It’s all Smoke and Mirrors

August 18, 2011 by
Filed under: Coupons, Shopping 

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at Green Bay Consumer, including the fact that I’m in the middle of writing my presentation for the FREE coupon class next Tuesday.  (And I’ll let you know when you can see a short news story on TV about the coupon class–we shot it yesterday).  And since we’ve gotten so many new readers lately, I thought I’d repost some of The Bargain Sleuth’s” greatest hits”.  This one comes from November 2010.

We’re knee-deep in Back to School shopping so I just thought I’d reiterate something I’ve mentioned before Buy One Get One 50% off is NOT a deal to me! For some reason the casual shopper falls for this trick and I don’t know why. It’s 25% off TWO items AT MOST and you’re forced to buy two items instead of one.  I see this a lot with shoe sales and it personally drives me nuts.

I hate being told how many of an item I have to buy.  It’s also why I rarely use coupons for multiple items ($3 off 2, for instance).  Besides, I don’t like to buy ANYTHING unless it’s at least 30%; you might have another threshold.

In several marketing classes I took in college, I saw study after study that these types of sales work more than a straight 25% off sale, simply because of perception.  Well, they don’t work with me!

My other beef is the sale signs that say “Up to 75% off! when you take an additional 25% off already-reduced prices“. You’ll never get the full 75% off which is why stores can get away with saying “up to 75% off” and many consumers think they’re getting that amount off an item.  But if you do the math, the discount is never that much because you’re not getting 75% off original price.  Here’s an example:

$ 100.00 item marked down 50%
–    50.00
$   50.00 additional 25% off that:
–   12.50
$   37.50 or 62.5% off, NOT 75%.

It’s all smoke and mirrors to make the buyer think they are getting a better deal than they actually are.  Now in this last example, 62.5% is nothing to sneeze at but in the BOGO 1/2 off deal, it’s not really a deal to me at all.  If I can stack a coupon or additional sales on top of the BOGO 1/2 off, then I  might be convinced.  But sometimes those sales exclude any other discount or clearance items.

I also previously talked about how BOGO sales might not be a good idea depending upon the starting price of an item. In the case of Toys R Us last month, their Crayola “sale” was anything but because their prices were so high to begin with. And this week Office Max has a similar deal with jacked up prices on the first item–even getting the second one free doesn’t compare to the prices at other stores.

Just thought I’d throw that out there as everyone and their brother has a “sale” this season.

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3 Comments on It’s all Smoke and Mirrors

  1. Sarah on Thu, 18th Aug 2011 5:47 pm
  2. But I had a printout Catalina for my bogo that did an extra 20% on the top. Since I have three growing kids, new shoes (in multiples) are often needed, so it works for me. I got another Cat this week for another 20% so I might hit again.

  3. The Bargain Sleuth on Thu, 18th Aug 2011 5:58 pm
  4. Sweet! Like I mentioned in the post, “If I can stack a coupon or additional sales on top of the BOGO 1/2 off, then I might be convinced.” I got to thinking about this post because last week I noticed the BOGO 1/2 at Kmart on shoes and it excluded everything but shoes at full price. Not really a deal in that case.

  5. Maria on Thu, 18th Aug 2011 8:52 pm
  6. I think I got a great deal, I got 2 pairs of toddler sneakers for $14. There is a 30% off coupon floating around and I did ship to store. I usually but things second hand but shoes for growing feet I like to buy new.

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