper online because I had a coupon and free shipping. I ended paying $15, and ordered a couple of other things - my total was around $18.00.

The paper came. Two reams were open. The "box" of paper was short by 2 reams, as well.

I called customer service, and they refunded the full price of the 4 reams of paper - $16.00. I told her I had paid half price and the entire box of 12 reams only cost $15...she said she could only refund the regular price, not the discounted price.

The next day, the extra two reams of paper showed up. They had been mailed separately because some genius in the warehouse took OUT the reams of paper in order to put IN my other things. So Office Max paid me $1 to take their 12 reams of paper, and paid to ship it twice.

Mama Says

Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

Office Max's stock (OMX) hit its 52-week low on July 11. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose.

Guest's picture

I work for OfficeMax and this is not a common occurance. Most customers don't take advantage of retailers as you have above. And that associate probably lost there job for doing it also. Our stores are consistly busy and our stock may have dropped but if you look at it on a regular basis you will see that we are on the trend to advance. But I will be on the look out for people who take advantage of retail stores. I know I would have never done it because I love my job at OfficeMax and they treat the employee with respect unlike some of the advatage taking customers.

Guest's picture

I work at OfficeMax in territory 2 and I can tell this was posted from someone at the corporate office, most likely a VP of something. What hourly employee tracks the stock movement on a regular basis? The phrase “Trends to advance” reeks of a VP with fat stock options! Most employees don’t make enough to buy OMX stock. Did you know the average raise is an annual 15 cents per hour? That’s right once a year the manager pulls a floor associate; making an average of $7 an hour, in the office tells them their doing a good job and gives them a 15 cent raise for the year. Sad I know.

However, I do have to say for the most part OfficeMax does stress offering the customer the best solution. Meaning cheaper isn’t always best and expensive isn’t always better. I feel pretty confident that if I were to walk into a store an associate wouldn’t try to sell me something I didn’t need or had features I wouldn’t use. And the coupon thing is strictly forbidden; how the register let him do it is beyond me.

However on the treating the employees with respect, that’s a total different issue in my store. At the store I work at the store manager pretty much treats the employees like sh*t. They have had four assistant managers in two years quit and working on a fifth. But I’m not going to go as far as to say its happening company wide. It just might be one bad apple……. but don’t they usually spoil the bunch? But when you are running one of the most profitable districts in the company HR can look the other way.

Guest's picture

What store do you work at

Guest's picture

So I am one of 50 customers that gets a free 5 ream case of paper every month. When I go in last week to get my December paper I'm told that it isn't just one 5 ream case but two that are free....???? Okay, why argue so I walk out with 2 free 5 ream cases.

Guest's picture

I received a coupon from Office depot for 25.00 off a 25.00 purchase. Since I needed a digital postal scale I was able to purchase a very nice one for $15.00 instead of the 40.00 retail price.
I received 3 coupons from Office Max. 10.00 off a ten, twenty and thirty dollar purchase. I only used the ten off ten dollar one and bought some fabulous fancy inkjet paper that retails for 10.99. My total cost was 1.06 including tax.
I have a new coupon from my Sunday paper inserts from Office Depot. If I spen 50.00, they will give me a 50.00 reward card I can use on future purchases. It starts today and continues through the end of January. Wish I had more of those.
I always try to be frugal, these coupons seem unbelievable at first, but they are real...and they are accepted with no hassles

Guest's picture

You'll be surprised how far management at OfficeMax will push their associates to sell replacement/service plans. Even if it means using a 10 dollar off coupon on top of the one a customer already has.

OfficeMax is a complete joke and I can say that after working there for two years. My store has also gone through 4 assistant managers and about 3 supervisors. Employees get treated like **** and if you don't meet your quota of "service plans" for the day, the week, whatever, your hours get cut. If management hates you, they cut your hours completely until you quit. I've seen it happen A LOT, with hard working employees.

Just the other day we were busy has f**k, three associates in the whole damn store the other 6 were supervisors and managers, they sat in the office had a "meeting" (telling jokes, watching youtube, hatching a plan to lecture us employees on selling service plans). It makes me sick to my stomach just to think about OfficeMax at all.

If the economy wasn't so tight right now and I could find another job. I would walk right up to my manager give him the bird, tell him to eat ****, and walk out. And I wouldn't look back. That's one bridge in my life that I'll let burn. Hell I'll even pour kerosene on the damn thing and light the match.

Guest's picture

i work at OfficeMax and your not supposed to combine multiple coupons but sometimes the register will accept it. not sure why they have 10 off 10 dollar purchases. and if your giving a customer a discount so they buy max assurance then you are abusing the policy and can be fired. and to the poster that said he will get 50 reward for spending 50 dollars that's not how it works. we ran the promotion if you spend 50 dollars you received a scratch off card of up to 50 off your next purchase. you could either scratch 5 off 5, 10 off 10, 25 off 25, or 50 off 50. we only had one person get 50. and who ever came up with that promotional idea should be fired.

Guest's picture

no OfficeMax does not respect their employees. part time people even if you do work 40 hours a week get no benefits what so ever. no sick time, no personal days, and certainly no vacation time. if you don't sell replacement plans your hours get cut. so tell me how you are supposed to provide the customer the best solution when your not going to have any workers when customers do come in the store. and if you do climb the ladder payroll wise your just going to be let go just like they did back in the summer of 08. the highest paid people were cut.

Guest's picture
Fed Up in Austin

I received a postcard last spring telling me that if I updated my email address in my membership, I would get a $10 reward card. So, I checked my account, and made sure my email address was current. When the reward was supposed to come, lo and behold, no card. I call and email to find out why. After some run around I was told it had to be a NEW email address. Okay, NOWHERE in print did it say this. I check my dictionary, which says to update is to bring current. NOWHERE does it say to change it to a new one. I tell customer service I want to speak to someone above the MaxPerks people. They send my complaint to the MaxPerks people, whose response is essentially "Biatch, we already told you no." It is not about the $10 but about the fact that they did not print this policy on any mailing nor anywhere on their website. This seems like an after the fact "what were we thinking... we're losing big bucks" CYA response. Just like the $10 off $10 purchase coupons. So, a quick fix is to eliminate anyone who did not make up a new email address just for the money.

Now, they are not honoring another $10 bonus reward which was to be earned with a special card mailed out in December. It says on the card "qualified purchases", but I'll be darned if I can find a list of qualified purchases.

I'm not shopping OfficeMax anymore. OfficeDepot's reward program is worse, but their coupons are actually better.

Guest's picture

I seriously doubt Office Depot's coupons are better, if not the same