Signs That Say ‘Final Sale’ May Not Mean What You Think They Do

Image courtesy of the_justified_sinner

When you see the words “final sale” on a sign at your favorite retailer, that means that an item is as marked down as it’s going to get, right? Well… maybe not. Watch for fine print on that signage: what you might think just means the last markdown on an item could actually mean “no returns.”

Shoppers like to think that we’ve just reached the very last markdown. As one shopper interviewed about this by the Wall Street Journal called it, buying something on the very last markdown is like reaching the “end of the rainbow.” Except rainbows don’t have an end, and it turns out that “final sale” doesn’t mean the end of the rainbow.

Here’s the thing: shoppers love returning stuff. People return about 10.5% of the clothes that we purchase in real-life stores, and order online in a way that turns our homes into virtual fitting rooms, returning about a third of what we buy.

Final sale items are available online often, but the inability to try items on or return or exchange them should make shoppers hesitate. The real problem is that shoppers have become so accustomed to discounts that stores may simply mark things up and hold perpetual markdowns. “Final Sale” signs are a way of saying “We mean it this time.”

Buying something on final sale means a trade-off: deep-discount prices that retailers use to make sure someone takes that old merchandise away and never brings it back. Signs that say “final sale” may be also be inaccurate: you may be able to get a further discount with some kind of store-wide sale or a future coupon.

Beware Signs That Say ‘Final Sale’ [Wall Street Journal]

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