Beware Items Without Pricetags At Liquidated Circuit City Locations

A former Circuit City employee says he visited some of his old coworkers and found out about a trick the liquidators are using that you should beware:

If an item does not have a price tag, don’t buy it. You more than likely won’t be getting much of a discount, you may actually be paying more than normal for it. The way Circuit Citys price tag system works is basically all the tags should be pretty much the same in every store.

So if the liquidator wants the price to be higher, they can’t print a tag (easily at least). So basically what they do is just not put a tag on it, raise the price, then give you the 10-30% discount. So really the customer is just paying normal or higher prices. They suspect it to be like that for a while depending on how fast they sell through inventory. If they aren’t selling through product, then they should start giving real discounts.

If there’s a high dollar product you want, I would just keep checking back every day or so because of the limited inventory, until you can get the best price possible.

With “Few Deals To Be Had At Circuit City Liquidation Sales“, and a number of the items available online for the same price, savvy dealseekers need to go into the 155 closing Circuit Citys cautiously and armed with price research about the goods they want to buy.

(Photo: Xurble)

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  1. crazyasianman says:

    those liquidators must be having some sort of success with the whole mark up the price and then discount it to near original or even higher than original prices. amazing how many people fall for a sale tag instead of actually paying attention to the price

  2. blackmage439 says:

    Ah, now there’s the perfect reason I was looking for to stop paying attention to CC’s liquidation “sale”. I’ll happily pay a few extra bucks and not have to deal with CC’s even filthier and barer than ever stores and even more apathetic employees.

  3. XTC46 says:

    why to people think that liquidation sales are about selling things for cheap? Liquidators are paid to sell the remaining inventory for as much as possible, and the more money they make, the more they get paid typically.

    I worked at CompUSA durring the liquidation and it amazaed me how stupid people were. They would flock in and buy things for more than we used to sell them for (when on sale) and be excited becasue it was a liquidation sale. We would stick a bright or LIQUIDATION! sticker on it, write the retail price or retail + 10% some times and it would sell.

    • narf says:

      @xtc46: Yeah, it’s that whole mentality of “I saved THIS much” vs. “I paid this much”.

      Such behavior is also apparent when stores do a 2-for sale … somehow, people think it’s a better deal when an item is 2-for-$5 (save $1 on 2) instead of $2.50/ea (save .50).

      Then again, we’ve taken advantage of these types of people before too. Couldn’t get rid of our old slow copier that had a free sign on it (sat in the front lot for a few days), so we stuck a $50 for sale sign and sure enough, someone made off with it during the night. It’s not a deal to get something marked free for free, but it’s a great deal to get something “worth” $50 for free.

    • rpm773 says:

      @xtc46:

      Agreed. Key phrase: Liquidators are paid to sell the remaining inventory for as much as possible, and the more money they make, the more they get paid typically.

      If Circuit City really wanted to cut you a deal, I’m sure they could find a way to give it to you for less or free and not have to hire any liquidators.

    • ludwigk says:

      @xtc46: The only thing I bought from CompUSA liquidation sales was BAWLS cases. The pricing on that stuff was fantastic. The regular price of ~$16 for a 12 pack was good. Basically you couldn’t beat that normally because of freight costs. But take 30% off of that? Awesome!

      Add that to the fact that most mgrs did not know that it was ringing up at 30% off, and the signs said 15% off so noone was buying it. I bought 6 cases. Should have bought more.

      Everything else was crap. They had terrible games that used to be in a “$9.99″ bin, but they had re-priced them back to $29.99, then taken 10% off. Pathetic.

      • able-x says:

        @ludwigk: I actually got a decent 15% off of my m-audio speakers at the compusa liquidation here in vegas. Was about to buy them online, but they were actually cheaper at Comp.

  4. robb9 says:

    I’m not sure… But, isn’t there a law that an item for sale must have a price tag or a displayed price?

    I’m in michigan, I thought I heard something like that before.

    • KeeganGwar says:

      @robb9:

      In some states, yes. I know Connecticut is one of those states. The price highlighted in bold on the tag also had to be the price before any mail-in rebates (it’s allowed to include instant rebates). I also know in New York stores like CompUSA _never_ had price tags on most things, and only advertised prices when there was a rebate (and showed the after rebate price).

  5. jsbeagle says:

    Liquidation companies will actually bring in items that were never actually sold in the store to begin with.
    I guess they sometimes have leftovers from previous liquidations. The prices on these items are marked up before being brought in to sell.

    • econobiker says:

      @jsbeagle: Yeah, and there are furniture places which always are going out of business…

      When the owner flips the business into a new name…

  6. angryhippo says:

    Mervyn’s (or their liquidator) is doing this. Everything is *25% OFF!!!*… but just three weeks ago the prices were actually lower.

