Monthly Archives: December 2013

Kohl’s makes things right after Christmas shipping snafu

As a bargain hunter, I target “Cyber Monday” (the Monday after Thanksgiving) to complete most of my online Christmas shopping. I’ve found that’s when you can get the best prices and free shipping with a low or no minimum purchase. In 2013, part of my Cyber Monday purchasing included Kohl’s.

On Monday, Dec. 2, I placed my order of two items. I’ve found Kohl’s free shipping to be somewhat slow, so I wasn’t concerned when the items had not arrived by the end of the week.  In fact, the order confirmation email I received from Kohl’s said the items should arrive between Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, I received an email with the following message from Kohl’s: “Due to severe weather plaguing our distribution centers, we’’re experiencing slightly longer order processing times. We’’re in the process of shipping all of our orders as soon as possible, but a few shipments may arrive at the end of, or just after, designated delivery time frames.”

“Fair enough,” I thought, and I appreciated the warning.

On Saturday, Dec. 14, two days after the original order delivery window had ended, I received an email from Kevin Mansell, the chairman, president and CEO of Kohl’s. It said (in part), “I apologize for not delivering your purchase within the time period we communicated. While there were factors beyond our control, like weather,  I take full responsibility and we are in the process of expediting orders to ensure timely delivery before Christmas.”

The best part of Mr. Mansell’s message? It included a $25 store credit I can use at Kohl’s anytime before the end of 2014, either in the store or online. My entire Christmas gift purchase from Kohl’s totaled a little less than $30.

The $25 credit strikes me as a classy move. Only a $25 pre-tax purchase is required to use it, so it’s basically like getting $25 of merchandise free. Kohl’s didn’t have to do this, and if you think of the number of Cyber Monday orders  that were placed, the credit probably cost the company considerable cash. If Kohl’s credited 10,000 shoppers at $25 each, it spent $250,000 on its apology. I’d guess the number of credits exceeded that significantly.

My order finally arrived on Monday, Dec. 16, two weeks after I placed it and in plenty of time for Christmas.

Kudos to Kohl’s for doing all it could to make things right. Shoppers like me won’t likely forget its tangible appreciation of our business.

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Where to get the best price on Starbucks coffee

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I thought the best price on Starbucks coffee would be at Starbucks. As it turns out, I was wrong.

Starbucks store
I recently compared prices on Starbucks bagged coffee to give as a gift. I started at the Starbucks online store, where I found  a one-pound bag of Starbucks French Roast priced at $11.95. That’s 75 cents an ounce, whether you buy ground or whole bean.

Amazon.com
Out of curiosity, I searched other online sites. Amazon offers Starbucks coffee in more than one size, as well as single- and multi-bag packaging. Some of the prices here were an improvement. For example, three 12-ounce bags of  whole bean French roast sold for $24.94 (with shipping), which equals 69 cents an ounce — that’s less than the Starbucks store. However, a one-pound bag of ground French roast sold for $14.27, or 89 cents an ounce —not a better deal.

Walmart.com
A Google search led me to Walmart.com, where I found some of the best regular (nonsale) prices on Starbucks coffee. For example, you can get a 20-ounce bag of Starbucks French roast for $11.98, which equals 60 cents an ounce (15 cents per ounce cheaper than the Starbucks store). The whole bean version was slightly higher at 64 cents an ounce ($7.68 for a 12-ounce bag).

Here are some more Walmart.com vs. Starbucks store price comparisons, per ounce:

  • Starbucks Breakfast Blend: 75 cents at Starbucks; 60 cents at Walmart for ground, 64 cents for whole bean
  • Starbucks Veranda Blend: 75 cents at Starbucks; 65 cents at Walmart for ground, 64 cents for whole bean
  • Starbucks Caffe Verona Blend: 81 cents at Starbucks; 65 cents at Walmart, 64 cents for whole bean

Online drugstores
At the time this article was written, the Walgreens website had a sale price on a 12-ounce bag of Starbucks French Roast of $6.99, or 58 cents an ounce — that’s the second-lowest price per ounce I found. The retailer offered other Starbucks ground coffee blends as well, but some were at a higher price. Competitor CVS had the same French roast coffee listed for $10.49.

Sam’s Club and grocery store
The best deal came from Sam’s Club, where a two-pound bag of Starbucks House Blend in the whole bean formulation is just $14.98, or 47 cents an ounce. Of course, you’ll have to have a Sam’s Club membership to access this deal. Sam’s Club offers a variety of other Starbucks products as well.

At my local Kroger grocery store, a 12-ounce bag of Starbucks coffee was $7.85.  That’s 65 cents an ounce.

Summary
So, the next time you want a bag or two of Starbucks coffee, shop around. You may find the best price is at a warehouse club, drugstore, grocery store or discount retailer. At the time of my comparison, Walmart offered free shipping on orders of $35 or more, while Starbucks had no free shipping offer listed. Free shipping from Walgreens was available on orders of $25 or more.

Note: All Starbucks products names listed in this article are registered trademarks.

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