Originally created 01/27/99

The supermarket shopper: Campbell's new soups win praise



Are Campbell's Simply Home soups -- premium soups in glass bottles -- worth the money? That was the question I asked readers when I reported on several new soups being tested by the company.

Dear Martin: I recently purchased both the Chicken Noodle and Chicken Pasta Simply Home soups. The price was about $2.50 a jar. The first time I purchased the soup I had a 50-cent Campbell's coupon, and my supermarket offers double coupons. So, the price was quite reasonable.

Is it worth the full price? Since I used the contents of the jar as a complete meal and found it very tasty, I think the price was fair. However, I intend to watch for the sales and to look for the coupons. -- Shelley Bravin, Jackson, N.J.

SHOULD A RETAILER be responsible for an on-package promotion that has expired? The answer is yes, if the retailer knew or should have known that the offer has expired.

A friend of mine recently needed a black ink cartridge for his Hewlett Packard computer printer, so he went to OfficeMax to get one. There, he had to choose between a single cartridge for $28 or a two-pack for $44.99 with a sticker on the front of the box offering a $6 rebate. Of course, he chose the two-pack. When he got home and lifted the sticker to see the details of the offer, he was surprised to find it had expired on Oct. 31.

"What should I do?" he asked. I advised him to explain to the store manager that he had purchased the two-pack based on the $6 rebate offer and ask to be reimbursed for the expired rebate. "You have nothing to lose by trying," I told him.

When my friend called, the store manager expressed surprise at the sticker being on my friend's package. He said that the Hewlett Packard representative had been in the store to remove the rebate stickers shortly after the offer expired. The manager then put my friend on hold while he went to examine the ink-cartridge packages. Sure enough, he found some packages with the expired offer.

Politely, my friend stated his case: "Since you knew the offer had expired, I think OfficeMax should be responsible."

"Come in with your receipt and I will give you the $6 rebate," said the manager.

When my friend returned to the store the manager quickly handled the paperwork, gave him the $6 and reminded him there was an offer on HP ink cartridges in the OfficeMax MaxRebates booklet. It was for a free ink cartridge and an HP Idea Kit.

Now my friend is pleased because he got satisfaction -- and an unexpected bonus -- instead of just getting angry.

This month's OfficeMax MaxRebates booklet has 341 rebate offers that add up to $4,700 in savings. On the cover you will find items that are free after you receive the mail-in rebate. They include Avery markers, PaperMate pens, Sanford pens and a computer mouse, ProPad and joystick from Interact. The hundreds of rebates represent items in nearly every OfficeMax aisle and include rebates on computers and accessories. And the best part of playing the OfficeMax rebate game is that you only have to fill out one form to send for any of the rebates. The form is printed on the booklet's back cover.

Most of the offers expire Saturday OfficeMax must receive the completed submission by Feb. 15.

You also can play the rebate game at Eckerd drug stores. This month's all-in-one rebate and savings guide has more than $89 worth of offers on items that must be purchased by Jan. 30. Submissions must be postmarked by Feb. 8. You will find rebates on S.C. Johnson products, including Windex, Shout, Vanish and Drano; Advil, Motrin, Mentholatum, Ponds, Vaseline products; Sally Hansen products; Rogaine; and Enamelon toothpaste. And there's a $2 rebate on an Oral-B Advantage toothbrush. There is also one item that is free after the rebate: Clear Logix, a medicated acne wash.

Write Martin Sloan care of United Media, 200 Madison Ave., Fourth Floor, New York, NY 10016.