Is JCPenney really handing out $500 coupons?

In the wave of Black Friday ads that are targeting shoppers right now, JCPenney's stands out.

That's because it will have a Thanksgiving Day coupon giveaway, promising as much as $500 in discounts.

"I think that's a great lure to get people out here," shopper Brenda Whitter said.

Mary Dick say it could make JCPenney her first Black Friday destination.

"That would be great," she said. "To get 100 bucks or 500 bucks? Sure!"

Devil's in the Details

JCPenney's ad promises it will give early birds coupon for either $10 off, $100 off, or a whopping $500 off your purchase, if you are among the first in the day at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day (yes, it is the earliest of the big department stores to open).

But the devil is in the details.

The website Consumerist says read the fine print, because it comes with some catches some shoppers might miss. Consumerist explains:

  • Each will store will give out "at least one $500 off coupon." So your store might have 2 or 3, or just one.
  • Only 1 out of every 100 coupons will be for $100 off your Thursday shopping spree.
  • The other 99 coupons will give you just $10 off your purchase.

JCPenney did nothing wrong here. But it's one of those cases where you need to read the fine print. That's because what you think you first see in the ad may not be what they are really offering.

"I'd like the free $100, but I don't plan on spending $100 at JCPenney," Layton Johnson said.

He also wondered if it would really be worth waiting in line for a $10 coupon, when other stores like Kohl's are offering bigger cash back deals for everyone.

It's a reminder with any Black Friday promotion to make sure you understand any catches, so you are not left out in the cold when those doors open.

As always, don't waste your money.
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