    • jeebussez says:

      @angryhippo: ex mervyn’s signing employee here. The “usual” mervyns sale price is 30-60% off all merchandise (they resigned every two or three days, so you could come in three times in one week and see three different price). The liquidators are selling everything at pretty much the lowest average ticket (for example, towels were usually 30-40% off). This is a normal mervyns tactic, and the only reason they were able to drive as much traffic as they did, literally everything was on sale almost all the time.

      The only bargain right now? Rugs and large paintings. Last time I checked they were going for ~88% off. And the fixtures too.

  7. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    The group was LIQUIDATED! They were insolent!

  8. quail says:

    I’ve learned my lesson. I avoid liquidation sales like the plague. Might wonder around when they’re selling off the store’s shelving, but even then they disappoint.

  9. jp7570 says:

    Wow – loust company hires deceptive liquidators. This should be no surprise to anyone.

  10. mannyv says:

    Liquidation sales bring out the people that never shopped at a given store before.

    LNT is a great example. I was at one the other day where people were buying all the 10% off merchandise, without knowing that LNT routinely sent 20% off coupons to practically everyone.

    Lesson: until things hit 30-40%, it’s not worth it…unless you happen to need that particular item. But even in that case, it pays to shop around.

    • VeeKaChu says:

      @mannyv:Agreed on LNT- we went in last weekend, the place is festooned like fucking Mayday with garish “OMGWTFWTF EVERYTHINGS ON SALEZ NOW!” signs. And aside from a couple of endcaps of deep discounted items, it was all no more than 10-20% off MSRP.

      In other words, more than they sold the crap for before they realized their fail. Yeah, liquidators are the Repo Men of Retail.

    • Anonymous says:

      @mannyv: I shrugged when I saw people on the street advertising 10-20% off, since I always have one of LNT’s 20% off coupon in my purse. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything there full price.

      I actually needed a new microwave last week, so I checked LNT’s website (along with several other stores). LNT is not allowing ANY returns for ANY reason. I guess I can understand that, being as they are liquidating, but it didn’t encourage me to take one of their barely discounted microwaves off their hands.

  11. negative-ground says:

    I went to the Linens N Things store liquidation yesterday. There is a big sign on the front door saying that ARE NOT accepting those 20% off coupons that always seem to be in Sunday papers. You go inside and everything is pretty much 15%. Some liquidation!

  12. dtmoulton says:

    You have to be careful; it’s a pretty successful business model.

    Think Omaha Steaks, suits, jewelery and other huge mark-up items. It’s all about perceived value. I know I’ve fallen for it…

    Those damned, free, stuffed baked potatoes with bacon…*Homer Simpson drool*

  13. bagumpity says:

    Watch out for a “cash only, no returns” policy too. K-Mart was selling stuff at a decent discount at its closing stores a while back, but you couldn’t return anything. And with the cash-only policy for some items, you couldn’t even use the last resort charge-back.

  14. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    For those folks who do actually go to sales like this there are a few things you definitely want to do… even if the folks at the checkout get miffed…

    1. Open the item and ensure it is all there, it is the correct item with all the expected extras, warranty, cables, etc.

    2. Know the real price of the item as sold by the competition. A small discount is of no value when there is no warranty or guarantee of fitness.

    3. Power it up, turn it on, plug it in, insert batteries, etc to ensure it works as expected.

    4. If at all possible don’t shop if the store is a real zoo. You are to tempted to make dumb decisions. You are better off shopping somewhere else.

    **Remember, if they don’t let you do this, then they don’t want to sell to you. You may have been born at night, but certainly not last night!

    • GreatWhiteNorth says:

      @GreatWhiteNorth: Note… when you open it, do so at the cash or service desk… or they will let you know you stole the missing items and are looking for further discounts…

  15. Haltingpoint says:

    I wish there was a website that would compare pre-liquidation prices of stores to their liquidation prices.

  16. Amiga_500 says:

    Sound similiar to one of the underhanded practices Kroger uses. A big yellow tag that looks like it’s on sale but says “Everyday Low Price” at the bottom in small print.

  17. fredmertz says:

    At Linens & Things, people were buying up crap at 15% off that they could have easily bought pre-liquidation with one of the infinite 20% coupons.

  18. MrsLopsided says:

    When Pascals Furniture went under in Canada the liquidators ran a year long “sale” and kept replenishing with new stock from manufacturers.

  19. Outrun1986 says:

    Unfortunately the type of people who need to read these articles aren’t the ones reading them, I venture to say most consumerist readers already know all about liquidation “sales”.

    Overall I will avoid all liquidation sales like the plague, unless I need an item that is cheaper at the liquidation store and only the liquidation store (after I have checked prices elsewhere) and one that I will not need to return for any reason.

    Paying a couple dollars more for an item from a store that actually has a return policy is worth it to me.

    The biggest turn off for me is the fact that every liquidation store here (NY state) has a receipt checker at the door, and they are rude, despite previous discussions about how receipt checkers are illegal no matter what, even at a store that is closing.

    • econobiker says:

      @Outrun1986: Or buy stock items at a discount.

