The assumption behind mail-in rebates
The assumption behind mail-in rebates is that most folks attracted to the with-rebate price will not actually bother going through all the hassle of collecting a mail-in rebate.
Staples with their "easy-rebates" breaks this model. With "easy-rebates" the hassle the customer has to go through to collect a rebate is almost entirely eliminated.
Earlier I had speculated that once manufacturers caught on, the number of rebates you could collect through the Staples program might drop. Guess what......
Oddly enough, the number of rebates that are available through the Staples program seem to have dimished somewhat.