You can’t change the rules in the middle of an NFL game. So football fans in one of the country’s most sports-crazed cities are wondering why their local grocery store is changing the rules in the middle of an NFL-themed promotion.

Throughout the current football season, Albertsons and Albertsons-owned stores across the country have been offering shoppers a 10% discount on game days, if they wear sports gear from the hometown team. Seahawks fans are saving at Albertsons stores in Seattle, Eagles fans can save at ACME, and Bears fans have been enjoying their discount at Jewel-Osco.

Most of the stores have strict requirements – you must wear a team jersey, with a player’s name and number on it, to be eligible for the discount. So it seemed awfully generous of Jewel-Osco this fall, to extend the discount to shoppers wearing Bears T-shirts, conveniently offered for sale at Jewel-Osco stores. Casual (or non-) fans who didn’t own a jersey could just invest in a T-shirt, and more than earn their money back with 10% discounts on their groceries every week.

That is, until Jewel-Osco moved the goalposts.

Shoppers who showed up at the supermarket wearing their T-shirts the past couple of Sundays, filling up their shopping carts in anticipation of big savings, got to the checkout only to be denied their discount.

What gives, Jewel-Osco?

Oh, remember when we used to let you wear a T-shirt to get your discount? Well, we’re not doing that anymore. Now you have to wear a jersey.


In answer to a Facebook complaint, Jewel-Osco initially claimed it was meant to be just jerseys all along, “but not all of our stores received that information.” That was the expanation, until Chicago-area coupon blogger Jill Cataldo presented them with a Jewel-Osco ad scan specifically stating that T-shirts were allowed. Then Jewel-Osco admitted what everyone suspected – they had simply decided to change the rules.

“At the start of this promotion, we did accept jerseys or shirts purchased at our store for the 10% discount on Bears’ game days,” Jewel spokesperson Allison Sperling told Coupons in the News, “however, it was decided to change the offer to jerseys only for the rest of the season. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

And you can imagine how that went over.

“If I can’t wear the shirt I bought there specifically for this promotion you just lost a customer!” one shopper complained on Jewel-Osco’s Facebook page. “Not happy with Jewel-Osco right now.. don’t like their false advertising!!” wrote another. “Terrible and rotten,” concluded a third.

“We have received a lot of feedback on this promotion that has been shared with our Marketing Team,” Sperling said reservedly.

Adding to the confusion, though, others are reporting that they’re still getting the discount for wearing T-shirts, sweatshirts or even hats. “If there is a customer that expresses concern, the Store Director is always willing to take care of our shoppers and honor the promotion’s previous guidelines,” Sperling offered.

So if you acquiesce to Jewel’s rules change, you don’t get a discount – but if you complain loudly enough, then you’ll get it? That has the potential to make Jewel’s checkouts a particularly unpleasant place to be, come Sunday. In the end, Sperling said, “the Store Directors can use their discretion as to satisfy specific customer requests.”

The Bears have a so-so 5-4 record so far this season. But for the Bears-themed promotion, many fans would argue that Jewel-Osco has already dropped the ball. So never mind the jerseys – store directors who choose to deny angry T-shirt wearers their 10% discount this weekend, might want to wear a helmet.

One Comment

  1. this is why your company is SO GOOD—-check your stock price—customer service is the most important item and yours needs much improvement—to protest i will make my purchase as usual and if the discount is not given i shall leave it at the register and not pay as a protest– the line in back of me will be happy for the long wait

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