Bounce-Back Retail Receipts

We’ve talked before about bounce back receipts for restaurants, in which you receive a code for free food when you complete a survey. You should also be watching for these offers in retail stores.

This isn’t one of those surveys where you spend 10 minutes filling out a response and then provide your email in hopes of winning an IPad or gift certificate. These are the surveys that offer 10% off your next purchase, and they’re commonly available right now. The best of these provide you with a code to use on your next puchase rather than having you print anything out (when is it convenient to sit down at a desktop and print a coupon, then remember to bring it in next time? A receipt with a code you write in is much easier).

These can be a real help during summer vacation when you’re outlet shopping or even visiting a theme park. Nike factory stores, Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic are just a few of the stores with survey receipts, and sometimes gift stores at popular tourist attractions don’t even require the effort of a survey. For example, Disney Main Street stores often provides a receipt good for a discount at its Downtown Disney or other Main Street stores within three days. Last year, I purchased a post card on Main Street and used the receipt to save $9 on the $90 of souvenirs we bought on the last day of the trip. At Colonial Williamsburg, a keychain for the kids in the gift shop* paid for itself as a 10% discount in the Colonial Williamsburg home furnishings store.

Likewise, if you know you’ll be making a large puchase at an outlet mall, it’s worth it to buy your least expensive item first, then use your smart phone to step outside and complete the online survey for 10% off your next purchase over a certain amount (you need to visit the food court anyway). Many surveys will indicate the time commitment (always less than 10 minutes, and more likely only five) and you can use the survey as a personal ”cooling off” period to consider whether you really need a big-logo bag or whether you have lost your mind.

True, offer such as $10 off a $50 or more purchase aren’t any better than the coupons you receive in the newspaper or the mail. However, you probably don’t have those coupons with you and you’re certainly not going to drag them around on vacation. A savings on your entire purchase can make a dent when you’re stocking up on family clothing and shoes. If you’re going to lose your mind and buy something foolish, your later remorse may be tempered by the fact that you might have wasted even more money otherwise.

*I hate all that kitschy junk but a compass keychain seemed more pracitcal for a kid than the tri-corn hat