Well, for all you procastinators out there like myself, it’s that mad dash to the finish line in regards to completing your holiday shopping. Of course the retailers out there all want to get as much money as they can in the final days leading up to Christmas. You will see advertisements on television, the radio, the newspaper, and on the internet for these “best sales of the season!” (Hmm, but wasn’t last week’s “best sale of the season” the best sale Mr. Retailer?). Be careful though, many of these sales are not nearly as good as they try to make you believe. Here are some shady sale tactics to be aware of.
Almost every week during the holiday season Kohl’s has advertised 50% off one brand or another of toys. Normally you would think “Hey, half off, that’s a great deal”. Here is what you don’t realize without further research though. The “original price” they list in the ads and base the 50% off on are inflated prices when compared to their competitor’s “original price”. I have noticed many times that a toy at Kohl’s at 50% off can be $5 more than a toy at a competing retailer which is only having a 20% or 25% off sale. I chose Kohl’s because that is the ad I see most often using this tactic in my area. Don’t worry though, I’m sure many other retailers do the same thing. My suggestion to avoid this issue is to check the original price closely, if it looks inflated then make sure you check the lower % sales at competitors their final sale price may be lower despite the smaller discount!
In my area each month we get a 20% off coupon from Bed, Bath And Beyond for any one item (I believe even if they are on sale), this sounds like a great deal. Yet if you read the bottom of the coupon you will find out that most of the high quality manufacturers such as Henckel for cutlery are excluded from the sale. At least on this coupon the list is rather small. That is unlike another advertisement I just received.
A local department store sent me a $10 off any purchase $10 or more coupon in the mail the other day, I’m sure many of you received the same coupon. Well, I dare you to look at the bottom of that one. The list is huge as to what is not included and the categories are very broad. One of them is “Cutlery and Gadgets”. Ok, please define a gadget for me? Is it the little handheld toys we see in the men’s clothing section? Is it a pocket knife in the home section?
Well see I fell for this coupon once before. I waited for 15 minutes in line waiting to buy a game watch for a stocking stuffer that would have been a couple dollars after the discount. I saw many people in front of me arguing with the cashier and either looking upset as they walked by with their bag, or walking out without a bag. I soon found out why. When I came up she said “sorry, you can’t use that coupon with that item”, I asked her to show me where it was on the list of exclusions, she said “I don’t know, the computer is coded to know though”. Well I walked out without buying the item. My feeling is they do this , and hope that once you wait in line and have your item with you you will go “well, I might as well buy it anyways without the $10 off”. Sorry, I don’t purchase from retailers that play games with their customers.
My suggestion to everyone is examine the sales flyers before doing your shopping. I’m sure many of you have been victims of these “sales that really aren’t sales” before also. This is the time of year that retailers want to make as much money as they can, too bad many of them are willing to lose a repeart customer in exchange for a one time sale.
I encourage everyone to take a stand and refuse to purchase from this type of retailer!