Macy's New Sale: Buy More, Save Less!

Macy’s marketing department doesn’t seem to understand either third-grade math or what it means to walk and chew gum.

If only their heart was in the right place, they would combine the sale price with the Buy More, Save More deal, and we’d have our Father’s Day gifts for the next decade.

(Thanks to Dominic!)


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  1. ajlei says:

    I’ve stepped into a Macy’s once since they took over all the Meier&Franks in Portland: I was accompanying my sister on a return, and when they didn’t follow their posted return policy, and wouldn’t return the item “because its current worth is one cent” (I’d like to see that on the rack,) I told the cashier that I was glad I hadn’t spent any money there in the past year and I certainly wouldn’t be spending any more there.

  2. bobpence says:

    I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the “buy more save more” prices apply when the ties are not on sale, but…

    1) There is no savings on buying one when the ties are not on sale, so there is no such thing as “save more” at that point, only “save.”

    2) The combo prices are so much ridiculously higher than the sale price that it’s like spitting in the face of people who want to give you money when you’re not having a sale, Macy’s. I mean, you might as well lock the store those days.

    3) You were total douches when I was part of the group trying to unionize the store I then worked at years ago, which was why we were trying to unionize, but I mean you were total douches on top of that. Retail sucks anyway, but really, what total douches.

  3. farker says:

    @ajlei: that sucks.

    In regard to this actual article though, it seems more likely that the “Buy 2 for $XY!” is from before the sale and a lazy programmer missed it.

    With a regular price of $39.50, two for $55 would be about a 19% savings (15.50/79×100=18.987).

    Clearly $19.99 each is a better deal at 50% savings. I doubt they intentionally meant to deceive anyone with this ad.

  4. triplehelix1919 says:

    The Macy’s programmer made a mistake. Maybe Consumerist should write an email to the ‘contact us’ page. I mean its not like Consumerist has never made any typos.

  5. Xkeeper says:

    @farker: Even with that fuzzy math, $19.99 * 2 is still less than $55.

    No matter how you look at it, it’s wrong.

  6. fall_farewell says:

    @farker is completely right.

    It is fairly obvious that they were probably originally marked 1 for 39.50 or 2 for 55.

    **They just didn’t have the sense to take THAT deal off when they dropped the INDIVIDUAL price.**

    I think it is stretching this a bit far and trying to make it look like Macy’s is doing something that they in fact are not. I bet if you purchase two in your cart, it will be 39.98, not 55.

  7. Jthmeffy says:

    it looks more like a gif of jpeg file on the page that wasnt removed more than anything

  8. Jthmeffy says:

    @Jthmeffy: uh… uh… I mean, I blame the consumer :~

  9. @Xkeeper: How is the math fuzzy?

    I see this all the time. I get my dress shirts from a place thats standard price is $39.99/each or $60 for two. Obviously the 2 for $60 is a better deal, BUT, like 90% of the time the shirts are on sale for $20 each (they use them as a loss leader). Its always funny when you see the $20 each right below the 2 for $60 sign.

  10. gatewaytoheaven says:

    This is obviously the OP’s fault for learning math and applying it to real world economics. Department stores never lie. Never.

  11. chiieddy says:

    Macy’s often forgets to take down previous sale signs. 80% of the time, the item is cheaper than advertised when I get to the register and pay.

  12. RichNixon says:

    @farker: “a lazy programmer missed it”

    Managing content on a website is not something a programmer would do under the duties of “programming”.

  13. purplesun says:

    If you look on the website now, it no longer has the “buy more and save” comment on the ties listed above – just the sale price.

    It’s possible the OP caught them in the middle of updating the website, in that “Ah, crud” moment when the programmer realized he forgot to take off the old information above the new price.

  14. Carso says:

    The comments posted by Chiieddy and Purplesun are almost certainly correct. An unfortunate “d’oh!” moment in marketing.


  15. Dansc29625 says:

    I would hate to actually need 2 of them and get charged 55.

  16. sketchy says:

    @TracyHamandEggs!: Unlikely that ties are a ‘loss leader’. They are usually a complementary item, i.e.: people aren’t going in to buy a tie for $20 and saying ‘HEY! look at those $200 sport coats – I should impulsively buy one!’.

