I had to sigh this morning when I read the recent “Earth Day Deals” story at Yahoo! Green.
Babies R Us will give you a free reusable tote bag if you bring a valid coupon (PDF) into its stores through April 22. Plus, you’ll get a 25% discount off all the clothing and shoes you can fit into the bag.
Set aside for a moment the obvious FAIL of turning Earth Day into a consumer orgy to begin with. I mean, I certainly understand that commerce is a part of civic life and I much prefer corporate America acknowledging Earth Day than not.
But wow, how does requiring people to print out a .pdf coupon for a free reusable tote help save the planet in any way shape or form?
Yes, it is good to increase awareness about reusable shopping bags, and free giveaways are a nice draw to generate more sales – hopefully those folks will remember to re-use those bags. However, I wonder what the net loss or gain is from requiring people to use electricity, ink and paper to conserve plastic or paper shopping bags? It’s a complicated formula I’m sure, but the data is there and I hope it is not a “loss leader.”
Why require a coupon at all?
How about next year, Babies “R” Us simply requires a code word or phrase be uttered at the point of sale, like “Let’s help save the world for our babies, can I have a free reusable tote please?” or some equivalent. This exercise would be MUCH more effective at honoring Earth Day than having people use ink, paper and electricity as a requirement of participation. I’m sure that you will still generate a lot of good will and attention from your customers – not to mention sales.
What do you think about the Babies “R” Us Earth Day giveaway?