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

85% = 70%

85% = 70%

Garrett understands math. And he knows that 60% off, then 25% off does not equal 85% off. That’s what the signs at Kohl’s said, and he assumed that was the discount he would get. No, the items he bought rang up at the lower price. He wrote to Kohl’s, thinking maybe that they would say, “Oh, yes, customer, you’re right; we just had the wrong signs up.” Not so fast! They insisted that the wrong math was really right.

Garret writes:

Kohl’s is currently advertising that they’re selling all clearance items at an additional 25% off. I heard this announcement in-store and went to the clearance section and found an entire section of the men’s department advertised at “85% off”, with all the tags marked with a “60% clearance” tag (I’ve attached a picture I took of the sign just 15 minutes ago). So, I of course decided to take a look, found two shirts, listed at $80 and $36.


When I went to check out, as you can probably predict, I was given 60% off, followed by an additional 25% off the discounted price, which results in a 70% savings (final cost of $24 for one shirt, $10.80 for the other). I raised an objection to the cashier, hoping she’d admit that the signs are wrong and that they just need to change them. Unfortunately, no, I was told in no uncertain terms, “60%+25% is 85%.”

So, at home, I wrote to Kohl’s Customer Service via their website. The response made it quite clear to me who was right and who was wrong:

Thank you for contacting us regarding your recent purchase. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

At this time, I am unable to credit you $17.40 + tax as our pricing is correct for our clearance merchandise. The extra 25% discount is applied after the initial clearance discount as the item has already been marked down 60%. I do apologize that you were confused.

You are a valued customer and I hope that you will allow us another opportunity to provide you with the excellence in service that you truly deserve.

I was confused…by 3rd grade math. Until this moment, I was simply looking for somebody to say that yes, the signs are wrong…I wasn’t even looking for a refund, really. But now, I think I’m in the mood to be an asshole.

So, I respond the only way possible when told that I don’t understand arithmetic:

In light of the fact that your in-store advertising clearly displays “85% off”, and in actuality you’re only giving 70% off (as simple math indicates), this is false advertising. You leave me no choice but to contact both the [state] and [county] Attorneys General, who both deal with consumer fraud and pricing inaccuracies. Thank you for your time.

I get a response back that indicates my complaint has been forwarded up the chain-of-command. At this point, I simply hope that this individual can add. The “Executive Correspondence Advisor” requests my receipt number, which I forward on. I then receive the response:

Your e-mail was forwarded to my attention in the Executive Office of Kohl’s for follow up and resolution. As it is my intent to provide our customers with quality service, I appreciate the opportunity to review your concerns.

Upon reviewing your purchase, I found the discounts were applied correctly. Your purchase was made off the clearance racks, which was 60% off. Once the 60% was applied off the merchandise then you received an additional 25% off. The additional 25% discount is applied after the initial clearance discount. I am sorry I am unable to apply any additional credits since you have received the correct advertised additional 25% from the clearance price.

I am happy that you were able to take advantage of our clearance racks with all our quality merchandise at a great price. Please be advised that your concerns have reached a high level and I do regret any confusion that this matter may have caused you. 

Well, at least she’s polite! But now, I don’t care; I’m owed $17.40 and damn it, I’m gonna get it. You know why? BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND MATH.

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