    If you know for sure that they are a ‘loss leader’ I’d be interested know the reasoning behind it.

    @Jthmeffy: That’s what I thought – Macy’s didn’t replace the regular product image which has the ‘Buy More’ statement right in it.

  17. sketchy says:

    @purplesun: Color me wrong – that’s what I get for taking so long to write a post.

  18. @sketchy: I wasn’t saying the ties were a loss leader, I was explaining my comparison.

  19. sketchy says:

    @TracyHamandEggs!: 90% of the time the shirts are on sale for $20 each (they use them as a loss leader)

    Okay so $20 ties are not a loss leader but $20 shirts are? I’m not sure what that comparison is supposed to mean. I just wanted to know Macy’s rationale for that ‘unique’ positioning, I assumed you knew it because of the tone of your comment.

  20. @sketchy: Please read the full comment. I was comparing the website pricing to the common signing at a different store I shop at where they often have the same 2/for pricing that is higher then the sale price.

    The loss leader mention was meaningless, except to explain why the shirt were always on sale…

    God some people just like to pick fights here.

  21. sketchy says:

    @TracyHamandEggs!: If the LL mention was meaningless, why mention it?

    I was being earnest in asking if you had some kind of insight – God, some people just assume the worst here.

  22. @sketchy: I said why I mentioned it.

  23. Swervo says:

    @farker: I’d say it’s less lazy programmer than what is most likely an easy mistake that QA should have helped catch, only nobody took the time to explain to QA what they were supposed to catch. I’ve worked at sites like this as a programmer, and if it’s anything like the conditions I usually worked in, it went something like this.

    Marketing get a bright idea in their head to try to run two concurrent campaigns at the same time: One with sale items, the other with 2-item-discounts, then are going to want to pour over a whopping 4 hours of sales data and think that gives them a definitive answer over which promotion works better.

    Marketing is impatient because they believe they just had a fantastic idea and want it out of the door in a pretty unreasonable timeframe. They also neglect to write up an actual description of what they want, preferring to tell said programmer’s boss in person.

    Said programmer’s boss has been beaten down so regularly by the execs he can’t or won’t push back on the deadline.

    Programmer works until late trying to get it done, and forgets the “!” in the line “if(item.IsOnSale())”, leading to the code that sets the 2-item-discount stuff. Programmer is, admittedly, lazy at this point. He got the assignment at 3pm on a Friday, it’s now 8pm, and he finally got the damn thing to compile with the new 2-item-discount campaign code, is so focused on that that he forgets to check that previous logic.

    QA get ahold of the final product late in the evening and want to go home. They’ve only been told that “we’re running two different promotions”, and nobody bothered to tell them that the two promotions are supposed to be mutually exclusive.

    The marketing people are given every opportunity to see the site in the QA environment and are asked to approve what’s going on. Most of marketing have gone home by now, why should their unrealistic deadlines ruin their Friday night? The poor sap who is still there half-heartedly glances at what was previously so important, says “Sure, it looks good” when he notices text in different colors and gets all excited.

    Code is pushed, nobody notices right away, and now said programmer is called in on the weekend to try to fix it, but can’t get ahold of any of the execs who are doing coke off the hinders of transsexual prostitutes. When they’re done with their bender, then they can go ahead and blame the programmer and the QA department.

    At least, that’s how it’s worked at every e-commerce site I’ve worked at.

    /Legal Note: I don’t know that the prostitutes were necessarily transsexuals.

  24. kabuk1 says:

    I have never bought anything at Macy’s. Ever since they took over Foley’s I’ve only ever been in there once, and only for about 5 minutes. I went in after the “new” store opened just to check it out & I was like “wait a minute… isn’t this supposed to be a new store?” All the merch & displays were EXACTLY the same. Absolutely NOTHING had changed, except 2 things- the color scheme, now red, & the prices. They were MUCH higher & there was an air of uppity ‘elegance’ in the store, kinda like in Dillard’s. The snooty, black-suited salesbitches glared down their powdered noses at me in my jeans & t-shirt, and I immediately knew my kind(as in non-yuppies) were not welcome so I turned around & left.

    So pseudo-sales like this don’t surprise me. Damn yuppies.