I recently posted about milk coupons you could find on coupons.com using another zip code. One of my commenter's, Carrie, posed a great question about the ethics of using another zip code to access the coupon. I hope she doesn't mind, but I thought I'd respond in post form rather than in my comments. Here's the question:
"I've got one question on this milk coupon.. and would like you to think about it. Is it ethical to print the other zip codes just so we can get the coupon? If they had wanted us to have it in our area, they would have given it. I think they limit it to certain zip codes in a way to limit the number of coupons they allow to go out. Not sure, but thats my thought, so if we publish the zip, then it goes cross country and who knows how many stores will accept them... and maybe not be paid for them since they weren't for their area. Just a thought."
I thought about this before posting the coupon originally, and I gave it quite a bit of thought again last night. Generally speaking, I use my regular zipcode when printing coupons because if there are deals specifically geared towards where I live then I want to see them. I don't know the reasoning behind making coupons available only in certain zipcodes, but I don't believe it's to limit the number of coupons going out. In the past, coupons.com has put restrictions on the number of coupons going out (that's why really hot coupons go so quickly...I'm thinking specifically of the $3 and $5 huggies coupons in March). Other times they make it clear coupons are to be used only in some places (example: those neat dairy coupons redeemable in Utah and Idaho only earlier this month). The wording on this coupon is that it's good everywhere except Alaska and Hawaii, so I feel confident the stores will be reimbursed as long as the other criteria is met ($100 grocery purchase for free milk, and purchase of milk for free half gallon chocolate). Of course, now I'm really curious as to the reason behind making some coupons available only in some zip codes. I think I may contact the website and find out for myself!