Best Buy to end mail-in rebates
Somehow this is just ... satisfying:
Retailers' love affair with mail-in rebates may be coming to an end.
In response to customer complaints, Best Buy Co. Inc., the world's largest electronics retailer, promised Friday to eliminate mail-in rebates within two years. Best Buy's rivals, including Circuit City Stores and CompUSA, are expected to follow suit.
"Our customers are telling us they just hate the process," said Ron Boire, executive vice president and general merchandise manager at Best Buy.
The whole notion of mail-in rebates nauseates me. Think about it from an economist's point of view: The arduous process of filing out and mailing in a properly completed rebate form (and making copies of everything so you can re-send it when they claim it never arrived) is absolutely worthless because nothing productive is being accomplished by either the consumer or the people doing the rebate processing.
It's just made-up work--work that nobody should be doing in the first place.
Additionally, rebates cause resources to be allocated inefficiently. Consumers spend as if a good costs one price, when the effective price of that good is substantially higher. This means that as a whole, our country is expending more resources on many things than it otherwise would if the true price of those goods were communicated. It's a drag on our economy.
I'm happy to see that Best Buy is taking a more holistic approach to measuring the effectiveness of mail-in rebates. It's a great PR move--one they should really play-up.
And I think it'll generate more business than will be driven away. People will know their sticker prices are slightly higher than the competition's, but it won't matter: they'll feel like Best Buy is shooting straight with them, so they'll shop there.
This move will make them a lot of friends.