      When Kmart cleaned house 2003ish and shut some stores down, I managed to pick up a bunch of halogen headlight bulbs for my truck, car, and motorcycle. Due to the crappy packaging (faded cards and plastic) these were less than half the price of new ones. But you had to know how much new ones cost to start with…

  20. AntoinetteDeuce says:

    Just a question regarding ” % discounts.”

    I thought, by law, an item had to have sold previously at a regular price in that store before you can give a % discount?

    For example, liquidator brings in some different inventory that CC has never offered, then say it’s 10% off. 10% off of what? $0 because you’ve never sold one at an established price in that store? That means it’s free…

    I know some grand opening stores have gotten in trouble for that in the past because they offered 50% off, but they hadn’t sold anything. I am just curious if this same thing applies…

  21. shadax says:

    Seriously, a 20% off sale attracts the losers that don’t know about Slickdeals…because I never shop ANYWHERE that I can’t get an awesome deal. Actually I’m to the point that it has to be YMMV in order for me to get excited about it…Like the time I bought seasons 1-6 of 24 for $30 from Best Buy :) Not only that, but many stores’ gift cards sell for far less than the face value on eBay. (before you say crap about thieves returning stolen crap etc…bite your tongue.)

    • endless says:

      @shadax:
      im with you

      between employee discount and slickdeals, i have to absolutely murder the price to be interested.

      if its not over 60% off, im left wanting.

  22. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Many times I’ve been in SEARS before their huge warehouse sales and then upon going in, have found that “after discount” the prices are the same because they’ve marked everything up. Its bemusing to see big “80% off original price!!!” stickers on their clothing racks when a t-shirt that was previously $9.99 is all of a sudden $39.99 minus 80%

  23. bohemian says:

    Ugh. These liquidation sales are such a joke. I was dragged into Wilsons Leather by Mr. Bohemian thinking he could find a deal. Of course he realized nothing was really on sale and we left. Same with LNT. Showed up, he realized things were more expensive than normal plus the coupon and left. I think he finally got it through his head that these things are a joke.

    But what killed me was that at the LNT when things were 10% off the store was packed. All the registers were open and had lines snaking through the store. The people standing in line generally looked like the not too smart segment of the population.

  24. TechnoDestructo says:

    Anyone think this inflexible pricing system of theirs might have contributed to their decline?

  25. FLConsumer says:

    PT Barnum was not a dumb man. It’s no surprise the marketing tactics used by the circus/vaudeville shows 100 years ago are often the tactics used by liquidators, low-end car dealers, etc. Preying on the gullible works. I’ll reserve my comments about political parties doing the same.

  26. fordman99166 says:

    I MAY go back to my local store when the discount on the console games is at a decent level. Otherwise I’m done with them. I didn’t look too close, but I don’t think the store had anymore game systems. Wonder if they shipped out all the ps3s and 360s?

  27. Anonymous says:

    The thing about liquidators is they buy out the whole stores inventory and then the liquidation starts its where cc doesn’t make the prices anymore so even tough there may be cc employees and cc signs and tags it the liquidators product not cc’s thats how they get around the law , b/c in all honesty its really an old building with a new owner

  28. h0mi says:

    Like I’ve said about the liquidation sales. If you buy an item that isn’t usually or ever discounted, you can find decent sales, but these items almost always are the first to go.

  29. thrashanddestroy says:

    You know, I’d like to take the time to tell a fun little story about Circuit City.

    Around five or six years ago, I worked at one of these fine retailers…sadly, it isn’t among one of the 155 to be closing down. I was hired in shortly after CC made the switch from commissioned sales to straight hourly, which is one reason why I think the employees stopped caring all together. So here I am, fresh-faced employee ready to make some sales. I was placed in computers/digital imaging/wireless, meaning I was trained to sell the aforementioned and activate cell phone plans as well. My second day, I made a $3000+ sale but was told it was “worthless” because I didn’t sell the customer on a service plan despite them declining it when asked.

    After about a week of working there, all new employees were called into the store manager’s office and we were told that we’d be assigned specific areas. Despite not being commissioned, the the long-time employees felt they should get the high profile areas like computers and imaging. So I was designated printers and peripherals, not too exciting but whatever. The next day, when a manager from televisions asked me how many computers I sold, I explained the situation his boss set out for us but was told that if I didn’t sell one within the hour, I’d be fired. At that point, I kindly informed him what he could do and walked out.

    Now Circuit City is in financial ruins and I make more hourly than their managers do salaried. Who wins now, Carl-the-manager? Who wins now?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Circuit City will never make it because they don’t treat associates or managers like they matter. When you’re done making money for them they throw you away like a paper towl at the dinner table. Nobody up top wants to take responsibility for the down fall so they just fire more employee’s to keep their salary. And the truth is the associates never really had a say so in how the business was ran that’s why this company is a failure. I;m gald associates at the 150+ closing stores are going to file for a civil lawsuit. Hope it puts them out of business for good. Circuit city will not be giving out any servance pay either, they got treated like they matter.