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6 Secrets Staples Doesn't Want You to Know

Here's all the inside info you need on the iconic office supply store.

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Staples can be a valuable shopping resource, whether it's for picking up reams of paper, a re-up on toner, or a year's supply of your favorite kind of pen. Even beyond the fact that it takes its name from an item it actually sells, the retailer has become synonymous with buying office supplies, operating over 1,000 locations across the U.S. But despite how common a trip to the store may be for workday essentials, there's still plenty about the iconic business supplier that's under the radar. Read on for the secrets Staples doesn't want you to know, according to experts.

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Staples will price match—in some cases.

A close up of the Amazon logo on a smartphone in someone's hand next to a coffee mug

Staples has already earned a reputation for its low prices on office essentials. But if you're ever concerned you're not getting the best deal, they'll match their brick-and-mortar competitors and even some e-commerce sellers.

"The only online retailer they'll price match is Amazon, and items must be sold and shipped by Amazon—no third-party sellers are allowed," Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with, tells Best Life. "Aside from that, Staples will match other retailers as long as they sell the items both in a physical store and online under the same brand."

Ramhold explains that if you're shopping at Staples and can show proof that an eligible competitor has a lower price, they'll match it for you on the spot. "And if you purchase something from Staples and see a lower price later, they'll refund you the difference as long as it's within 14 days of your purchase," she says. "But it's available in-store only, so if you want a price match (or adjustment), you'll have to head into your local store with proof of the lower price."

You can save big by joining the rewards program.

the outside of a Staples store in Truro, Canada

Like most other major retailers, Staples offers a rewards program that can help you save some serious money in the long run.

"The Rewards program is free to join overall, which is a big plus, and you'll get 2 percent back on eligible purchases on the base tier," says Ramhold, adding that those who spend $1,000 in a year advance to the second tier and receive even more benefits. But the benefits do appear to max out at a certain point.

"The highest tier requires a $5,000 annual spend and comes with just a few extra perks compared to the second tier, so it may only be worth it for those shopping for businesses," she points out.

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You can get money off by signing up for their mailing list.


And it's not just the Rewards program that can pay off. You can get some immediate savings by signing up for the store's marketing alerts, too.

"If you foresee shopping at Staples a lot, or even just making one big purchase, it's worth signing up for texts and emails to receive this coupon," suggests Ramhold, which is worth $15 off. "It's valid on orders of $60 or more, so it's a good way to save some extra cash on your next office supply shopping spree."

It really is best to wait until back-to-school season to buy supplies.

school supplies pile paper clips scissors pencils markers

Based on demand, it might seem like stores would take advantage of the back-to-school rush and charge more for supplies. But according to Ramhold, you may be able to find some classroom standards for a real bargain if you wait until the seasonal sales begin.

"That means you may be able to find things like a box of Crayola crayons for 50 cents, a box of Crayola markers for 97 cents, an 8-pack of number 2 pencils for 50 cents, and even notebooks for as little as 25 cents each," she explains. "Back-to-school season typically starts in July, so even if your kids won't be heading back until late August or even September, it's worth keeping an early eye out."

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You can save on big-name brands in the refurbished section.

Outside of a Staples Store {Discounts For Old Items}

Purchasing refurbished products can often be a great way to save money on big-ticket items. But what Staples shoppers may not realize is that the office retailer offers this service for electronics and other equipment.

"Staples has an entire section of their website devoted to refurbished products, including laptops, desktops, and printers," says Ramhold, adding that you can even shop by searching for specific name brands like HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, or Samsung.

"And the refurbished items have been 'checked, tested, upgraded, and recertified' so you can shop with confidence knowing your purchase should be like new," she points out.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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