Because it’s not about price, it’s about value
Consumed => “JC Penney vs. The Bargain Hunters” by Susan Berfield on Business Week.
Actually, I lied. It’s not about (absolute) value. It’s about the perception of value. It look like—at least at this point, per JC Penney’s experiment—that coupons add context and are a driving force in perception.
I guess more people expect coupons than they do a fair and square deal. Come to think of it, Groupon built a business model on the addiction of a coupon based deal.