Target: Buy 2 And Save! Sort of!

Reader D says:

I ran across this display for Secret Invisible Solid at my local Target this morning. Note the prices…and the sticker on the right cap, which says, “TWIN PACK…Buy 2 & Save!”

We see “awesome deals” like this often enough that we feel required to post them occasionally just to remind you not to take things like “Buy 2 & Save” at face value. Resist!


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  1. tmed says:

    the savings would be $-.01.

  2. stre says:

    it’s not even “sort of”. buying two at $3.49 would only be $6.98, so by taking their “deal”, you actually get to pay an extra penny.

  3. Bassdrop says:

    But not very much? Pretty sure you pay an extra penny, don’t save at all.

  4. Rippleeffect says:

    When in doubt, always look at the price per ounce/unit and shop accordingly.

  5. TheBusDriver says:

    Buy 2 and Save (yourself from having to buy another until you use up both)

  6. zentex says:

    “buy two and save (our asses from bankruptcy)”

    I’m sure that’s what the fine print says…it might just take a really big magnifying glass to see it.

  7. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Woohoo! I can save -1 cent!

  8. iguanoid says:

    Are they the same size deodorant sticks?

  9. @stre: But that plastic packaging they use to keep it together really increases their overhead!

  10. naosuke says:

    @Bassdrop: Sure you do. they just forgot to put the |s on the tags so you pay |3.49| for 1 and |6.99| for the other which gives you a savings of |1|.

  11. iguanoid says:

    Maybe they mean you will save yourself the effort of grabbing 2 off the shelf with separate hand motions, you can consolidate your grabbery.

  12. naosuke says:

    @naosuke: I mean a savings of |.01|

  13. The_AntiVirus says:

    Hey guys, I have a great idea! Lets sell two of everything at the twice the cost of one and mark it up a penny. Our costumers won’t know and they won’t have to spend so much time reaching back for the other item. Its genius!!! GENIUS I SAY!!!!

    Saving them from bankruptcy one penny at a time. What is up with some of the things these guys do? Do they seriously think people won’t notice? We did.

  14. ptkdude says:

    It doesn’t say you’re going to save money. Perhaps they mean you can save time. Since the 2 packages are wrapped together, you can pull them off the shelf faster than if you pulled 2 individual units one at a time. Think of all the other time savings thanks to this! Take them out of your cart and put them on the cash register belt in half the time! Spend less time fishing under the seat when they fall out of the bag in the car. Spend less time removing them from the bag when you get home.

  15. iguanoid says:

    @ptkdude I thought of that too….but doesn’t that timesavings go out the window when you factor in the time spent trying to chew off the wrapping?

  16. Nytmare says:

    @iguanoid: That’s what she said.

  17. lalaland13 says:

    Just one Arctic Apple Secret gel at a time is all I need, thanks. Apparently this is for really sweaty people who need one for each armpit.

  18. Lambasted says:

    Stores pull these sale price trickerations all the time. It all a psychological game with stores. Safeway will have a ton of items on sale. Sale signs line the aisles to entice would-be buyers into a buying frenzy. However, most sales are only for a measly $.10 cents or $.20 cents off. $.10 cents off a $4.50 jar of sauce is nothing but psychologically people see “SALE” and think they are really getting something. The sad part about it is it works.

    I refuse to encourage pricing strategies like that so unless I really need a particular item, I will not buy it on sale for $.10 cents off or buy 2 for a couple of cents less (usually it is less). Only when retailers see their pricing tricks aren’t working will they stop.

  19. MercuryPDX says:

    @Rippleeffect: I’m with you there.

  20. acknight says:

    It’s similar to Rite Aid’s promotions. Like, for example, this week – their generic of Zirtec is on sale. 15 ct. – $8.49 or so… 30 ct. – $8 (phrased 2/$16) and their “bonus/buy more and save size” 60 ct. is somewhere around $20.

    Never, ever, take those “buy more and save” type marketing bits at solely face value.

  21. chrisjames says:

    @Lambasted: It’s not just trickery, but lowering prices on any item is a good way to get sales on that item to pick up. Who knows exactly who that benefits or how: individual stores, regional stockhouses, product partnerships, direct competition etc. And, sometimes people are reluctant to buy a single product or a small portion (bulk buying conditioning). Like the dog hair/beard comb, it’s only an issue when they neglect geographic separation. Otherwise, it’s happening all the time and isn’t a big deal.

