Mail-In Rebates Are Evil

Anyone who offers mail-in rebates should be shot and dumped on the side of the road. Here’s why.

bySteven Lang|
Mail-In Rebates Are Evil


Fifteen dollars, seven emails, and two highly unpleasant visits to Autozone. 

That's how much it has cost me to buy and try a wheel cleaner that probably cost all of twenty-four cents to make. 

This is what I should have bought...

Pep Boys

Specifically it should have been the glossy piece of retail junk on the right. Black Magic INTENSE (their emphasis, not mine), All Wheel Cleaner. I managed to buy the version that wasn't quite as INTENSE.

Steven Lang

Okay, so it wasn't even close except for the words 'All-Wheel Cleaner'. But damn it, how many versions of this crap are there these days and what really is the freaking difference? 

Well sometimes you get two answers in life to a question you never wanted to think about, and this turned out to be it. The first question was,

"Did I screw up?"

One Google search confirmed the fact that I bought the wrong stuff. But when you're looking at a shelf like, this where there are seventeen near versions of what you're looking for, that's an honest mistake. A dumb mistake, but an honest mistake. 

32 Versions Of Tire Cleaning Crap, Steven Lang

So now comes the second question which may wind up costing me about a dollar in gas and a somewhat painful thirty-minute drive, "Is this product worth keeping?"

The answer wasn't just no, but "Hell no! Are you nuts?" According to the reviews online, this product is the wheel cleaning version of herpes. It's so bad that I wouldn't use it on the battered steel rims of a $100 Saturn I bought last month which my dogs decided to use as their public pissing post. 

I screwed up and it's completely my fault... but here's the rub. I got screwed by a marketing gimmick that frankly shouldn't exist. Mail-in rebates should go the way of Black Magic No Scrub All Wheel Cleaner along with all the other overpriced chemicals that are marketed by Black Magic. 

I took the wrong bait. The net cost was a little gas and a lot of free time that I could have spent watching an interesting TV show like Better Call Saul. 

But what about you? Have you ever been screwed by a rebate? Or screwed yourself for that matter?