Ever wonder why JcPenney alwayshas a sale? Sure, the name alternates. Doorbuster. Storewide Clearance. Holiday Sale. You get the point. The bottom line is that there is no sale. Enter scam number one. Yes, you read right, dear reader. It is a scam. A sales & marketing tactic. Keep them thinking there is a super sale and the consumer will always believe they are getting something for nothing. Want to keep the illusion alive? Slap on a “regular price” sticker and mark it down. Want to convince the skeptics? Secretly mark off calendar days where there is what I will call an “anti-sale”…basically remove the sales stickers and keep the “real price” stickers in place. Electronically, it is quite simple to do. A simple database update can mark the price up or down Nationwide. Replacing the stickers keeps the floor staff busy and gainfully employed. A win-win for them.
I was in Stein Mart today and I fell for it. There was a “50% off” sales rack and a little red sign that said “Today only: extra 30% off!” I saw a shirt I liked…and it was marked $36.99. After I checked out, I read the sales receipt again and noticed it said “18.12”. Something did not sound right. So I whipped out my pocket calculator (you mean you don’t have a pocket calculator?! Oh wait…you have a $500 iGadget in there)…and I calculated $36.99-50%=18.495-30%=$12.95. They charged me $5.17 more! So I marched back in there. I demanded that the price be reduced to what was being advertised or I would speed dial the attorney general’s office. They gave me $5 and some change and sent me on my way.
Herein lies scam number two. You gotta check. Check the math. Make sure their database values match what the sale should be.
Enter Macys. I went through the cosmetic aisle. I happened to notice that Lancome night cream was “Free with $29.50 purchase.” I left Macys almost immediately because of that annoying “Beep Beep Beep” sound that follows you around in there…(which is actually Macys security flagging you as a potential shoplifter and signaling security to watch you)…since I hate being branded a criminal without due process…I went to Dillards. In Dillards…they had the same Lancome deal…but “Free night cream with any purchase”…See the difference? You have to pay attention. But on with the blog. Dillards is one of the few that has real sales. Yes, I am serious. They almost always have full price on everything…but you can find things for pennies on the dollar in this place…
Be wary of places that have perpetual sales…like Kohl’s, Best Buy or other retail giants. Be wary of the 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupons. Everything you see in BB&B is marked up beyond belief, and that 20% coupon will not do a darn thing for you. Plus, the 20% is “for a single item”…and they will always use it on the cheapest thing…for example, if you buy a $80 rug and a $0.25 piece of candy, they will invariably mark down the candy versus the rug. Watch yourself out there.