Kohl’s Employee Explains Math-Impaired Signage

Vindication for reader Garrett: a real, live Kohl’s employee agrees that the “60% off plus 25% off equals 85% off” sign that he spotted in his local store makes no sense. That’s because this person studies engineering, which means that he or she has some familiarity with how math works. They explained to us what Garrett should have done, as well as the likely origins of this wacky sign.

The real discrepancy isn’t between Kohl’s employees and reality; it’s between this particular clearance rack and most other Kohl’s clearance racks.

85% = 70%

Here’s the sign, to refresh your memory.

They write:

Garrett is correct about the pricing, that 60% + 25% does not equate to 85% off. The extra 25% off clearance items is what we call a “Gold Star Clearance” event. In this case, what may have happened was that 85% off sign was most likely supposed to go on a rack that was originally labeled “Clearance 80%”, because as an engineering student who works the customer service desk at Kohl’s part time, 80% off the price plus + additional 25% off the already clearanced price does equate to 85% off when the math is done.

Normally what should have happened is that the cashier and the customer should have had a brief chat with a supervisor or a member of management explaining the situation. If it’s a small error like that, the normal route taken is that the price would be honored, and then after having a quick chat with management, someone goes and fixes the sign. It shouldn’t be a huge deal. Just take it to customer service, let them know what happened, and someone ought to fix the situation.

Thanks, Math-Capable Tipster!

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At Kohl’s, 60% Off Then 25% Off Means 85% Off