Well, when I tried to complete my order I got a message saying that the Briefcase Set "was not available to my location" ... which pissed me off, so I called their phone order line and was told that it was "SOLD OUT". Now, as I said, this catalog just came in, and was even dated for delivery only a week ago (and, obviously, had somebody done a mail order from that catalog they had zero chance for this premium). There is NO mention that this was a "limited time offer" except for two lines out of a "boilerplate" paragraph of assorted fine-print caveats ("Valid for in-stock items only." and "While supplies last."), none of which would have led me to believe that this "offer" would have been kaput pretty much as soon as the catalog hit my desk!
Frankly, one of the other office supply places (Reliable, I think, but it could be Quill or Viking), regularly offers promotional things along these lines and I have never had a situation with those guys where the promised goodie was not available, even weeks after the catalog with the promo had been delivered. In the context of these other vendors always coming through on their promos, it made me think that Office Depot was intentionally jerking its customers around with this.
I ended up sending them a rather irate e-mail ... I mean, what do they think the customer "take-away" will be from something like this? Is my "top of mind" about Office Depot going to be "Gee, they ship really fast!" (which they do), or "What are those bastards going to try to screw us on this time?" ... I suspect for most folks it will be the latter!
Hell, even a "bait and switch" scam has a "switch" (i.e., a less attractive, but available, item replacing the suddenly unavailable promised item), this was more of a "bait and totally leave hanging". As I told them, their accountants might think they're being very clever with this "promo", but it's creating NOTHING but ill will for them.
Heck, I don't suppose having their scam flayed in the blogosphere like this was exactly top of their "desired effects" list either! Stupid asswipes. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!