So, the printed ad says $17 off a turkey "With $25 minimum total purchase." My total at the register was $42 and change, which would be $25+ after the turkey discount. But it didn't ring up that way, and the manager came over to argue with me about the meaning of "total." I pointed out that the ad should have read "With $25 additional purchase," because "total" includes the turkey. He just shook his head and kept saying, "Total. Total." I then told him I didn't want the turkey, and omitted telling him where he could put it.
This happened during a shop today. I'm inclined not to include this interaction in my report, because the choice of words in the ad was a corporate mistake. OTOH, the manager didn't even bother to apologize to me, making it out as though I just didn't understand. I found (and continue to find) that offensive. Words have meaning, and "total" is not equivalent to "additional."
I know you must be disappointed. I actually would have assumed the $25 total purchase would have to be made before the purchase of the turkey in order to qualify for the discount. Randall's and HEB run those specials here every Thanksgiving and Christmas season. I always see the advertisement worded as you described, but at both stores it has always worked as the manager described it to you. After purchasing a $25 order, the turkey is added, and you get $XX off the turkey. But the purchase must total $25 before the addition of the turkey in order to get the discount.
After you submit your report (whether or not you decide to include the rude manager info), you might want to contact the corporate office of the chain. They should be made aware of how confusing/misleading the wording of the ad is. The ads come from corporate and they are ultimately responsible for how the individual stores handle problems. If there are no disclaimers, "total" can be interpreted either way.
That manager was probably sick of explaining it to all the other customers who read it the same way you did, and you ended up the poor sucker who got the brunt of his last nerve being blown. Keep checking. You may find an even better deal on a turkey.
I'd be angry too. I read it the same way you did, Mantis. If it was incorrectly worded and the manager didn't have the power to give me the deal anyway, I would at the very least expect a more contrite attitude.
There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
When I worked in grocery and similar silly ads were printed the customer would ask that I void the turkey, pay for the order and get their coupon, then ring up their turkey and get the discount. If they were not allowed the do both purchases at once, they would do the above, but stop to their card between and go to a different register with their turkey, pretending they were a new customer. Since this is a realistic problem I would say to write up the issue as the grocery store is probably pissing off quite a few "real life" customers and with turkey deals a dime a dozen maybe losing business too.