For years, I looked forward to seeing the monthly Valpak packet arrive in my mailbox. Sure, it was predictable; it almost always arrived on a Wednesday, and it almost always contained coupons and discounts to the same handful of local restaurants. But if you need to know one thing about me, it’s that I like the predictable and I loathe change.
Then about a year ago, those Valpak mailings stopped. I was certain the company must have gone out of business… until I noticed Valpak coupons on my friend’s kitchen counter during a weekend get together.
Who Stole My Valpak?
Here’s something else you have to understand about me: I am severely distrustful of the U.S. Postal Service. I really shouldn’t be – my father-in-law has spent his life working as a USPS postmaster – but past experience overrules current circumstances. When I was in college, the USPS lost an important package my mother had shipped to my college dorm room (just how important was that package? So important I don’t even remember its contents…); ever since, I’ve been more than just a tad bit dubious that what goes out in the mail will ever reach its intended destination.
So when I saw my friend’s Valpak – full of restaurant discounts and coupons for ice cream parlors – I immediately started making silent accusations against the USPS. I started by asking my mail carrier – did he still deliver them? He knew exactly to what I was referring, and told me that while he still delivered them to some neighborhoods, he didn’t remember delivering one to any address in my neighborhood in about a year. Satisfied with his answer, I accepted the fact that no one was stealing my Valpak out of my mailbox and continued searching for the real explanation.
With the USPS now free from my suspicion, I turned my attention to Valpak’s website. In their FAQ section, I read this:
“Valpak is run by independent franchisees that mail to specific carrier routes in neighborhoods they choose. Mailings can only be sent to postal routes serviced by our franchisees.”
There you have it – for some reason, my mail route had been removed from the list by my local Valpak franchisee. And while Valpak did provide a way for me to apply to start receiving these mailings once again, I noticed that – like just about everything else in the world of discounts and coupons these days – Valpak was really transitioning much of its services to an online format.
Simply by typing in my zip code, I was able to access dozens of offers. Suddenly I saw grocery coupons, restaurant discounts, and deals for products and services from local merchants. It was everything I was used to seeing in my mailbox, but online instead. And rather than sorting through paper copies of all the deals, throwing some away and squirreling away others to save for later, I could pick and choose which deals I wanted to print. In other words, it was an environmentally-friendly way to get most of the same deals – yes, most, not all. According to Valpak, some discounts – particularly restaurant coupons, it seems – are available only through direct mailings, not via the Internet; likewise, not all of Valpak’s online discounts are found inside their regular mailings. I guess in this situation, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Then I noticed something at the top right-hand corner of the Valpak website: a link to sign in to access my account. My account? Although I soon saw that registering for a Valpak membership was free – and that Valpak promised not to sell my information to third parties – I was still unclear as to why I needed to register in the first place. I had already been able to print out grocery coupons and local discounts, and didn’t really see the point of joining. And while signing up for a membership gives you access to exclusive emails that notify you of new coupons on the site, you can also sign in using existing accounts like Google and Facebook. My ultimate verdict on registering – a firm no. Valpak, like political candidates, didn’t seem willing to spell out exactly why I should
vote for them register with their site.
Reader, do you still receive the Valpak coupons and discounts in your mailbox? In your inbox? What deals do you like the best?**Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by, nor in any way affiliated with, Valpak. The views expressed in this post are based on my own experiences and opinions.