ibotta? or iSTOLEa?


I read about this app on The Penny Hoarder as something you can do to earn a little passive income while doing other activities; in this case, grocery shopping, something I do multiple times per week. They are smart enough to offer a $10 bonus for redeeming your first rebate, which is a pretty substantial perk.

Downloaded it, and decided to give it a try. I usually use scan/bag/go at the grocery, so I’m already scanning every item I buy. But I’ve also noticed that I am thinking about several things at once while I grocery shop — you know the routine — do I have a coupon for this product, oh look they have that buy 10 save $5 special, oh hey i need some of that thing there that I forgot to put on my list, etc. And STILL I thought it would be a good idea to add one more thing into the mix at the grocery store. Well I LOL.

Checked out the app and looked at the higher rebate amounts and tried to figure out which things I was already going to buy or which things might be reasonable to buy if it wasn’t urgent that I get them. Fitting the bill was Duracell batteries, offering a $3.00 rebate for purchasing a couple of 8-packs.

The way the app works is you scan the item’s bar code, and then later scan your grocery receipt to prove you bought the items and then they credit you the rebate. I scanned the two packs of batteries, and later scanned my grocery receipt, and noticed in a few days that I hadn’t received the rebate.

Well, ho ho ho and ha ha ha. Since I scanned the bar codes with the app, my brain checked off “scan item” and I forgot to scan them with the scan/bag/go scanner. Which meant, in effect, that I stole two packs of batteries, although I didn’t realize what had happened until . . . . today, I shopped again and did an ibotta purchase, but found when I got home that the product was not on my receipt. Which meant, in effect, that I now also had stolen some bacon. (Not to be confused with this game.)

Seemed like the thing to do at the time to drive back to the grocery store and pay for the items I had inadvertently stolen. Which I did. But I must admit to being a little surprised that the customer service person expressed not even one iota of emotion about the fact that I was returning to pay for something I hadn’t paid for earlier. Years ago, I returned to a store in Australia to pay for an item that had been hidden in my cart. It was only worth a dollar or two, but the customer service rep in that case was noticeably responding to someone coming back to pay. Like honesty, man.

I didn’t need the customer service rep today to pat me on the back or sing my praises, but a simple, “Thanks for coming back to pay for this,” would have sufficed.

So far, I’ve earned $15.75 through this app in what should have been one trip to the store. I can withdraw the money as soon as I reach $20.00. Although there was a bit of a learning curve, namely let’s not steal these items, I think this will end up being a simple way to cut my shopping bill just a little bit. If by any chance you would like to try it out, I do have a referral code — dwjhyql — and the referral link. (It’s not just grocery stores, but most of the items I have seen are grocery or household or personal care items.)

OK. Gotta run. I want to keep one step ahead of the grocery store employees.


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