Why saying thank you is a good idea.

I like a good train wreck as much as the next guy. But I come with certain personality quirks that tend to make me sit back and watch until the amusing chaos becomes so great I suddenly have to stand up and fix it. Probably why I am now feeling compelled to write this blog. Although we all live with a lot of gray in our lives, black and white becomes clear for me every once in awhile. At that point, I can stand up for what is right on any level, from protecting colleagues from an office bully (which got me fired, er, paid to leave) to emailing strangers when I find a broken link on their website. Fixing stuff so it works is a cause derived from 20 years as a creative director in advertising. I took “doing it the right way” pretty seriously, even when it was as seemingly insignificant as the making the copy on a coupon look nice. (This always seemed to be the dreaded dreck work of art directors everywhere. Little did I know then…)

As a blogger now, doing it the right way often means testing out on-line shopping deals before I post them to make sure they work for you. Going to the store and buying the item with a certain coupon to make sure it works. Giving credit to and thanking other bloggers when I get a deal idea from them. Making sure I add what states you can find certain restaurants in, so you don't have to go look that up to see if you can get that deal. Not posting alot of offers that are presented to me by companies because I don't think they are helpful, beneficial, or legitimate.

Since becoming a hard-core coupon mommy, I’ve made it my personal mission in life to make sure this coupon stuff works. Not just for me, but for other coupon mommies, and all my manly men readers out there, who may not have as much computer experience, cojones (ok, manly men, you've certainly got me beat on that one), or an 12-yr-old math genius in their house to figure out their CVS deals for them. The side effect of this has not coincidentally been appreciation. Saying thank you has often been more than just the right thing to do. Gerber very sweetly thanked ME for pointing out that their coupons apparently were not supported by the Safari browser, even though that was not listed in their FAQ. Three days later I received a BOOK of Gerber Graduates coupons that I had never seen or heard of before. Better than the ones you get from saving UPCs, my jaw dropped when those arrived.

And, during the exciting launch of Kraft Foods First Taste, I experienced difficulty changing my screen name on all pages where I had posted. I let them know right away, and again to my surprise, I got one of those coveted “Gift Certificates” for any Kraft Product up to $4.99. I don’t expect these kinds of things, I’m just trying prevent insanity. Make the community on-line a higher-functioning and friendlier place to be.

Revlon once last year accidentally printed 2008 instead of 2009 on their coupons this summer, rendering them expired immediately. I wrote to them to point this out and sent them my copies. They sent me $10 in gift certificates for any Revlon Products I wanted. (Got that 12-yr-old child to work THOSE into my next CVS deal). Again, totally unexpected.

When I am especially thankful for a product like Blue Bell Ice Cream, or Rice Dream Rice Milk, I like to take the time to hand write a thank you note and tell them so. “Oh thank you Rice Dream for existing for my crazy little lactose-intolerant 2-yr-old. You rock.” And I really do mean it. After all, standing up for what’s right also includes praising what has been done right already. This I also learned as the boss of a herd of young art directors and copywriters who hung on my every word. I had seen the ego-smashing destruction of some of my creative director peers, and I vowed it would not be that way as long as I was around. Being nice is not only it’s own reward, it’s the right thing to do. I thanked them for the good job they were doing every day. I gave them the credit for their work in meetings.

So take a moment this week to think of one thing in your pantry that you are thankful for. Had a nice meal at your local restaurant lately, did they feed your kids for free? Look up their address on their website, and write a note to them and tell them thank you. From store manager to global packaged goods superpower, if you run into something that just doesn’t work right, or could work better a different way, or works just awesome the way it is, let them know. You’ll feel good that you did the right thing, and in my short experience in this coupon mommy community, helping each other out is what it’s all about here. I’m sure those companies could use a “woo hoo” every once in awhile. Couldn’t you?
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