    Here, it may just be the case that they lowered the price on the single packs until the twin pack was no longer a better deal (as specified by the Secret brand, not necessarily Target). Yeah, even I’m skeptical now that I’ve said it, but some stores do lower their prices from time to time.

  22. battra92 says:

    There was a sign at Wal*Mart I saw which said “ROLLBACK 2 for $6.00” underneath it said “Was $3.00.” I took a photo on my cell phone so I’ll have to post it.

  23. milk says:

    Somehow my pits are magically in tune with buy one get one free sales. I always find a bundle like this two-pack but for the price of one.

  24. ChuckECheese says:

    @ptkdude: Hold one stick in each hand and save time deodorizing your armpits! Save, save, save!

  25. jenl1625 says:

    @me and the sysop: My younger brother was at one of those fast-food places that sells the mini-burgers: “33 cents each or 3 for $1.” He tried to order 3 individual mini-burgers, to save the cent. They told him no – if he wanted 3, that would cost $1. It was not physically possible to give him 3 for 3x.33 . . . .

    So he ordered 2, paid for them, then ordered 1.

  26. strangeffect says:

    I notice much more of this at Target than anywhere else. Odd.

  27. Farquar says:


    Back in the day the corner store sold packs of 1990 Fleer baseball cards for 50 cents, or you could buy an entire box of 36 packs for $19. I told them I only wanted 36 packs and did not want the box. They were amused by my 11 year old math skills and gave me the box for $18.

  28. The_AntiVirus says:


    LOL!!! I was just about to say that. What you save in time getting the two sticks, you lose in getting the wrapper off.

  29. chenry says:

    how do i saved moneys?

    They should call that deal “Buy 2, Get 2”

  30. failurate says:

    The trick is to keep them wrapped together. Most people take more than one swipe with a deodorant stick, with two taped together, you can get the job done with one simple down or up motion.
    With the price of calories/energy going up, this type of savings will pay off.

  31. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @Rippleeffect: Unfortunately, even those are not reliable. I’ve seen many times, especially in Target, where the price per unit is WRONG in favor of ripping you off. Even quick mental math proved it so. I then took out my cellphone calculator and double-checked.

    I was looking at soap (hand-soap) refills and the smaller size was on sale (60 cents off, almost less than half-price) making it $1.20 cheaper to buy four small containers as opposed to one large container (and netting 10 more ounces). Yet, there were very few large containers left and I noticed three people walk by, look at the soap and pick up the larger container while fiddling with my phone’s calculator.

    I was amazed, do people really not…read?

  32. Kevino says:

    Target is going downhill. I still like the place, though the service, pricing and appearance has faded. I hope they don’t turn into another Walmart.

  33. I saw a great one at Walmart last week when I was buying body wash. A two-pack of Old Spice Red Zone body wash for $6.88. Meanwhile, the individual bottles right next to the two-pack were…wait for it…$3.00 each.

  34. allthatsevil says:

    @Rippleeffect: “When in doubt, always look at the price per ounce/unit and shop accordingly.”

    That’s not always true. One time I had to buy some index-cards at a local grocery store. The plain white ones were $1 for 100 while the multi-colored ones were $1.19 for 100. Both of them said the unit price was .01 per card. To make matters even worse, I bought the multi-colored ones, counted them when I got home, and there were only 98 cards in the pack.

  35. jfischer says:

    The Consumerist Can’t Do Math!

    $3.49 times 2 = $6.98
    So the title should be “Buy 2 and Spend An Extra Penny!”

    “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” – Juvenal

  36. PracticalMagic says:

    I have found that more and more these days, the “economy” size deals aren’t a deal. I like to buy frozen brussel sprouts for my husband. It costs .50 less to buy 2 of the smaller bags, than to buy 1 bag that weighs twice that of a smaller bag. Just an example, but people are so conditioned that bigger pkgs. mean bigger values, that the stores are getting away with ripping off people who don’t pay attention to the details.

  37. onesong says:

    ahem. a penny saved is a penny earned!

  38. sprocket79 says:

    Target is famous for crap like this. I almost bought their 2 for $11 garbage bags when I stopped and did the math. I ended up buying a box with about 5 more bags than the 2 boxes together, but was $2 cheaper. This is pretty systematic at Target.

  39. mikemar42 says:


    Everyone that said you save a penny needs to hone their 1st grade math skills!

