Some time last year the Sobeys and Foodland stores in Atlantic Canada started promoting “Blue Friday” in their flyers. Lawtons also does it occasionally as well as IGA in New Brunswick. On one day only several items will have a large Air Miles bonus attached – larger than the regular bonuses typically found in weekly flyers. The next one is this Friday, May 31st. Here are links to flyer webpages for Sobeys and Foodland. A great offer is the “Spend $100, Get 50 Air Miles”. My opinion on Blue Friday is mostly positive but there are a couple of negatives as well.
First, I love promotions. Aside from earning points via rewards credit cards, promos are the key to maximizing loyalty programs. Blue Friday is a nice addition to the other great recurring Sobeys offer which is the “Buy $200 in Sobeys Gift Cards, Get 100 Air Miles”. That offer has a gas discount as a bonus option as well. Both are great. It’s a no-brainer if you shop at Sobeys, Lawtons, Foodland or buy gas at a Shell station associated with a Needs or Sobeys Express convenience store. All of these accept Sobeys gift cards.
Gift cards are great because you can spread their use across multiple shopping trips. The downside to Blue Friday is that only certain items will have bonus miles and they often require you to buy in multiples. The other main negative is the unpredictability. They tend to happen every month or so but there’s no set schedule. It’s annoying to do a big stock-up the week before and then see how many miles you would have earned if you had waited. But even if you do hold off on some purchases there’s no guarantee you’ll score big on the next one. One minor negative is for those who live far from town. When Blue Friday coincides with bad winter weather it can be a bit frustrating when you have to miss out for that reason.
Here are a few tips on how to approach Blue Friday. Most of these probably go without saying but I will say them anyway.
If it’s not a good price, don’t buy it just for the Air Miles. Air Miles should be a bonus and not an expense. For this household we shop at multiple grocery stores depending on the quality and price of various items.
Don’t Buy Stuff You Don’t Normally Buy
Okay, this sounds obvious I know but I think it can happen with some people occasionally including the person writing this. The miles bonus is so appealing you overlook the fact that you might not even like it and you have to buy 4 of them. Make the rare exception if it’s something that looks interesting and you’re genuinely curious and willing to take the risk.
Stock Up On Dry Goods and Things That Freeze Well
If there is a deal on something you know you will use or eat eventually, consider buying a bunch. Again, it seems like an obvious thing but if you are frugal by nature it doesn’t always come easy to pay upfront for something you won’t consume for quite a while. There might be a limit of how many of an item you can buy but it’s unlikely to be an overly severe restriction.
It’s important to have a list and know what you are planning to buy when you head into the store. If there a lot of people there it can throw you off your game a bit so it’s a good idea to have something to which you can refer.
Pay Attention To The Details
If you have to buy a package of a certain size, quantity or brand variation, be sure you have the right things in your cart. Have the flyer with you.
Ask For A Rain Cheque
If the store has run out of a certain item, be sure to ask for a voucher so you can come back and get it another day for that price and with those bonus miles.
Don’t Forget Your Loaded Offers
Remember to load your targeted Air Miles offers from Sobeys. Sign up to be notified by email or go the website and input your Air Miles number. If you’re lucky, one of these will stack with a Blue Friday offer.
If you give to the Food Bank and there’s a Blue Friday item you believe is a good one for donation, consider that option.
Good luck to anyone headed to a Sobeys or Foodland this Friday.