I’ve noticed over the last week or two a new type of deal cropping up: the Free Thanksgiving Dinner Deal, otherwise known as the “Holiday Rewards“ deal. A number of supermarket chains have hit on the idea that a “Spend $XXX dollars and get a free turkey dinner” deal will be a sure fire winner this November. They know from long experience that people are inclined to spend a bit more during the holiday season. Traditional holiday recipes often require high priced specialty ingredients, and there are always those impulse purchases to feed a crowd. Apparently the idea is to reward you with a free turkey dinner for spending more in their stores while rewarding themselves with higher profits for the last financial quarter of the year. Sound enticing, or not?

Clearly the idea of getting an entire thanksgiving dinner for free is better in principle than the more usual “free turkey” deal. However, like so many of these deals over the last few months, you need to look at the details before deciding that this one is for you. Here are the details for a typical deal:

1. First, the Thanksgiving Dinner is valued at $59.99 and it consists of: one 10 – 12 pound turkey, 2 pounds of mashed potatoes, 2 pounds of stuffing, 1.9 pounds of gravy, 1 pound of cranberry relish, 2 pounds of green bean casserole, 2 pounds of candied yams with apples, a 10” pumpkin pie, and 12 dinner rolls.

2. Second, you receive the $59.99 meal for free by having it count as a 20% discount on a one-time $300 purchase at the store.

3. Third, and most importantly, before you qualify for the 20% discount (in the form of a coupon), you have to spend more than $800 in a set period of time. And, of course, the amount of time you have to redeem this discount coupon is very limited.
In short, you have to spend over $1,000 to get a free turkey dinner. I don’t know about you, but to me this seems like an awfully expensive Thanksgiving dinner – especially when the bird is so scrawny. Those “Spend $300 and get a free 20 pound Turkey” deals look more enticing by comparison. Better yet, the “shop wisely and put together the entire meal for less than $50” approach seems the best way to go to me. While there are likely to be many good reasons to shop at these stores, their “Holiday Rewards” deals won’t buy my loyalty. How about yours?

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