  40. Deivion says:

    You save a penny here….you save more pennies there. Then you go to a dollar store and buy something!

  41. Meg Marco says:

    @jfischer: Pssst. It was sarcasm.

  42. rugman11 says:

    Target has products like this all over their stores. The one that always catches me is Archer Farms brats. 5-packs run $2.49 ($.50/brat) while the 12-packs are $6.99 ($.58/brat). Add to that the fact they don’t post per unit prices at my Target and I’m sure they’re raking in the dough by nickel and diming the stupid.

  43. Whyspir says:

    They do this all the time at Wal-Mart actually, usually with toothpaste.

  44. gtbernstein says:

    Let’s get a few things straight. The company that makes the product wrote the buy 2 and save on the product, but the store gets to set the price on it. And the two are independent of each other. So let’s not put the blame on the store for the product companies packaging.

    While we all believe we should get a discount for buying in bulk, there is no law or rule saying that is the case. We have just become acustomed to that concept. But you aren’t entitled to that at all.

    While I don’t think this was a smart move on Target, I don’t really fault them for it. It’s their right to price it any way they want.

    Can we all grow up and start using our heads. We all know Target didn’t put the “Buy more and save” on the packaging.

    I expect so much more from the readers of the Consumerist. Usually they are so insightful. But in this instance, I have to say most of you are just plain wrong.

  45. allthatsevil says:

    Having made a grocery trip this evening, I actually have something positive to say on this subject.

    I went to get my Danactive but had to wait a minute because a man was standing in front of it with his daughter. I overheard him say, “Which one of these is the better deal?” while pointing at the 4 and 8 packs of Danactive. They walked off with an 8-pack. I couldn’t see what they were looking at until they left, and let me just say I always get the 8-pack because it’s the only way you can get the pomegranate-berry flavor. But I looked at what he had been pointing to – the 4-packs were on sale at 2 for $5, while the 8-pack was at the regular price of $4.69.

    It’s nice to know that some people are still teaching their kids common sense.

  46. mike says:

    The other thing to be cautious of when unit-shopping: different unit comparisons.

    I remember seeing different brands of detergent for sale. One was priced per oz, the other priced per load. I think this is done intentionally to throw people off when unit pricing.

  47. mike says:

    @gtbernstein: While I would agree that the average consumerist (on this site, I mean) should be smarter, it doesn’t main that companies aren’t getting craftier.

    Most people *assume* that larger packages mean more for less. This assumption is largely accurate. However, companies like Target are taking advantage of this assumption and pricing larger items more without much notice to the consumer.

    There is simply no excuse for a corporation to use trickery and shady tactics to milk more money out of consumers. Unfortunately, cheaper prices beat out honesty any day of the week. You can be honest all you want but if your prices are higher, it won’t bring the people in, especially in this economy.

  48. radiochief says:

    My favorite Target ‘value’ is hair gel.

    My wife likes L.A. Looks Sport Gel. Target has their version also. You would think that it would be cheaper- private labels are usually. But not in this case, the actual name product is about a $1.00 cheaper than the private label Target version.

    And they are the same size.

  49. mack3rz says:

    funny i was there the other day looking at this combo pack of razors, gel, and a baggy..and the “free” bag ended up being about three bucks.

  50. scerwup says:

    In the area I live, this is how every grocery store sells their name brand sodas. Anything Dr. Pepper or Coca Cola, is always 5.99 for a 12 pack, and 5.98 for a 24 pack. Yet they will have a sale every week on one or the other. Either Coke or DP will be Buy 1 get 1 free 12 packs, for a week, then the other will be. So, you buy one, and get one free, and you still turn out paying more than if you just reached one shelf farther down and grabbed the 24 pack. Haha, nothing but greedy hustlers in the world…

  51. krunk4ever says:

    Given the Buy 2 & Save is part of the packaging, I don’t really know what Target could’ve done if they didn’t want to discount the twin pack…

  52. Jimmy M says:

    The toilet paper at HEB (the local supermarket chain in Austin) for the HEB brand is _far_ cheaper in the 4-pack than in the 12-pack.

    We’re talking like $0.50-1.00 cheaper.

    I get funny looks in the checkout line with like 6 4-packs instead of 2 12-packs – until I explain to the cashiers who themselves are surprised

  53. photogevey says:

    In their defense though, the sticker is put on by the company that makes Secret, not Target.