Here’s a follow up to our article on how big business lowers consumer prices due to the recession.
Are you unemployed or just plain broke? You’re not alone and major retailers are realizing it. Losing the middle class consumer during the recession has hit hard for major market players including Kmart, Walmart, Disney and Chili’s. As more people recycle old clothes and stay home instead of going out, industry giants realize that folks need financial incentives to start spending again. I’m struggling to make ends meet, so I’m jumping on some of these deals while they still exist.
Image from the Christian Science Monitor
Cheap Deals, Discounts and Free Offers From Major Retailers
#1 Kmart Offers 20% Discount To Unemployed
Kmart has realized that an increasing number of customers are finding themselves unemployed with few resources and no immediate job prospects. To help relieve the financial pressure, Kmart is offering a 20% discount to unemployed customers at its private legal drugstore, along with grocery staples for up to six months.
The Kmart Smart Assist Savings card was launched this summer in Michigan due to the 15.2% unemployment rate. The program has expanded across the country, offering 20% discounts on over 1,500 company brand products. Clearance and sale items are excluded from receiving this discount.
For those interested, unemployed customers can sign up for the program online with cards issued through January, 2010. Customers must present the card, state-issued identification (driver’s license or ID card) and unemployment documentation to get the 20% discount, which might prove to be rather embarrassing for some people (though I would not think twice to do this). Hey, 20% off household staples can really add up over six months!
#2 Walmart Sells More $10 Toys For The Holidays
With rising unemployment and lower incomes, everyone is worried about making the holidays happy for children. Adults can always defer their wants, but all the good kids would be devastated if Santa failed to show up. Walmart announced that they intend to aggressively expand their $10 toy program for the 2009 holiday season.
Last year, the $10 Walmart toy program applied to 10 items. This year it will apply to over 100 toys to appeal to a wider market. Walmart launched the program early, stating, “According to Walmart customer research, by the month of August, 55% of shoppers report having started budgeting for their holiday toy shopping, and 39% say they have started watching for deals.”
Launching the $10 toy program will make it possible for more people to put toys under the tree for kids at Christmas. This strategy will also potentially challenge Walmart’s competition, as it will likely drive up sales for Walmart. Either way, it’s good news for consumers with kids who don’t want to see disappointed little faces on Christmas morning.
#3 Disney Gives Away 1 Million Entrance Tickets For Free
The “Give A Day, Get A Disney Day” program will give a free day’s admission to 1 million lucky guests for free. What’s the catch? You need to be a certified volunteer and complete a day of volunteer work next year. With fewer people volunteering and traveling, Disney partnered with HandsOn Network to create a magical combination sure to boost both areas.
To participate, residents of the US, Canada or Puerto Rico can register online. Volunteer work must be done in 2010, with the park visit taking place by December 15, 2010. Participants must be 17 or older to sign up for the program. Volunteer work can be done by children ages 6-17 if they are accompanied by an adult. Since I volunteer at my children’s school all the time, this seems like an easy way to score free tickets to Disney. Even if you don’t use them yourself, you can donate them to a Disney designated charity.
#4 Chili’s Cheapens The Price Of Going Out
Recently, the restaurant industry faced the steepest decline in revenue in almost 30 years. If you miss going out to eat and having a few drinks, Chili’s wants to draw you in with $3.99 margaritas. I’ve been drinking at home more and going out less because of the high markup on drinks. This trend is nationwide with a 2.2% drop in on-premises drinking last year and a 2.9% increase in drinking at home.
Now at Chili’s, you can have a cool margarita whipped up and served to you for just $3.99. Add one of Chili’s taco specials and you’ve got an affordable night out. Even if you go out just once a month thanks to these new prices, it’s a great way to relieve stress during these tough economic times. Now that you’re loosened up from that cheap margarita, think about what you might want to do when you return home. 😉
#5 If You Need Viagra After Partying, It’s Free!
Pfizer is helping out unemployed men and their partners by giving out free Viagra while they are out of work. While it may sound like they’re trying to keep unemployed guys busy, Pfizer is also giving out other free drugs, including the antidepressant Zoloft, and Lipitor for lowering cholesterol. What’s the catch to get free drugs and medication? You need to have been taking the drug for at least three months before losing your job, and you must also show financial hardship. The Pfizer Maintain program runs from July 1 to December 31. Potential applicants can check online to see if they qualify.