They suck

staplesHere's a comment submission I just made on the Staples web site, after having to submit a rebate form for some paper I bought earlier today:

I bought copy paper with an "easy rebate", which is bait-and-switch of the first order. An "easy rebate" would be a discount at the register -- not having to submit a complicated rebate form by mail, or on a web site. The "easy rebate" process is not described anywhere in the store (or that information is not apparent), so you have to wait until you get to the register to ask about the details. (No associates were available to assist me before I got to the register.)

The fact that discount prices are only available through the mis-named "easy rebate" process makes it MUCH less likely that I will shop at Staples in the future. (In fact, due to previous problems shopping at Staples, I only came to Staples today because I had a gift card provided as a "rebate" on a previous purchase.)

I realize Staples gets a lot of benefits from their "rebate" program -- shoppers make purchase decisions based on the "discounted", after-rebate price, but only a small percentage actually submit the rebate materials. Staples also collects detailed information for each person who actually does submit the rebate materials -- name, address, phone number (which establishes a "business relationship", allowing Staples to bypass the do-not-call lists for direct phone solicitations), etc.

So, Staples gets a lot of benefits from the rebate program, but customers don't -- most don't actually submit the rebate, or give up when the rebate submission is "rejected" for some reason, and the few that do receive the rebate have to give up lots of information that Staples can use and sell for marketing purposes.

All in all, this has been a disappointing experience, which I only subjected myself to because I had a gift card I wanted to get out of my wallet. Based on this, and on previous poor experiences at Staples, it is likely I will do the bulk of my office supply purchases from Amazon in the future -- free shipping, no rebate nonsense, good pricing, and hassle-free returns. All the things that Staples is not.