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SAME OFFERS, DIFFERENT PHONE NUMBERS

Dear Super Saver: I am an avid coupon redeemer. I follow your column regularly. I also frequently send off for free offers, etc. However, I have run into some problems and am asking for your assistance in this regard.

First, I have been collecting Kool-Aid points ever since I can remember. Now, with Kool-Aid Bursts each having six points and since my children love these drinks, I have acquired quite a few. Every year or so I would redeem some. However, I tried to redeem some earlier this year and could not do so. First, the Kool-Aid number was disconnected. Then I tried mailing in some points, but the envelope was returned (enclosed). The coupon I have for redeeming them does not list an expiration date (photocopy enclosed). Your help in this matter would be appreciated.

The same circumstances apply to the Kraft Cheese and Macaroni Treasures redemption. I collect these points from boxes of macaroni and cheese and from cheese products. I tried to redeem these points, but my mail was returned. These points still appear on some Kraft products, but no new order forms appear. The only order form I have (copy enclosed) is expired.

Lastly, I sent off for the Scholastics Magic School Bus Offer. The coupon did not have an expiration date, but the envelope was returned. Any information you could provide on these situations would be greatly appreciated.
-- Josie Chester, Richmond, Texas
Dear Josie: It always surprises me when companies forgo consistency in ongoing offers and choose to change things around, throwing brand-loyal customers into a tizzy. Quite basically, my merchandising philosophy from both a corporate as well as a consumer standpoint is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

In the case of the Kool-Aid points and promotions, the Kool-Aid Wacky Warehouse promotion is still very much ongoing. The Kool-Aid customer service rep to whom I spoke couldn't really give me a reason for this, but apparently the toll-free numbers change annually. You can now call (800) 922-5965 for information on the new Wacky Warehouse Kool-Aid promotions.

According to Kraft, the makers of Kool-Aid, new forms are inside Kool-Aid packaging as well as printed on the outside of some containers. However, the original address that you provided to me is obsolete. I would advise readers interested in redeeming their Kool-Aid points to first call the toll-free number above and request redemption instructions. You can also request a new catalog and order form from the number listed above. Readers might want to call right away since it will soon be Kool-Aid stand weather and the points will start rolling in.

More good news: Readers interested in redeeming points from Kraft Cheese and Macaroni Treasures can call the same number -- (800) 922-5965. Kraft manufactures and distributes both products. Though I couldn't get an answer on why the numbers have changed, my guess is that Kraft is trying to organize all of its consumer promotions under one umbrella and under a single toll-free number. According to information I received, the Kraft Cheese and Macaroni Treasures offer is still valid.

Unfortunately, I could not find current information on the Scholastics Magic School Bus Offer. I will keep you posted, so hang on to your form and proofs. If any readers have information on this offer, please feel free to contact me on the Internet at: QPONS@aol.com or write to: Super Saver, P.O. Box 639, Libertyville, Ill. 60048, and I will forward the information to Josie.

On the cheap

Dear Super Saver: Quite a number of years ago you published a blurb on a book or booklet that had information and addresses on youth hostels around the world where travelers could plan to stay very inexpensively. We are planning a cross-country vacation and would like any current info you could provide. Thank you.
-- Alberta Cheque, Buffalo
Dear Alberta: I believe that the free publication that I discussed several years ago is out of print. If you are willing to make an investment, there is a new book out called "Campus Lodging Guide." It is available for $16.95 in the United States and Canada. It may be available at local campus bookstores and some retail bookstores. If you can't find it locally, it can be ordered from B & J Publications, P.O. Box 5486, Fullerton, Calif. 92838-0486; (800) 525-6633. The publisher has a Web site: www.campus-lodging.com. The guide lists 609 colleges and universities where student rooms/apartments can be rented by the day, week or month, as well as hostel associations and 393 YMCA hotels worldwide that offer lodging. It also includes more than 3,000 economy and midprice hotels and bed-and-breakfast services. My 14-year-old daughter was excited to flip through and find availability in Australia, her country du jour, with lodging at the University of New South Wales. I was surprised to find the YMCA in Bardonecchia, Italy, and the YMCA of Hong Kong listed. Where possible, the guide also offers Web sites.

Savings 101

This week's Super Saver hint comes from Joana Carman of Houston, who writes:

"I wanted to pass along a hint that made me feel really great last spring. I saved up a lot of my coupons for free small items like nylon stockings and candies, and little personal items like talc, deodorant, toothpaste and brushes. I encouraged a local craft store to donate 35 little inexpensive baskets to me. I lined up the baskets and spray-painted them. I added my own Easter grass. My children and six of their friends colored three dozen Easter eggs. In each basket we placed an Easter egg, some personal items and candies. I put a bow on each one and on Easter Eve we delivered the boxes of baskets to the women's shelter near us. I received more than a dozen thank-you notes from the recipients. The gifts were unexpected and appreciated."

Today's offers

$3 Brita rebate. For a $3 rebate, send the UPC from a Brita Pitcher or Dispenser box plus a dated and circled cash register receipt. Specially marked package form required. Expires June 30, 1998.

$2 Right Guard Clear Stick refund. Send the UPC from a Right Guard Clear Stick three-pack plus a dated and circled cash register receipt. Specially marked package sticker form required. Expires June 30, 1998.

$3.99 Pro-Vitamin refund. For a $3.99 refund, send the UPC from any Pro-Vitamin Hot Oil hair product and a dated and circled cash register receipt. Store form required. Expires April 30, 1998.

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