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officemaxI had an interesting thought this afternoon while taking advantage of the recent free money at Office Max.  With 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards PLUS having to meet a $5000 spending target on our new Chase Ink card, it’s pretty much a no-brainer.

Like I have always used to say, I am always surprised when businesses give away free money and then act surprised when people take advantage of it….

Anyways, I’ve made a few trips over to Office Max this week (I don’t like to just clear the shelves of gift cards when there are promotions, even though there are certainly folks that do).

As usual when I’m at a store, I’m asked if I have an Office Max “MaxPerks” card.  Normally if I have such a card I will have them look it up but today I had second thoughts.

While buying a ton of Visa gift cards is not illegal (or even unethical), I am trying to kind of keep a low profile.  I don’t actually even know why – like I said, I’m not doing anything wrong besides maybe obliquely violating the terms of the current promotion (which says 1 per person, though I didn’t find any OM employee that cared).

Anyway of course if I am using the rewards card, they can track my purchases and maybe that might lead Office Max to not do these types of deals in the future.


I am reminded of my past as an Extreme Couponer.  Long before the show on TLC, I was doing those types of deals.  My “hey-day” was maybe 2005 or 2006 – I was doing tons of these kinds of deals  Here’s just one example.  There was a deal on Kikkoman Teriyaki where if you bought 2 of them, they gave a coupon for $3 off your next shopping order.  Over the course of the few weeks that the deal was going on, I got

  • 114 bottles at Kroger when they were $1.49
  • 110 bottles at Kroger when they were $1.89
  • 38 bottles at Meijer – price of $1.37

Total price, including 262 .55/1 coupons was $167.82. Those 262 bottles printed out 131 $3 off your next shopping order Catalinas, for a total profit of $225.18.  Not bad… 😛


A small, small, sampling of my teriyaki sauce.

Anyways, the point of all this and why I am bringing it up is that I would often do the same things – try to stay under the radar.  I’d often go shopping on my way to/from work and would make sure to take my badge off so that if I had to “throw down” with any cashiers that I couldn’t be easily identified.

Maybe that was just crazy talk though.

But I’d be curious to know what other people do.  Do you use store rewards cards when doing manufactured spending?  And/or do you do anything in particular to keep a low profile?

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