A poor return on investment

If you’re lucky, you only have to hop online and fill out a 30-field Web form.

Most of the time, though, it’s not that easy. It’s copying a receipt. Filling out a registration card. Cutting out a proof of purchase. Reading a complex set of directions written by a legal department, deciphering a stream of nonsense and piecing together the elements that make up a completed project. Three slips of paper; an address that doesn’t even have a department number or company name, just a random product code and P.O. Box.

You find an envelope. You add a stamp. You scribble the address, taking careful pains not to write the wrong zip code or product number or other impossible integer/letter combination.

You check and recheck your contents. You wait four weeks.

You get a check for four dollars. And as you’re endorsing it, you wonder if product rebates are even worth the trouble. Gauging from the return on investment, you suspect you know the answer.

This was lovingly handwritten on August 15th, 2009